Four “unique” Chilliwackians were presented with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal Monday night by Chilliwack MLA John Les.
“It’s my hope all of you will agree these four people are pillars of the community,” Les said to the crowd of about 60 friends and family gathered at the Coast Hotel.
The four recipients are: Marian Dyck, known for her extensive volunteer work; museum curator Ron Denman; Wayne Massey, the “driving force” behind sheltering the homeless in Chilliwack; and Roger Pannett, volunteer weather observer for Environment Canada and the province’s sole dairy technologist.
Les said Marian Dyck came to Canada from the Netherlands unable to speak English, but rose to a senior position at the investment firm of Odlum and Brown while volunteering at a host of volunteer groups.
“There are people who progress to positions of leadership and giving of themselves, I think that describes Marian,” Les said.
Dyck commented on Chilliwack’s reputation for volunteerism saying that volunteer services “are a treasure” to have in any community.
Les said Ron Denman came to Chilliwack in 1985 from rainy Prince Rupert to become the community’s museum curator.
Since then he has overseen the museum’s move to the old City Hall building, the publication of more than a dozen community histories, the move to embrace new electronic technologies and the collection of more than 10,000 historical pictures.
“All due to the professionalism and dedication of one person – Ron Denman,” Les said.
But Denman, a quiet, modest man said preserving a community’s history “is not the job of a single person, it’s the job of the whole community.”
He also thanked his “wonderful” staff for their work at the museum and archives.
“It’s a real honour to receive this,” Denman said.
Les said he chose Wayne Massey for the medal because he was the “driving force” behind Ruth and Naomi’s Mission that provides homes and meals for the homeless.
Massey said he accepted the medal “on behalf of thousands of volunteers and supporter who have helped Ruth and Naomi’s give hope and joy every day to a lot of people who need it most.”
“We offer hope and a chance for a new life through the message of the gospel,” he said.
Les said he chose Roger Pannett because he is the province’s sole dairy technologist and the volunteer weather observer in Chilliwack.
Without his signature, Les said, the 540 dairy farms in B.C. can’t operate, and without his weather reports Chilliwack farmers wouldn’t have much to talk about.
“Agriculture and weather are closely connected, it’s the one thing farmers like to talk about most,” Les said.
Pannett, a shy man typical of many born in the United Kingdom, said he was “overwhelmed and overcome” by the award.
“It’s a great honour for me to receive this,” he said.