Jubilees for local leaders
Another special ceremony was held to honour people chosen for Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medals.
On Feb. 7, MLA Gwen O’Mahony handed out four Jubilees to members of the community who have served above and beyond. The event included a posthumous medal for late City of Chilliwack Councillor, Dorothy Kostrzewa, along with Anne Schudeleit of Boston Bar, former District of Kent councillor Ted Westlin and Sts’Ailes Chief Willie Charlie.
The medal recipients were chosen by a selection committee that spanned the Chilliwack-Hope riding. Mayor John Van Laerhoven introduced Westlin to the crowd, in a conference room in the Coast Hotel downtown Chilliwack.
“I’m a little nervous because the person I have to call up is Ted Westlin,” Van Laerhoven said, smiling. “Ted was my teacher.”
But all joking aside, Van Laerhoven told the audience about Westlin’s many contributions to the community. Many would know Westlin as Agassiz’s Fall Fair parade marshall “all these years” along with his hard work on ditches and drainage issues in the district.
But he’s also been a volunteer for the youth, reading to children in schools, along with giving produce off his farm to those with a need, shoveling snow for seniors and otherwise lending a hand where needed. It’s that exemplary service to the community that earned him a Jubilee, the mayor said.
“He is ensuring the community is a better place to live for generations to come,” Van Laerhoven said. “And Agassiz is better for it.”
Chief Charlie also received a warm welcome, from Eddie Gardiner, who outlined the many accomplishments of the First Nations leader.
He was acknowledged for his leadership, vision, and his “unwavering commitment to justice for his people, his activism for aboriginal rights and title, and his services to his community as Chief of the Sts’ailes (Chehalis) First Nation.”
Said Gardiner as he introduced Chief Charlie: “What gives him his strength as a strong and brilliant leader is the teachings he got from his elders.
Those teachings are now being passed on to the next generation, said Gardiner.