SCUGOG: Many local Durham Region residents were recognized by MP Erin O’Toole for their military or community service at an event on Thursday, April 28.
Mr. O’Toole, along with Lieutenant Colonel Martial de Reviers, a French Liason Officer, presented four veterans with the Legion d’honneur medal at the event held at the Scugog Memorial Public Library. The medal is the highest distinction awarded by the Republic of France and is a tribute to Canadian veterans who helped liberate France between June 6 and August 31 1944. The medal was created by Napoleon in 1802.
North Durham recipients of the award included Edward Groves and George Emmerson of Port Perry. Arthur Elgar of Bowmanville and Stewart Bray were also recognized with the distinction.
Mr. Emmerson said that he didn’t know at the time that he was going to be honoured at the event.
“I was surprised because I already had my medal, so I asked what it was for and they said ‘oh, they are just going to give some things out’, so I said ‘oh sure, I will come.’ I didn’t know that I was going to have my medal given to me a second time,” he said.
MP O’Toole told The Standard that having someone of Lieutenant Colonel Martial de Reviers’ calibre come to the community event was truly special for the small community of Scugog.
“We were very appreciative of the government of France sending one of their senior military officers here to award their highest honour to some of our veterans from Scugog and the Durham Region,” he said. “It just shows how important this award is to the French people.”
The event also featured the unveiling of local Scugog artist Tyler Briley’s monument of Lieutenant-Colonel Sam Sharpe for the second time in North Durham. The monument was previously unveiled at an event on Thursday, March 10 at the Uxbridge Public Library.
Following the unveiling, MP O’Toole presented his Community Service Medallions to six local residents.
Those honoured with the medallion included Port Perry resident and historian, Paul Arculus, Terry and Christine Vos of Vos Independent, artist Tyler Briley, Blackstock resident and Standard Shoreline writer, Joyce Kelly and Keith MacKay of Hampton.
Mrs. Kelly said that she was happy to see the work that she has done in the Scugog community over the years recognized at the event.
“It’s just so very much humbling. I just can’t believe that my little spot of life has created so much interest,” she said.
Mr. O’Toole said that honouring the people that make a difference in the community is his favourite part of his job.
“In my role wherever I am in Scugog, or across Durham, I see that our volunteers make our community great and today we used a special occasion with the veterans to also honour some volunteers in the community, whether they are helping fundraise, whether they are helping at community events or writing our histories. We honoured some exceptional people today,” he said.