Opinion

Queen's Diamond Jubilee recipients strengthen Langley

Saturday’s Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal ceremony, which honoured 30 Langley citizens, was a microcosm of all that makes Langley a great place to live, work and prosper.

The 30 people honoured were a representative group of a much larger number of Langley residents who work hard every day to make this community and the wider world a better place. Some of their work begins with their jobs, but for all of them it is much more than that, as their efforts encompass so many activities within the community.

Unlike what columnists often do, I will keep their names out of this column. They can be found in this news story. What I’d like to do is highlight some of their activities to detail their passion for making our world a better place.

One of them volunteers to help educate some of the Karen adults who came to Langley as refugees from Myanmar. Another works with Special Olympcs athletes. Another has worked for 40 years with the RCMP, including a secret mission where he helped rescue civilians held captive in Iraq.

One is a current mayor and longtime volunteer. One is chief of Langley’s largest First Nations group, who has worked tirelessly to make her people feel valued and has built many bridges to the larger community. She has also played an important role in trying to ensure that children learn the traditional language spoken by the Kwantlen people.

Another is a former mayor and school board chair, who worked on many issues ranging from health and transportation to education.

One is a current RCMP member and cancer survivor, who raises funds for research into women’s cancers. One has donated a kidney to a young man whose health was failing, and volunteers for a host of charities. One has been active with the songwriters showcase. Another is “Mr. Environment” in Langley. One has been active with the museum. One is a vocal advocate for people with what she terms “pos-abilities.”

Another has more than 7,000 volunteer hours with the community police office in Aldergrove. One is a recently-inducted member of the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame who has been active in equestrian activities — one of two of Langley Seniors of the Year. The other recipient of that honour (and the medal) has volunteered with a host of Langley organizations. Two worked together to create a nature park in memory of soldiers who died in Afghanistan. Another supports children with burns. Another has worked to prevent people with albinism from being killed in Africa because of skin colour.

A longtime volunteer for many Fort Langley groups is a recipient, as is a man who has helped thousands of addicts over 30 years. One, who recently passed away, was a champion of many causes. One heads the Langley Ukulele Ensemble. Two are former fire chiefs who have helped many local charities.

One is longtime head of the food bank. Another has worked for hospice and Meals on Wheels. Another is passionate about ending human trafficking. Another is involved with seniors, the arts and horses. Another is a passionate volunteer best known for work with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

If asked, each would say they’re just ordinary people. But they do extraordinary things.

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