In 2016, Marco Iannuzzi holds the CFL’s Tom Pate Memorial Award, given annually to the CFL player who best represents sportsmanship, dedication to the league and community service. (File photo)

Former B.C. Lion among Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers award winners

Surrey’s Marco Iannuzzi to be honoured with 40 others in Victoria this week

Former B.C. Lions receiver Marco Iannuzzi is among Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers award winners in the province.

The Surrey resident will be among 40 people honoured by Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin at a ceremony at Government House in Victoria on Thursday afternoon (Sept. 6).

The medal is designed to recognize “the exceptional volunteer achievements of Canadians from across the country in a wide range of fields.

“Besides being a professional athlete, an investment advisor and a family man, Marco Iannuzzi has volunteered as a charity auctioneer and board member for such organizations as Sources BC, Els for Autism, the MS Society of Canada, Bring Back Hope, and The Whistler Invitational,” says a government release.


BC Lions’ wide receiver has soft hands, big heart, from 2016.

Ex-B.C. Lion Marco Iannuzzi great as ‘Gru’ at Polar Plunge fundraiser, from March 2018.

The Medal for Volunteers incorporates and replaces the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award, created in 1995, by then-governor general Roméo LeBlanc. “The medal builds on the legacy and spirit of the Caring Canadian Award by honouring the dedication and commitment of volunteers.”

The recipients of the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers for 2018 are as follows, with submitted biographies:

Gordon Barrett – North Vancouver

Gordon Barrett has proudly served his community for over 30 years. His volunteer commitment to military and spiritual affairs has helped countless individuals in times of need, bringing Lower Mainland communities together through his work as a regimental piper.

Curtis Becker – Victoria

Curtis Becker goes beyond his duties as a volunteer with the Juan de Fuca Scout group. He has dedicated the last 13 years to finding different ways to help youth become engaged citizens of society.

Commander Peter Betcher – Nanaimo

A long-serving volunteer with the Royal Canadian Legion and the Navy League of Canada, Peter Betcher has given much of his time to engaging youth and supporting veterans across Vancouver Island.

Bonnie Blackhall – Campbell River

Bonnie Blackhall has been volunteering with the Opportunities Career Services Society and other organizations for over 30 years. Through the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program, she has spent over a decade putting her degree in social work to good use by helping low-income couples receive their tax benefits.

Robert Bowes – Burnaby

Since his retirement in 2012, Robert Bowes has been a volunteer with MOSAIC, a registered charity serving immigrant, newcomer and refugee communities in Greater Vancouver. He gives of his time as a career and social mentor, and teaches English and participates in fundraising activities.

Carl Brownell – Chilliwack

In addition to serving for four decades with the local branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, Carl Brownell has spent considerable time speaking with students about remembrance. He played a key role in erecting the Piper Richardson Memorial Statue in Chilliwack in 2003.

Erick Carreras – New Westminster

Erick Carreras is an undergraduate student and active volunteer at the University of British Columbia. As the co-president of Undergraduate Research Opportunities, he co-ordinated networking and educational events, and was instrumental in founding the Research Experience (REX) program. He served as co-chair of the organizing committees for conferences on global health and research.

Nina Graham – Richmond

Nina Graham has been a dedicated volunteer in her community for nearly three decades. In addition to helping with Canadian Blood Services donor clinics, she is a fitness instructor at the YMCA and a Green Coat ambassador at the Vancouver Airport.

Douglas Harrison – Chilliwack

Dividing his time among several organizations, notably the Kiwanis Club and the local branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, Douglas Harrison has demonstrated a relentless dedication to service over the past 30 years.

Shirley Hickman – Comox

Shirley Hickman’s involvement in the community dates from the 1970s, and includes many local and provincial organizations. In 2002, she founded Threads for Life, which supports workers and families who have been affected by a workplace tragedy.

William Higdon – Chilliwack

A dedicated supporter of seniors, veterans and youth, William Higdon has been with the local branch of the Royal Canadian Legion for nearly two decades, and served as its president for eight years. He helped organize a Wounded Warriors Canada Weekend in Chilliwack in 2015, and is involved with the local army cadet corps.

