Presentation of the Sovereign's Medal for Volunteers (Whistler, BC)
Whistler, British Columbia, Friday, June 2, 2017
I acknowledge that we are gathering today on the traditional territory of the Squamish and Lil’wat First Nations.
It’s a pleasure to be here in Whistler surrounded by two things that make this a smarter, more caring world: books and volunteers!
I can think of no better place to present the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers than at the Whistler Public Library. Books, after all, fuel our imagination; they help us to dream big.
Volunteers do the same thing.
The work that you do inspires us. It changes your communities, our country, the world. And you do it because it’s the right thing to do, because you have found the true meaning of community.
Consider Aristotle’s words: “What is the essence of life? To serve others and to do good.”
You have served others.
You have done good.
And in doing so, you have improved the lives of those around you.
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, as we say in French, pour encourager les autres.
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. 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!
No matter where you come from, each of you has the same type of generous heart that you share with others.
Together, you’re on the front lines of building a smarter, more caring nation. You represent our values, 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.