Nunavut commissioner honours outstanding residents
“People who have distinguished themselves by acts of bravery, achievement, accomplishment or the acquisition of special skills”
Some of Nunavut’s most outstanding residents received the Nunavut Commissioner’s awards and four of them received Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medals at a ceremony held at the Anglican Parish Hall Dec. 13.
About 50 people attended the ceremony, as well as members of the Canadian Rangers, the newly formed Iqaluit Junior Rangers, the RCMP and Iqaluit’s mayor, John Graham.
“The commissioner’s awards system is to recognize people who have distinguished themselves by acts of bravery, achievement, accomplishment or the acquisition of special skills,” Nunavut Commissioner Edna Elias said at the beginning of the awards presentation, after the singing of the national anthem with the audience.
The commissioner’s award for humanitarianism went to Pierre Wolfe, who helped raise thousands of dollars after Iqaluit’s Creekside Village fire this past February that left dozens of people homeless.
“His efforts took personal strength and sacrifice for his fellow Iqalummiut,” Elias said.
The award for bravery went to Iqaluit resident and restaurant owner Brian Twerdin, who saved a young woman’s life this past September when he jumped into the cold Arctic waters of Frobisher Bay to save her from drowning, and pulled her to safety.
Iqaluit’s volunteer firefighters were honoured as well: with a plaque to “respect their courage and compassion in responding to emergencies” in the community on a volunteer basis.
Also receiving recognition were the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal recipients.
Throughout 2012, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee is being celebrated around the world.
That’s because this year marks the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, who became queen at the age of 25 in February 1952.
“This is a time for Nunavummiut, and indeed all Canadian, to celebrate the contributions of our head of state and to reflect on our territory and the nation’s growth during her reign,” Elias said.
These recipients are the ones who make a difference in their communities and in the country, while enriching the lives of others she said.
The Diamond Jubilee medal recipients were:
• Mick Mallon, a teacher and linguist who spent decades preserving and revitalizing the Inuktitut language. Mallon was named to the Order of Canada in 2008.
• Reverend Mike Gardener, who has called the Eastern Arctic his home for more than 50 years, is well-known throughout Nunavut and northern Canada for his work as a minister, counsellor and also community activist.
Gardener received the Order of Nunavut last July.
• Captain Owen Godfrey Mitchelmore, who has worked for the past five years with the Air Cadet Program as well as coaching youth skiing and biathalon. “He spends countless hours training the youth of Iqaluit,” Elias said.
• And Captain Yannick Ferguson, a member of the community who has served as aide-de-camp for the commissioner since the beginning of her term, she said.
“He has shown professionalism and pride in his work. His commitment far exceeds that of his mandate by serving and getting involved at many levels of service,” the commissioner said.
Nominations for commissioner’s awards can be made by any resident of the territory and submitted to the commissioner’s office at any time.