Doug Donaldson, MLA, Stikine, recognized four area residents for their service to community with the presentation of Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medals during a ceremony at the Old Church, Dec. 4, 2012.
Recognized for their contributions to the region and their country were Mel Coulson of Telkwa, Norm Sundborg of Smithers, Mabel Forsythe of Smithers and Bronwyn Henwood of New Hazelton.
“It’s incredible,” Coulson said of the recognition.
“I was gobsmacked when they told me.
“You don’t do these things for recognition, you do them because it’s the decent thing to do, or a worthwhile thing to do.”
It’s fitting the ceremonies were held in the Old Church as the renovation, the salvaging, of the Old Church, is one of Coulson’s contributions recognized by the Jubilee medal award.
“Every time I come in here for an concert or another event I think if we hadn’t made that effort we wouldn’t have had that.”
Despite a consensus the church should be torn down, Coulson and friends persevered and pushed ahead to renovate the church that stood abandoned for 20 years.
Next on the list was the prayer garden behind the Old Church and when that was done Coulson turned his attention to the Round Lake Community Hall.
“It was in a really bad state, the tongue and groove floor was worn right down to the grooves,” Coulson said.
“We realized if we didn’t do something it would go off the map.
“We thought we’re not going to let that happen on our watch.”
Many by now would look back and be content to rest on their laurels, but Coulson got wind of another project, Camp Caledonia.
The camp, owned by the Anglican Church, was in really bad shape, but the church didn’t have the money to cover the cost of renovation, so Coulson again devised a plan to cover the costs of renovation and today Camp Caledonia hosts many programs for youth and adults.
Norman Sundborg, received the Jubilee medal in recognition of his service to country as a member of the Canadian Armed Forces from 1972 – 1985.
By all accounts Sundborg was destined to join the armed forces, after growing up listening to stories from his father and grandfather who both served in the armed forces.
In accepting the award, Sundborg deflected the recognition, but rather chose to honour the members of his family who served in the armed forces.
“I’m surprised that someone picked up my story and made the nomination and that my story even had enough of an impact to receive a medal
“I guess I’m taking a hit for the team, the Sundborg family.”
Sundborg, who now operates Hudson Bay Taxidermy, also referred to his son, who is now a fourth-generation Sundborg to serve in the Canadian military.
When asked about his fondest memory of serving in the military, Sundborg smiled.
“That’s where I met my wife Pauline,” he said.
For Doug Donaldson, the awards highlighted the richness of community service in the region.
“The diversity demonstrated by these medal recipients is a real testimony to the strength and resilience of our communities,” Donaldson said.