Presentation of the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award (National Volunteer Week)
Rideau Hall, Tuesday, April 14, 2015
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What a pleasure it is for Sharon and me to welcome you to Rideau Hall for this celebration of caring.
I always look forward to presenting the Caring Canadian Award, and today’s ceremony is even more special, bringing together unsung heroes from across the country during National Volunteer Week.
Much like the Caring Canadian Award itself, this week is all about thanking those who give so much and who expect so little in return.
So let me start by saying thank you to each of our recipients.
Besides saying thanks, this award is meant to showcase your efforts, and to encourage others to help out, too.
In fact, the theme of National Volunteer Week this year talks about the “ripple effect” of giving—how one act of kindness begets another.
This is so true. I’m sure that at some point each of you has been on the receiving end of an act of generosity that moved you deeply.
And I’m sure that how that made you feel inspired you to “pay it forward,” as the saying goes.
What is that feeling we get, when we realize someone cares so much for us, or for the well-being of our community?
It’s a feeling of hope.
Hope for ourselves. Hope for others. Hope for our communities and our country.
Hope that we can live up to the gifts we’ve been given, and prove ourselves worthy.
That’s one way the ripple effect works. When someone gives to us, freely and generously out of the goodness of their hearts, it makes us want to give back.
I’d even go further, and say it creates a need to give back.
Each of our Caring Canadian Award recipients is driven by that urge to give.
One of the wonderful things about this award is the nomination process that led to your being here today.
As you know, recipients of this award are nominated from within their communities. This is truly a grassroots honour. Each of you was named by someone who knows your work and how much you have given.
I would ask that all of you now consider nominating someone who is also deserving of this award. Whose contributions are worthy of being celebrated, as yours are today.
It’s easy to do—simply visit our website at gg.ca/caring.
Can there be a greater honour than to be recognized by one’s community and by one’s country at the same time?
Each of you has given generously of your time and your talents, and you are most deserving of this honour.
You have helped to change your communities and to improve peoples’ lives.
Thank you once again, and congratulations!