Thursday, December 20, 2012

Saanich South Diamond Jubilee Recipients

RCMP Cpl, MLA Lana Popham, Det. Paul Spencelayh, Katy Madsen, Rebecca Jehn & Haji Charania

Dear Saanich South,

This year marks the sixtieth anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's accession to the Throne of England. In commemoration, the Governor General is awarding sixty thousand Diamond Jubilee Medals. A range of institutions and offices are helping to select recipients all year long. Each Member of the Legislative Assembly of BC was given the privilege to select four individuals in his or her constituency to receive the medal.

I asked all the Community Associations in Saanich South to appoint one person to participate in committee to select the recipients. In this way, there would be no appearance of partisanship and those actively volunteering at the local level would themselves decide who should receive this honour. This committee took their work seriously: they carefully considered over thirty nominations and used a formal process to determine the recipients.

Earlier this week, all the south Island MLAs came together to present the medals at a ceremony at the Legislature. It was a very special afternoon, with family proudly watching. The picture above includes the four Saanich South recipients. What a great bunch! Here is a little information about them:
Haji Charania gained distinction for his 26 years of service with the BC Buildings Corporation, first as a Project Manager and then as a Director. Since retiring in 2003, he has volunteered countless hours to improve the quality of life in Saanich. Contributions include serving on the Saanich Police Board, the Saanich Board of Variance, the Victoria Airport Authority Board, the Saanich Volunteer Services Society and the North Quadra Land Use Protection Association.

Rebecca Jehn is a founder and driving force of the organic and local food-first community on the south Island. She helped start the Moss Street Market in 1991 and co-founded “Saanich Organics” in 1994. She has educated hundreds in small-scale food production and in food preservation methods. She continues to farm organically and inspire the next generation of farmers on the Saanich Peninsula.

Katy Madsen is 91 year old artist, teacher, environmentalist, and activist. Her oil paintings have hung in galleries across North America and she has taught art from Walnut Creek California to Summerland BC. She was a founding director of the Sierra Club of BC and founded the Okanagan Similkameen Parks Society. She played pivotal roles in the creation of several important parks in BC and led the opposition to uranium mining in Summerland in the 1970s.

Paul Allan Spencelayh has worked as a police officer since 1997, including 10 years on the Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team/Tactical Unit. He currently serves as a detective in the Major Crime Unit. He has been recognized for risking his life to help others, including the rescue of a violent suicidal male from drowning and helping to save a disabled couple from a house fire. He has also donated many hours to volunteer work, such as coaching youth sport teams and supporting the BC Special Olympics Torch Run and the Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock.
Best, Lana