VANCOUVER ISLAND, B.C. – Two recipients of the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers are familiar faces in their North Island communities.
Comox’s Shirley Hickman’s involvement in the community dates back to the 1970s, and includes many local and provincial organizations.
In 2002, she founded Threads of Life, which supports workers and families who have been affected by a workplace tragedy.
Campbell River’s Bonnie Blackhall has helped out 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.
Any person who is a Canadian citizen and who has made significant, sustained and unpaid contributions to their community in Canada or abroad is eligible for the Medal for Volunteers.
“Candidates must have demonstrated an exemplary commitment through their dedicated volunteerism,” according to a release.
The medal is awarded to individuals only, not to groups or couples. Non-Canadians are eligible if their contributions have brought benefit or honour to Canadians or to Canada.
Forty people are being honoured for the volunteer work during a ceremony happening Thursday at Government House in Victoria.
Governor general  Julie Payette and B.C.’s lieutenant governor  Janet Austin will present the medals during the early afternoon ceremony.
As an official Canadian honour, 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.