Diamond Jubilee Medal Recipients

When Councillors were advised we could nominate worthy Londoners for the Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal, Nancy Branscombe and I decided to jointly nominate individuals. Our focus was to nominate those who spend their volunteer hours, working tirelessly to serve their neighbourhood association and community, in addition to encouraging and initiating activities that strengthen citizen engagement and civic action. We recognize that sustained grass roots civic activism is a foundational principle in building great cities and good government. To quote Abraham Lincoln, “Government of the people, by the people and for the people” aptly captures the sentiment of collective civic engagement. We recognize that behind each of the noted Diamond Jubilee Medal recipient are numerous citizens’ engaged and working with this individual to collectively create a city that is thriving, vibrant, creative and environmentally sensitive. This medal also honours the supportive work they do.

To the Diamond Jubilee Medal recipients, and the scores of active citizens who work tirelessly with them, we offer our congratulations and thanks for your invaluable contribution to this city.

The brief summary of each recipient noted below is not inclusive of the breadth of their volunteer commitment and civic action.

Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal Recipients:
Carol Agocs
Professor Emerita – Department of Political Science, Western University is an active citizen making substantial contributions to a variety of initiatives, including environmental protection of Stoney Creek subwatershed, research on public administration, citizen engagement, in addition to being appointed to Council’s governance review task force.
Gina Barber– A retired educator, Gina has been active in civic issues for over three decades. She served as a member of city council and was appointed to numerous Board and Commissions. Gina championed the Age Friendly City Initiative from inception to council policy adoption through to her continued involvement as implementation unfolds. She has chaired the Housing Authority been an active in the Byron Justice circle and London Public Library – Historic sites committee. Gina continues to attend city hall meetings and informs the public about council issues through her blog.
Susan Bentley– For over two decades, Susan has served her community in a variety of civic capacities. She led her community association for over a decade, been actively involved with the Urban League of London, and served as a Council appointed member of the Town and Gown association. Susan is a founding member of the Ontario Federation of Urban Neighbourhoods. She serves with Heritage London Foundation and advocates for heritage preservation.
Paul Berton– Former Editor in Chief of the London Free Press, Paul was instrumental in engaging and advancing the public conversation with respect to key community issues. He was involved in the inception of Doors Open London and Celebrate 150 Sesquicentennial. He was Council’s appointee to the Trees and Forest Advisory Committee for a number of years. He was a celebrity reader with London Reads, and a literary judge for the John Kenneth Galbraith Awards. Prior to moving to Hamilton, Paul was actively engaged in the Old South community.
Marie Blosh– Marie’s uses her volunteer time to support a variety of civic issues. She chaired her community association for many years, was Councils appointee to the animal welfare task force and was subsequently Councils appointee to the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee. In addition, she works to protect and enhance the city’s heritage.
Dr. Stan Brown– Has serves as Chair of a large community association. He has initiated a number of local actions employing strengthening neighbourhood strategies. Stan fought diligently for many years to protect Gibbons wetland/woodland to have it declared an Environmentally Sensitive Area.
Maureen Cassidy – A founding member, who also serves as co-chair, of a large community association. Maureen is an outstanding advocate for strengthening neighbourhoods through engagement in civic activities. She routinely coordinated community events, and protects the environment.
Susan Eagle– She is a tireless volunteer for social justice. Advocating for equality, inclusiveness, human rights, and those who are homeless and living in poverty. Susan has been a member of city council, appointed to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities committees, and served on numerous Boards and Commissions.
Jackie Farquhar– She has dedicated 35 years to  leading her community association on a variety of civic issues from community redevelopment, heritage preservation,  to town and gown issues. She represented her community with the Urban League of London for many years.
Hugh Fletcher– For over a two decades, Hugh has been the voice of the agricultural community to council. He is actively involved in civic issues and has participated on many committees. Hugh has served as Council’s appointee to the Agricultural Advisory Committee, often taking on the leadership role as chair.
Greg Fowler – Greg values accountability and transparency in government and he single handedly live streamed council meeting for many years using his own equipment, uploading content for public viewing. He spent many years blogging about civic issues. Greg has also been active in promoting walkable cities awareness for over a decade.
Genet Hodder– For over two decades, Genet has been an active and vocal champion for built heritage. For many years she coordinated and chaired the Doors Open London heritage event. She has served in leadership positions with Heritage London Foundation and heritage associations, in addition to being a successful small business owner.
Margaret Hoff– Margaret has always been an active and involved citizen. She has championed women rights and equality, spearheaded women our votes count initiatives, organized political debates and conferences and has been Councils appointee to numerous committees and task force including the Governance Review Task Force and the Child Care advisory Committee.
Sandy Levin– Sandy has spent over two decades involved in civic issues. Aside from serving on council for 6 years, he has held a leadership position on a variety of Boards and Commissions including London Transit, the Environmental Ecological Planning Advisory Committee, Nature London, Development Charges Monitoring Committee and the Technical Review Committee for Development Charges. Sandy also serves as the Chair of his community association and is active with the Urban League of London.
Russ Monteith – In addition to running a law practice, Russ has served this community in a variety of capacities as a member of: city council, London Transit Commission, London Hydro, UWO Board of Governors, University Hospital Board of Directors, President of the Middlesex Law Association, former Citizenship Court Judge, and former Board of Trustee for St. Andrew’s United Church.
Gloria McGinn-McTeer– Gloria has been involved in civic issues for over two decades through serving as Chair of the Urban League of London, President of a community association championing neighbourhood values and protecting the environment.  She is a founding member of the Ontario Federation of Urban Neighbourhoods. Gloria has served on council appointed advisory committees and presently sits on a technical review committee.
Kathryn Munn– For over a decade, Kathryn has been a civic leader in a variety of capacities. A well known lawyer with a focus on dispute resolution Kathryn uses her volunteer time leading her community association in numerous civic activities in addition to championing human rights.
Mari Parks– Mari championed the study for the Bishop-Hellmuth Heritage designation. She was actively involved in the detailed heritage assessment of the community and she continues to lead civic issues on behalf of the community association after more than a decade.
Dennis Pellarin– For a decade, Dennis has dedicated himself to working with the community, the university and college on issues of concern. He was instrumental in championing and coordinating a city wide liaison group with an interest in Town and Gown issues. He was appointed by Council to serve on the Town and Gown Advisory Committee.
Nick Sauter– Nick has been civic minded throughout his life and is dedicated to giving back to the community. He is respected community leader who has spearheaded numerous community initiatives and discussion around recreation, infrastructure, planning etc. He is a founding member of the Argyle Community Association, and regularly blogs about civic issues.
Dean Sheppard– Dean is involved in a variety of civic initiatives. For many years he served as Chair of the Environment and Ecological Planning Advisory Committee. He was appointed by Council to the Trees and Forest Advisory Committee where he served for numerous years. He is coordinating community action for the Million Tree Challenge and ReForest London. Dean is actively involved in the Old South community.
Bob Shiell– A well respected educator, who championed educating about the environment. For over two decades Bob Shiell has been instrument in leading the restoration and environmental protection of Stoney Creek. In addition, he has actively served as Council’s appointee to the Trees and Forest Advisory Committee for many years.
George Sinclair– For over two decades, George has served the community as an active Board member and former President of the Old South Community Association, as Chair and Director with the Urban League of London and with the Trees and Forest Advisory Committee. George has dedicated years of active involvement to preserve and protect the Normal School heritage site.
Ken Sumnall– For well over two decades, Ken has been a civic leader in a number of capacities from active involvement with Community Living London to Chairing and holding leadership positions and capacity building within his community association, to environmental protection. Ken also served for over a decade on the Housing Advisory Committee.
Lani Teal- A founding member, who also serves as co-chair, of a large community association. Lani has dedicated her volunteer time to strengthening neighbourhoods through civic activism, environmental protection and organizing community events.
Greg Thompson– Greg is a founding member of the Old East Village Community Association serving as the President for over a decade. He continues to serve as a board member. Greg also Chairs the Urban League of London and participates in numerous civic issues. He was appointed to the London Advisory Committee on Heritage and served for many years.
Stephen Turner– For over a decade Stephen has served the community in a number of leadership roles that include; Chair and member of the Advisory Committee on the Environment, the Environment and Ecological Advisory Committee, Chair and Director of the Urban League of London and Director of the Old South Community Association.
Dr. Tutis Vilis– A scientist/professor and civic activist. For over two decades, Tutis has been an active Director leading the Masonville Residents Association, in addition to serving on the executive of the Urban League of London for over a decade.  He has coordinated community activities and made a valuable contribution to citizen engagement.
David Winninger – In addition to running a law practice, David has served this community as a Member of Provincial Parliament and a Member of City Council. He has been appointed to numerous Boards and Commissions and continues to serve on the London Transit Commission and Merrymount Board. David’s civic action is focused on social justice issues, mental health, and being the voice of those marginalized by society.