Marco Iannuzzi – Surrey

Besides being a professional athlete, an investment advisor and a family man, Marco Iannuzzi has volunteered as a charity auctioneer and board member for such organizations as Sources BC, Els for Autism, the MS Society of Canada, Bring Back Hope, and The Whistler Invitational.

Robert (Bob) Irvine, CD – North Vancouver

Prior to being commissioned as a cadet instructor cadre officer, Robert Irvine volunteered as an instructor in first aid and judo wrestling. He also researched the history of the 18 army, navy and air cadet units in North Vancouver, and used his carpentry skills to help with community school projects.

Liz (Kathleen) Jones – 108 Mile Ranch

Over the past 15 years, Liz Jones has been the local coordinator for the Emergency Support Services of 100 Mile House. During the 2017 wildfires, she led her dedicated team of volunteers by example and ensured that evacuees had access to temporary shelter, food and clothing.

Sargie Kaler – North Vancouver

Sargie Kaler has been a Community Volunteer Income Tax Program co-ordinator at the Akali Singh Sikh Society Family Resource Centre for the past 11 years. She promotes gender equality as a board member of the India Mahila Association, and as a volunteer with the Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter, and the Collingwood Counselling Centre.

Louis Legal – Sechelt

Louis Legal has been a member of the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program for 20 years. A retired meteorologist, he continues to promote environmental responsibility as a director of the Sunshine Coast Clean Air Society and by writing articles for the Sunshine Coast Conservation Association.

Jeffrey Lott – Nanaimo

Jeffrey Lott has been an honorary aide-de-camp to four of British Columbia’s lieutenant governors since 1999. Over the past five years, he has helped save lives as a courier with the British Columbia Children’s Hospital and with the Bruce Denniston Bone Marrow Society. His work with the society sends him around the world to pick up donated stem cells and bone marrow for transplants.

John Malcolm MacFarlane – Coquitlam

Since 1976, John MacFarlane has documented Canada’s nautical history through the creation of The Nauticapedia Project, an online information portal featuring more than 57,000 biographies and close to 51,000 Canadian vessel histories. His project ensures this nautical heritage will be accessible for generations to come.

Jennifer Martin-Blatherwick – Coquitlam

Jennifer Martin-Blatherwick motivates children to develop critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills. In addition to serving as director of Odyssey of the Mind BC, the flagship program of the Creative Problem Solving Society. She is the coach of two teams at Rochester Elementary school.

Gerald McGladrey – Chilliwack

A long-serving volunteer with the local branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, Gerry McGladrey has put his culinary skills to use for nearly 20 years, serving meals for numerous legion events and fundraisers. He has supported minor hockey teams for two decades.

Jeannette Mergens – Kelowna

Jeannette Mergens is committed to improving child care and to reducing poverty and homelessness. She has been a representative of the Community Action Towards Children’s Health and a member of the British Columbia Poverty Reduction Coalition. She has been involved in the Child Poverty campaign and the Aging Out Of Foster Care project.

Alexander Muir – Victoria

Alex Muir has dedicated his time to supporting marine safety in Oak Bay and Victoria over the last 35 years. As a board member with the Canadian Marine Rescue Auxiliary and Oak Bay Sea Rescue Society, he ensured these organizations had the funding and expertise needed to make a difference in his community.

Dale Parker – Vancouver

Dale Parker supports the activities of a number of charitable and community-based organizations, serving as a board member of the Kidney Foundation of Canada and of the BC Cancer Foundation. He dedicated nearly 20 years to raising money for medical research.

Peter Pereversoff – Castlegar

Peter Pereversoff has volunteered with the Tarrys Volunteer Fire Department for over 15 years. One of the first people to sign up for any fundraisers or training, he is always available to help someone in need, often using his own vehicle and first responders’ emergency kit to assist accident victims.

William Pollock – Revelstoke

William Pollock has been a Canadian Executive Service Organization volunteer for over 17 years, sharing his knowledge as a professional forestry engineer and outdoor eco-tourism entrepreneur with international partners and Indigenous communities in Canada. In Honduras, he helped to equip the government with the skills to prevent pine beetle infestations. He also works with local leaders to establish and revitalize the forestry industry throughout the nine communities of the Matawa First Nations.

