Governor General’s Commendation for Outstanding Service
Calgary, Alberta, Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Calgary is an inspiration to us all.
During a time of great need, you came together, helping one another, remaining steadfast and strong.
When flood waters hit Calgary, as well as other communities in Alberta, businesses opened their doors, shared their resources. Restaurants helped feed those on the front lines of flood relief. Non-profit organizations offered their skills and looked beyond their causes to assist how and who they could.
And in the midst of the worst, Calgary would not be deterred. Images emerged: neighbours helping neighbours; families, friends and even strangers banding together to save lives and homes and businesses. Calgary’s citizens working side by side to preserve their community.
People across the city raised their voices and asked, “What can I do to help?”
And, after the flood waters had receded, there was a renewed faith in the city, a willingness to roll up wet sleeves and plow forward to rebuild a better and stronger Calgary.
You have earned, many times over, our pride and respect.
Pride in your readiness to go above and beyond, to pitch in when you are needed, in tackling this crisis together.
My wife and I take pride in being here, in celebrating your accomplishments. And I respect each and every one of you for your actions during this crisis and for caring so deeply for one another.
Today, I am delighted to recognize the citizens of Calgary with the Governor General’s Commendation for Outstanding Service. This commendation is rarely given; rarer still to an entire city. That is the reach and the impact you have had on each other and on this country.
So often we forget that Canadians have such compassion as a nation. We help others because it must be done and because it is the right thing to do.
What the world witnessed from Calgary was a cohesive community and many stories of amazing individual deeds as you confronted this disaster.
Whether it was ordinary citizens risking their own lives to rescue others from raging waters, or Calgarians opening hearts and homes to the dispossessed, or the emergency responders who kept the peace and held the line, all of you have made us proud and have earned our respect.
With this in mind, I want you to share your stories. I want you to share those moments with others, to inspire and to drive people to help in their own right. And I want you to share them with me and my office, for I have no doubt that there are many stories of caring or bravery or great merit that are deserving of recognition by our country’s system of honours.
I had a chance during my visit to launch It’s an Honour!, a new travelling exhibit showcasing our Canadian Honours System and the very best examples of Canadian ingenuity and accomplishment. I was delighted to officially open this unique display in Calgary, home to so many amazing Canadians.
But today, I want to thank each and every one of you, every single Calgarian across the city. You have proven to us that Calgary’s citizens are contributing to our smarter, more caring nation, and you have done so through outstanding service to your home and to others.
So let me say simply thank you for all that you have done.