Our thanks to your for your outstanding service to the city.


13 thoughts on “Diamond Jubilee Medal Recipients

  1. Thank you Councillors Joni Baechler and Nancy Branscombe for showing the citizens of London how make these awards meaningful to the recipients with the generous and gracious way you presented them. Your are beacons of light in dark times.

  2. Thank you for the recognition you have offered these zealous citizens of London and for honouring them as you have – away from “the fray” – on your terms.

  3. I would advise you and the rest of your colleges not to ever nominate present or former City councilors. When you decide to go into politics do you go in with passion to do things right because others did not or did you go into politics because you think that because of the so-called “GOOD” things that you do will someday get awarded.This entire awards affair has been disappointing to say the least when all of you voted to give yourselves the award.None of you passed or present deserve the award in the first place and one can only suspect that certain present councilors did not accept it do to all the negative response that the article got in the LFP.

  4. Congratulations to all. We are blessed to have such dedicated individuals in our community working tirelessly to make our city a better place. Thank you to Councillors Baechler and Branscombe for nominating these individuals. We know these citizens do their good work because of their values and commitment to the community, and not for the recognition, so it is all the more heartening when they are publicly recognized.

  5. Not sure how your blog is set-up but your last replay seems to indicate February 7 at 2:07 pm which is nearly 3 hours from now? More to the point – was there no considersation given to individuals who did not have a civic political connection? I’m sure there are individuals who work tirelessly in a volunteer capacity that have no political overture – food bank volunteers, Shriners, teachers, service groups, etc? You are all so self-serving!

  6. Good for you and Nancy. Your initiative was classy and honored the integrity of the Diamond Jubilee Award. Separating your recipients from the ongoing fiasco being perpetrated by your colleagues is what we in the Old North ward have come to expect from both of you.

  7. Joni and Nancy. Thank you for demonstrating how the Queen’s Medal ceremony should have been done. You recognized people on the basis of their community accomplishment and not political cronyism. In the midst of all the confusion surrounding the medal issue you showed us that London not only has great community givers but that we also have the professionalism to do recognition right. Well done, both of you.

  8. When awards turn into meddling…there is only one solution!

    Proper procedure and procurement of policy achieves open government,
    Proper recognition makes it real.
    Good work Bee’s

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