This Friday, Shirley-Pat Gale of Williams Lake will be honoured for her work with the Daybreak Rotary Club of Williams Lake and literacy.
The honour comes in the form of a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, which will be presented by Lieutenant Governor Steven Point to Gale at Government House in Victoria.
During the year of celebrations, honouring the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, 60,000 deserving Canadians will be recognized for their contributions to Canada.
Each lieutenant governor was given an allotment of medals, and Point specifically selected Gale to receive one because of her work with the Lt. Gov. Literacy Project and Rotary, says a spokesperson for his office.
When Gale receives hers, it will be part of a larger ceremony.
Speaking from Thompson Rivers University Williams Lake Campus, where she works as a grants officer, Gale sounded overwhelmed with the accolade.
Her involvement with the literacy project began with a conversation two and a half years ago in Joy Henning’s kitchen with thenRotary District Governor Bob Blackard, an aides-de-camp to Point, and the lead for all the Government House Rotary joint literacy projects across B.C.
“He and I got into conversation about how awesome Rotary is at being all of these things in the community.
“Then we talked about international projects and I wanted to know how I could do the kind of scope of an international project in my own backyard,” Gale says.
Blackard responded that funnily enough, he’d recently had a similar conversation with the lieutenant governor.
Following up, Gale attended Rotary’s district conference and during a cocktail hour at Government House, Rotary Club of Williams Lake then-president Ron Malmas invited Point to visit Williams Lake and five First Nations communities.
Gale says they learned through the process that there’s a protocol when it comes to inviting the lieutenant governor, but in the end the Government House made it happen.
“From those five, our Rotary Club selected Toosey, and that’s how it got started,” Gale explains, adding that Britco kindly donated a trailer left from the 2010 Olympics, which became a library/multi-purpose facility in the Yunesit’in First Nation (Toosey).
It was installed in May 2011, and when it opened went from having a 1969 Encyclopedia Brittanica set with four volumes missing to having more than 3,000 books.
“Now because they have space they’ve been able to access funding for early childhood education and they’ve also been a part of our university’s SkillsPlus grant, so we’re doing literacy workshops and computer training out there.”
The project has inspired other Rotary clubs to do similar projects, and in Williams Lake, the other Rotary Club has adopted Stone and will open a library there in September.
Mayor Kerry Cook says on behalf of city council, she adds her congratulations.
“I can’t think of anyone else deserving of this prestigious award. Shirley-Pat is passionate about literacy and about people. Her infectious good cheer definitely leaves you a changed person,” Cook says, adding the city is very proud of her.
The medal Gale will receive depicts a crowned image of the Sovereign, in whose name the medal is bestowed.
On the reverse side symbols mark the 60th, or diamond, anniversary of the accession to the Throne of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
“The anniversary is expressed by the central diamond shape, by the background composed of a pattern of diamonds, and by the two dates.
“The Royal Cypher consists of the Royal Crown above the letters EIIR (i.e., Elizabeth II Regina, the latter word meaning Queen in Latin).
The maple leaves refer to Canada, while the motto VIVAT REGINA means “Long live The Queen,” states the Governor General of Canada’s website.