Three Williams Lake residents were honoured at city hall Tuesday when MP Dick Harris presented them with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award.
“The thing about the people that we’re going to recognize tonight and celebrate is that they didn’t do these things and become part of organizations or charities for any type of a reward. They did it because they wanted to be citizens. The people that we are honouring tonight have spent years involved in activities that helped people and helped their community,” Harris said before making the presentations to the award recipients — Audrey MacLise, Bill Reid, and city councillor Surinderpal Rathor.
Queen Elizabeth II has requested the medals, honouring 60 years of her reign, be given to people around the commonwealth who have made special contributions to their country and communities, Harris explained.
“So that is what we have tonight. The presentation to three of Williams Lake’s living lights and very special people being recognized for their community service.”
Harris took turns with each recipient giving them a medal, certificate and a booklet listing all of the medal recipients.
He described Reid as a model citizen. His volunteer work, which began in 1992 with Neighbourhood Watch, has been called “a school of life” because he has been involved in so many things.
“After years of service, I understand you can still find Bill volunteering with Meals on Wheels helping deliver low-cost meals to seniors. It’s a demonstration of his commitment. His steadfast enthusiasm to his fellow neighbour should be, and is, an inspiration to us all.”
In accepting the medal, Reid said he wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for his wife.
When presenting the medal to MacLise, who has volunteered in community affairs since the 1960s, Harris said her volunteerism has impacted many people in Williams Lake and the surrounding area.
“All of us have benefited from the countless hours of Audrey’s care and comfort provided to the sick and suffering. Audrey MacLise has been a source of inspiration to, I’m sure, everyone in this community and everyone who knows her.”
In 2009, she was nominated and received a B.C. Community Achievement Award.
Rathor’s award follows the receipt of a B.C. Community Achievement Award in 2005, the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Award in 2002, and the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal in 1992.
“His outreach bridges cultures, his focus helps break through language barriers, he assists in taxes preparation, and provides ongoing support to the elderly. I know for a fact that in Surinder Rathor’s lifetime there’s been more than 30,000 hours of volunteer service and I know that number is matched by Mrs. MacLise and Mr. Reid as well, and is an indication of the commitment these folks have,” Harris said, adding he’s happy to call Surinder a friend and was pleased to receive his name as a possible candidate for the award.
“Williams Lake has got many people like these three and it’s a real benefit to the community. I hope people take the time when they see these three people to take the time to say congratulations,” Harris said.
Mayor Kerry Cook said she had pages of notes of each person’s accomplishments.
“For all three of these individuals, we know Williams Lake would not be the same without them. The dedication and determination of Audrey, the example of Bill Reid and his community service speaks volumes, and the same goes for our own councillor Rathor. On behalf of the city we’re proud of each and everyone of you,” Cook said.