Recent History – 2002
December 19, 2002
By Kelly Harris, Daily News Staff
Seven of Dawson Creek’s hardest working volunteers and community builders were awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee medal Wednesday.
The ceremony, held at the George Dawson Inn and hosted by the Dawson Creek and District Chamber of Commerce, awarded four of the medals posthumously to residents who have died in the past year.
“(The medals) are a tangible and lasting way to pay tribute,” Prince George-Peace River MP Jay Hill said.
“(Awarding the medals is) a fitting tribute to the lasting memory of their sacrifice and commitment to community.”
The medals are being awarded nationwide in honour of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and recognize community builders.
The first of four posthumous medals went to a man Hill described as a “Peace River pioneer,” Kenn Borek.
The entrepreneur and founder of Kenn Borek Construction and Kenn Borek Air was killed in a car crash Easter Sunday near Beaverlodge.
His air service is noted as a worldwide charter. Kenn Borek air flew United Nations diplomats from Baghdad shortly before the start of the Gulf War in 1990.
More recently one of his planes flew to the Amundsen-Scott South Pole to rescue a physician who needed treatment.
“We could talk about (the recipients’) lives all afternoon and never truly do them justice,” Hill said.
Jim Henderson, a longtime member of the Rolla Elks and president of the Rolla Ratepayers, was honoured posthumously also.
Henderson volunteered his time with the Conservative Party, the Pouce Coupe Community Hospital, Shriners, the Royal Canadian Legion, 4-H, various other community groups and the B.C Sheep Breeders.
Rotarian Don Kirschman, a former alderman and chamber of commerce president, was also honoured after his death earlier this year.
“As a true Rotarian Don never said no when asked to help his community,” Hill said.
A builder of the original Alaska Highway, Ralph Thomsen, who died earlier this year, was given a Jubilee medal for his community work.
Much of what he is remembered for is helping connect Dawson Creek with the rest of B.C., as a local advocate for the Prince George road.
Local performing arts guru Rotraud Lopp will receive her medal in a later ceremony as she was out of the country Wednesday. The 1972 Dawson Creek Citizen of the Year award winner has helped bring 31 performances to the city over the years.
“They’ve provided culture and enjoyment for Peace River are residents for years,” Hill said.
Pouce Coupe’s Giles Dudley received his award as a tireless volunteer work. The honorary chairman of the Dawson Creek and District Hospital Foundation, former commanding officer of the Carrier Platoon Loyal Edmonton Regiment, and past-president and still active member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 141, Dawson Creek B.C.
Dudley, who also serves with the Royal Canadian Air Cadets, Mile Zero 343 Squadron, gave credit to family for supporting him in his many interests.
“(The award) makes you feel pretty humble,” he said. “It isn’t just my doing, it’s the people who work with me.
“Wives and families should all get a medal of support.”
Marge Monlezun was a surprise winner, as South Peace MLA Blair Lekstrom did not release the final winner’s name to the public before yesterday’s event.
Lekstrom, a former mayor and now Dawson Creek’s representative in Victoria, cited Monlezun for her volunteer work, which he witnessed first hand when he was the city’s top politician.
“My heart was just pounding,” Monlezun said. “I don’t know how I made it up top the front.
“There are a lot of volunteers in this community, I’ve always thought we were a volunteer community.”
Also in attendance was Dawson Creek Mayor Wayne Dahlen, Pouce Coupe Mayor Doyle McNabb, representatives of both councils, Chamber of Commerce President James Bridges and RCMP Const. Geri Demyen. More than 100 people attended the luncheon.
At a ceremony later in the afternoon, Lekstrom presented a medal to a Tumbler Ridge community builder, Dr. Charles Helm.
Lekstrom selected Helm for the award “for his community involvement.”
Helm is involved in a wide variety of work in the community.
“He does it because of his love for the outdoors,” Lekstrom said.