Presentation of the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers
Rideau Hall, Monday, April 24, 2017
“What is the essence of life? To serve others and to do good.”
Those are Aristotle’s words. But they could just as well serve as a motto for recipients of the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers.
You have served others.
You have done good.
And in doing so, you have improved the lives of those around you.
This is National Volunteer Week. What better way to mark the occasion than by shining a light on the generosity of our most dedicated volunteers?
For some of you, the spotlight may be uncomfortable. You don’t volunteer in order to be the centre of attention. You work behind the scenes, flying under the radar.
But your actions inspire. You motivate others to give.
One way we will create a more caring nation is by celebrating those who do good, by honouring them loudly and proudly. And we do so to encourage others.
That’s one reason why you’re here today.
The other is to say thank you.
Today, we show our love and gratitude to outstanding volunteers.
We know you are deserving. After all, your nomination came from the people who know you best. They saw how hard you were working and how much you’re admired. They want to celebrate you.
And that’s a sentiment I wholeheartedly agree with!
You come from right across Canada. You’re of different backgrounds, different ages, different experiences, but all of you share a generous heart.
Throughout my mandate, more than 1 500 volunteers have been recognized—first with the Caring Canadian Award, and then with the Medal for Volunteers. We’re very pleased to have been able to recognize so many generous and compassionate people.
Later this week, we will again reach out to leaders in volunteerism and philanthropy through a conference on giving, which we’ll be hosting here at Rideau Hall on Thursday.
I hope this discussion will help reenergize and even redefine giving in Canada.
Together, you are on the front lines of volunteerism. You represent our values and the kind of country we want to live in and that we want our children and grandchildren to live in.
Every day, you’re making this country a better place to live, and we are very grateful.
Thank you for your extraordinary contributions to your communities and to our nation.
And congratulations on this well-deserved honour.