Encouraging Excellence

Robb Nash shares what it means to be awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for his work using music to help young Canadians struggling with mental health issues.
 
Transcript

[Screen Description: Text on a grey background reads, “Canadian Honours, Robb Nash, Meritorious Service Medal (Civil Division).” There is a viceregal lion above the text. "Governor General Mary Simon" is written to the right of the viceregal lion.]

[Screen Description: Several words characterizing honours recipients move across a black screen. The screen reads, “Canadian honours presented by the Governor General”.]

[Screen Description: Robb Nash is sitting in a theatre, speaking to the camera. The screen reads, “Robb Nash, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal (Civil Division).”]

[Robb Nash:] My favourite moments of every show, is when I get to see the audience, tears falling down their faces.

And at the beginning I didn’t like it.

I thought I was watching the tears of somebody that was breaking down.

Now I realize that those are tears of somebody breaking through.

When I was 17 years old, I was in a massive car accident where I woke up from a coma, I didn’t know who I was, my parents, and had to rebuild my head with titanium.

I went through a very bitter time.

Two years of my life where I didn’t want to be alive and I made it through that dark time but I wondered how many other young people like me having those same dark thoughts, suicidal thoughts. 

They’re not talking about it, so I decided I wanted to tell my story to as many people as I could.

So I knew that music would be a good way to share that story.

I was offered a chance to do a tour through youth prisons, reserves up North, and schools, listening to stories and sharing my story with young people.

And I ripped up my record deal to do that tour and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

You know guys, I realized something.

You guys can go up to any adult that you know and ask them:

 “What do you do?”

Everyone knows what they do.

Ask them: “Why do you do it?”

And very few people have a good answer to that, and that’s a sad thing.

I started writing songs together with people that we were meeting... Songs about addiction, songs about suicide.

We’ve seen some people have some massive breakthroughs.

In fact, we’ve actually had 883 students have actually handed us their suicide notes after these shows.

And then we started seeing pictures and videos of them tattooing our lyrics on their arms where they used to hurt themselves.

And so I took all the signatures off the suicide notes that we were given and I tattooed them on my arms.

And I did this because I know what it feels like to feel like you're all alone with those thoughts.

These are all people that had those thoughts once too, but they are still here.

People seem to only talk about mental illness when there’s a suicide.

People seem to only talk about addiction when there’s an overdose.

And what we try to do in our shows is tell the stories of the people that are still here, the ones that made it, to make examples out of those people.

Show that there are survivors, there are people that are victorious…

[Screen Description: Jonny Holliday is sitting in front of a drum set on a stage, speaking to the camera. The screen reads, “Jonny Holliday, The Robb Nash Project, Musician/Artistic Director.” Short video clips of him performing play as he speaks.]

[Screen Description: Throughout the video, the screen alternates between Robb Nash, Jonny Holliday and a series of scenes featuring The Robb Nash Project performing at concerts; schoolchildren entering concert halls; and Robb Nash talking to audiences from a stage.]

[Jonny Holliday:] I think Robb represents a whole new face of mental health.

Putting a cool, edgy look on it, making kids realize that it’s okay to talk about some of their struggles.

[Robb Nash:] People look at me, and they think “Why would we trust this guy with our youth?

He doesn’t seem like somebody that’s qualified to speak about things like mental illness”.

But by receiving awards like this, it helps us grow and helps us reach more people.

That’s why I was so honoured to receive it.

It was great having songs on the radio and playing big crowds, but this is, this isn’t just success, now, this is significance.

This actually feels fulfilling - that your music can be a part of somebody’s life.

[Screen Description: Text on a grey background reads, “The Meritorious Service Decorations (Civil Division) recognize remarkable individuals who bring honour to our country through their exceptional deeds in many different fields. gg.ca/honours.” There is a Meritorious Service Medal and Cross above the text.]

[Screen Description: A viceregal lion on a grey background.]

Nancy and Robert Campana share what they have accomplished in support of the LGBTQ2+ community, and what receiving the Meritorious Service Medal means to them.
 
Transcript

[Screen Description: Text on a grey background reads, “Canadian Honours, Nancy and Robert Campana, Meritorious Service Medal (Civil Division).” There is a viceregal lion above the text.]

[Screen Description: Several words characterizing honours recipients move across a black screen. The screen reads, “Canadian honours presented by the Governor General”.]

[Screen Description: Nancy and Robert Campana are sitting next to each other. They take turns speaking to the camera. The screen reads, “Nancy and Robert Campana, Windsor, Ontario, recipients of the Meritorious Service Medal (Civil Division)”.]

[Robert Campana:] Rocky had friends that...It upset him that they—they never could tell their parents who they were because they were worried about being removed from the house.

But our home was always a safe place for all his friends.

[Nancy Campana:] We lost our son Rocky in 2012, August of 2012.

Rocky attempted to take his own life and then he lived for two days and...

Rocky was always very much an advocate in the LGBTQ community.

He was a gay young man and he came out when he was 17.

Rocky had big plans for the work he wanted to do.

He had talked to me about the work he wanted to do within gay-straight alliances.

There wasn't a GSA available to Rocky when he was in school, but we know he would have been the GSA leader.

We knew when Rocky passed away we wanted to continue his work.

And we did that through partnering with the Windsor Pride Community here, and starting the Run for Rocky.

[Robert Campana:] It's a 5-kilometre run.

We made it a family event.

You didn't have to be a runner, you could walk.

It was more to bring people together and to get the message across, what we were doing.

[Nancy Campana:] The Run for Rocky Event took place for five years.

And through that event, we were able to raise $270,000.

The first thing is that we provide grants to gay-straight alliances within the schools.

We also fund ongoing events, scholarships, education for parents.

All of the Run for Rocky funding is around education because we feel that education is empowerment.

[Screen Description: Malachi Malabre is standing outside and speaking to the camera. The screen reads, “Malachi Malabre, former president, Riverside GSA.” There is a body of water and large bridge behind him.]

[Malachi Malabre:] When I first came out, I joined my school's GSA and I was referred to the Run for Rocky by one of my teachers.

And they helped fund my GSA, they helped fund everything that we wanted to do.

[Screen Description: Throughout the video, the screen alternates between Mr. and Ms. Campana, Mr. Malabre, and a series of scenes featuring the Run For Rocky, the office of the Windsor Pride Community, and the city of Windsor, Ontario.]

[Nancy Campana:] The goal of the project was to make Windsor a safer and friendlier space for LGBTQ people.

[Malachi Malabre:] I see now a lot more diversity, a lot more people who are open and comfortable, and feel safe to be able to be themselves.

[Robert Campana:] The Meritorious Award that we received was a wonderful honour and really a surprise to both of us.

And it's just not an award for Nancy and I, it's an award for our whole community, who wrapped their arms around us and believed in what we were doing, and rallied around us.

[Nancy Campana:] That award just gave Windsor more recognition for the diverse community it's become.

[Screen Description: Text on a grey background reads, “The Meritorious Service Decorations (Civil Division) recognize remarkable individuals who bring honour to our country through their exceptional deeds in many different fields. gg.ca/honours.” There is a Meritorious Service Medal and Cross above the text.]

[Screen Description: A viceregal lion on a grey background.]

 

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