Terrace couple awarded by Governor General for volunteer work

Ron and Mavis Ramsey recognized for founding society that covers medical expenses

Mavis and Ron Ramsey are seen here in 2013 after winning the Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the Year award for their Helping Hands program that raises money to help folks in need cover medical expenses. More recently, they were awarded the Meritorious Service Medal by Canada’s Governor General on July 1, 2020 for the same program. (File photo)

A husband and wife team in Thornhill have each been awarded medals by Governor General Julie Payette for their volunteer service.

The Governor General released a list July 1 naming 123 Canadians who are being recognized this year for honourable conduct.

Ron and Mavis Ramsey, the Thornhill couple, were awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for founding and running the Helping Hands of Terrace Society, which collects recycling and donates the proceeds to help people with medical costs.

The society began as a way to help seniors with prescription costs, but over the years has helped people of all ages with a variety of medical needs. The society has put money toward medical equipment such as wheelchairs and travel costs for people needing to access Mills Memorial Hospital.

Mavis told The Terrace Standard that receiving the award was “shocking.”

“We aren’t doing this for a medal or a big recognition like this, but it happened” she said. “Well, we’re both quite honoured by it.”

The Ramseys founded the Helping Hands Society about ten years ago, though prior to that they volunteered their assembling bundles of kindling that were sold with proceeds going to the Dr. REM Lee Hospital Foundation. Mavis said the pair are still going strong and they don’t plan to stop volunteering any time soon. Mavis is 71 and Ron is 79.

“We’re going to keep doing it for as long as we can,” she said. “It’s rewarding seeing that seniors are getting help and they’re not dying because they don’t have to make a choice between food, rent and medication … And same with people with sick kids.”

Arrangements have yet to be made for a formal awarding ceremony and the Ramseys have not received the physical medals yet. Mavis said they were invited to Ottawa but could not travel there for medical reasons. A press release from the Governor General’s office states that award ceremonies will be held “when global circumstances permit.”


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