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Medal winners an inspiration: O’Mahony

Stephanie Kostrzewa, 21, proudly accepts a Diamond Jubilee medal on behalf of her late grandmother, Dorothy Kostrzewa, from Chilliwack-Hope MLA Gwen O
Stephanie Kostrzewa, 21, proudly accepts a Diamond Jubilee medal on behalf of her late grandmother, Dorothy Kostrzewa, from Chilliwack-Hope MLA Gwen O'Mahony during an awards ceremony at the Coast Chilliwack Hotel Thursday evening.
— image credit: JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS

Stephanie Kostrzewa fought back tears as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal – awarded posthumously to her grandmother, Dorothy – was pinned to her lapel Thursday.

The ceremony was another in a series of events, marking the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign.

Presented by Chilliwack-Hope MLA Gwen O’Mahony,  the medals were awarded to four recipients from the riding, all chosen by a selection committee.

In addition to Kostrzewa – the much loved long-time city councillor who recently past away  – awards went to Ted Westlin of Agassiz, Chief Willie Charlie of Sts’ailes, and Anne Schudeleit of Boston Bar.

O’Mahony also presented the first-ever “Chilliwack-Hope Citizenship Award.” That award, which will now be presented annually, went to long-time Hope physician Dr. Ernie Murakami.

Said O’Mahony:   “I am consistently inspired by the caliber of people we have here in Chilliwack—Hope.”

Kostrzewa was celebrated for her “long service to Chilliwack in municipal government, her persistent volunteerism in the community, and to recognize her historic accomplishment of being the first Chinese-Canadian woman ever elected to political office in Canada.”

Ted Westlin was recognized for his “promotion of local agriculture, dedication to his community, and long service in municipal government.”

The former teacher remains active in the community, having served six terms on council with the District of Kent Municipality. Westlin is an active director and member of the Agassiz Agricultural Horticultural Association, and active member of local drainage committees.

Chief Willie Charlie was acknowledged for his leadership, vision, and his “unwavering commitment to justice for his people, his activism for aboriginal rights and title, and his services to his community as Chief of the Sts’ailes (Chehalis) First Nation.”

Said Eddie Gardiner as he introduced Chief Charlie: “What gives him his strength as a strong and brilliant leader is the teachings he got from his elders.”

Those teachings are now being passed on to the next generation, said Gardiner.

Schudeleit, meanwhile, was recognized for her volunteer work.

But one achievement stood out above others at Thursday’s ceremony. Schudeleit successfully brought cable television to the Fraser Canyon.

Diamond Jubilee Medals have gone to about 700 people in British Columbia.

O’Mahony noted that only once before had diamond jubilee awards been presented and that was during the reign of Queen Victoria.

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