Locals surprised to win medals

A NUMBER of locals have been awarded Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medals, and the latest have won for their voluntary and community services.

A NUMBER of locals have been awarded  Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medals, and the latest have won for their voluntary and community services.

World renowned Tahltan/Tlingit artist Dempsey Bob is an instructor and senior advisor at the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art at Northwest Community College here.

He began carving in 1969 and was directed to the Kitanmaax School of Northwest coast Indian Art by Freda Diesing, who was his earliest mentor and teacher.

Bob went on to become a close friend of Freda’s and frequently worked with her.

His work is in the collections of such institutions as the Canadian Museum of Civilization, UBC Museum of Anthropology, the Columbia Museum of Ethnology, the Smithsonian Institution, national museum of Enthology in Japan, Canada House in London.

Joyce Gibson won her medal for her community service involvement during her years here and it came as a surprise.

After working for the school district for 35 years, she wanted something to do when she retired.

She has been president of the Riverboat Days committee for many years, and is involved in Relay for Life on its leadership committee.

She works with the Terrace Community Foundation as its vice-chair.

And she just signed up for Volunteer Terrace and has been doing volunteering at the Happy Gang Centre.

“I like to be busy,” she said, adding it keeps her young.

Gibson has also been involved with the dragon boat society and Terrace snowmobile association.

Audrey Kerr and Jill MacKay have been with the Terrace Pipes and Drums Society for more than 35 years and nearly 20 years, respectively.

Kerr was pipe major for three years from 1991 to 1994 while MacKay has been pipe major since 1994 and continuing with that role until this past September.

During that time, she was also giving individual lessons from beginner to experienced as a music teacher.

One of her students has become the new pipe major, she said.

She volunteered to shovel snow for seniors as part of Volunteer Terrace, and still does it, although she and her husband do it on their own.

“I was absolutely surprised,” she said about being awarded the medal, which she says came as a result of pipes and drums member Murray Hamer nominating her and Kerr.

“Something the premier said in her speech really rang true,” said MacKay.

“She said ‘I bet you not one of you out there feels like you deserve the medal.’ She goes ‘you do deserve it.’

“All I could think was the dozens of other people who deserve a medal and went un-nominated.

“That was my biggest feeling ‘there’s so many other people that deserve this and I was happy and proud to get it.”

MacKay shared the medal ceremony with her 85-year-old mother, picking her up in Vancouver and taking her to Victoria.

“She the one who drove me to all my lessons,” said MacKay, adding her mother was surprised and proud of her for receiving the medal.

MacKay started playing the pipes when she was a child after starting out as a highland dancer.

The pipe band she belonged to played and won the highland games in Scotland and in band when she reached the top stage, she was part of the first Canadian band to break the top five in the championships there, she said.

Audrey Kerr says she felt very honoured to be selected.

She has been with the Terrace Pipes and Drums since she was 15 when she started playing the pipes.

She was pipe major, pipe sergeant and band manager and now her son is the pipe major, she said.

“It certainly was a surprise to get recognized for it. I’ve done it out of the love of playing and contributing and it brings a lot of joy to other people,” she said, adding her mom was there to see her receive her medal too.