Cindy Postnikoff – Kimberley

Cindy Postnikoff has seen how debilitating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be for Canadian Armed Forces members returning from overseas deployments. She formed Military Ames, a support group for veterans, and continues to devote her time, energy and financial resources to honouring and helping former military personnel affected by PTSD.

Surinderpal Rathor – Williams Lake

Surinderpal Rathor has been with the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program for 40 years in addition to volunteering with the City of Williams Lake and the Indo-Canadian community. He participates in public fundraising events, has been a member of the local health board, and founded the Community Policing Committee.

Ron Rice – Victoria

A long-time supporter of the British Columbia Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, Ron Rice has provided significant aid and advice to Indigenous communities throughout the province as an advisor, mentor and coach.

Magdi Rizkallah – Richmond

As a former program and project manager, Magdi Rizkallah uses his management and technological skills to help grassroots organizations around the world. For the past five years, he has invested hundreds of hours into training the project staff and volunteers of PeaceGeeks, a global, non-profit volunteer organization.

Robert Sharpe – Mission

A tireless and exemplary volunteer, Robert Sharpe has dedicated more than 50 years to fundraising and volunteering for his local legion branch. He also conducts several talks with students during Remembrance Week on the meaning of commemoration.

Steve Smith – Victoria

For the last 20 years, Steve Smith has gone over and beyond as a reserve constable for the Saanich Police Department. He was the first reserve constable to represent the Saanich Police Department in the Tour De Rock cycling event where he raised almost $15,000 for pediatric cancer research.

Robert Hock Sun Tan – Burnaby

Robert Hock Sun Tan has been involved with community organizations for over 10 years, giving much of his time to the Royal Canadian Legion and the Knights of Columbus. His fundraising efforts have led to the distribution of wheelchairs, eyeglasses, medical supplies and hot meals to those in need.

Garth Vickers – Kelowna

Celebrated for his ability to bring out the best in his athletes, Garth Vickers has demonstrated outstanding leadership as coach at all competitive levels with the Special Olympics for nearly two decades.

Shawn Wade – Burnaby

For decades, volunteering has been Shawn Wade’s calling. He has dedicated his time as a civilian instructor with the cadet movement and as an active member of the Burnaby Flatlands Preservation Society, the Simon Fraser University Senate and the Royal Commonwealth Society.

Devin Warwick – Cobble Hill

Devin Warwick joined the Victoria Reserve Program in 2008, and has devoted over 3,000 hours to his duties, ensuring the reservists fulfill their roles at public events. He has also volunteered with other local groups, including the Oak Bay Search and Rescue team.

Jim Watson – Mission

Jim Watson devotes countless volunteer hours to creating a better quality of life for individuals in need of assistance. He has raised funds and awareness as a board member of the Rick Hansen Foundation for over 20 years and has been involved in such organizations as Kin Canada and Rotary International.

Marcus Wong – West Vancouver

Marcus Wong has been giving back to the community for more than a decade through his involvement with his church, his alma mater and the Richmond Art Gallery. His commitment to the West Vancouver Track & Field Club has enabled its membership to grow and has given the club the important role it has within the community.

Terri-Lou Woods – Abbotsford

For nearly 30 years, Terri-Lou Woods has volunteered with the Central Fraser Valley Search and Rescue Society, saving lives and ensuring British Columbians are educated and prepared in the event of an emergency or accident, while enjoying the great outdoors. People of all ages have benefited from her commitment and passion for outdoor safety and emergency preparedness.

Terry Yung – Vancouver

Terry Yung has spent the last 20 years dedicating his time and skills to a wide variety of causes, including S.U.C.C.E.S.S., Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver, the Vancouver Cambie Lions Club and the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver. His contributions have ensured that new Canadians fulfill their professional aspirations, that youth have opportunities to become future leaders, and that neighbourhoods are safer and more connected.

Donna Ziegler – Terrace

For more than 40 years, Donna Ziegler has volunteered with community, provincial and national organizations, namely the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Rotary Club and her church. When the school’s music program faced funding cuts, she started the Dare to Dream Foundation, so students could participate in music classes and the school band.

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