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Friday, October 18, 2002


Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship 2002 (O.M.C.), Ontario’s highest award for voluntarism

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News Release

October 18, 2002


TORONTO – Minister of Citizenship Carl DeFaria joined the Honourable James K. Bartleman, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, to present the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship to thirteen individuals who have made exceptional, long-term contributions to improving the quality of life in Ontario and in their communities. The medals were presented this morning at a formal ceremony in the front lobby of the Ontario Legislature at Queen's Park.

The Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship is an official award of the province and recognizes and encourages the virtues of good citizenship. Recipients must have made outstanding public contributions through exceptional long-term efforts. The award reflects their acts of selflessness, generosity, kindness and exceptional contributions to community life.  The award consists of a silver medal emblazoned with the provincial coat of arms on one side and the provincial flower, the trillium, on the other.

Nominations are made by individuals and community organizations across Ontario. Since 1973, when the first Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship ceremony was held, 372 people have received the award. 

A brief description of this year’s recipients of the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship is attached.

link to Victor's award

Dan Remington 
Communications Branch
Ministry of Citizenship
(416) 314-7242

Mike Campbell
Minister’s Office
(416) 325-1891

2002 Recipients of the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship

The following is a brief description of this year’s recipients of the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship:


Mandy Bonisteel, of Toronto, has worked for more than 20 years to end violence against women and children in Ontario, and internationally in Namibia and war-torn communities in Kosovo, Bosnia-Hertzegovina, and Azerbaijan. She possesses incredible insight into how to get people working together, and is single-mindedly devoted to achieving her goal of protecting women and children. Her significant achievements, both in Ontario and internationally, have been accomplished while she has held a challenging and demanding full-time teaching position at George Brown College in the Assaulted Women and Children’s Worker/Advocate Program.


Wai-Chi Cheng, of Toronto, has worked professionally as a newspaper manager and president, and as a volunteer assisting Chinese newcomers to preserve and maintain their heritage while integrating into Canadian society. Wai-Chi has provided valuable leadership to a wide range of community groups including the Chinese Community Centre of Ontario, the Chinese Institute of Arts & Science Inc. in Ottawa, and the Chinese Benevolent Association of Canada in Vancouver. He is also an Honourary Life Superintendent of the Toronto Chung Wah Chinese School.


Arnold W. Crawford, of Thunder Bay, has touched the lives and hearts of more people than we will ever know. His greatest achievements are founded on his works of charity with shut-ins and those individuals who are alone in the community. He works with the elderly, the lonely, prisoners and alcoholics. Arnold is a leader in Alcoholics Anonymous, a local seniors’ centre and the president of the Elizabeth Court Tenant Council, where he has organized events and social activities for residents, especially the ageing and ill.


Victor J. Deschenes, of Milton, has been a strong supporter of many causes related to children, but prefers to do it in a quiet way. Victor started by buying hundreds of baseball jackets for an inner city school where many students were disadvantaged. He pays for as many as 5,000 children at a time to attend Toronto Blue Jays baseball games at the Skydome. And he has purchased up to 500 bicycles at a time to donate to youngsters who had none. Through the years, Victor has regularly provided significant financial assistance to the Mississauga News Christmas Fund, Peel Partners for a Drug Free Community, the Mississauga Waterfront Festival and many others.  


Dr. Stafford W. Dobbin, of Niagara Falls, is a devoted physician and long-time crusader for preventive medicine. He founded Heart Niagara, an innovative program to promote heart health.  Among his many achievements, he developed citizen training in CPR techniques and pioneered the Healthy Heart program in the schools of Niagara Region, motivating students to take responsibility for making healthy lifestyle choices. In addition to his huge contribution as a cardiovascular specialist, Dr.Stafford was instrumental in the creation of an Emergency Department at the Greater Niagara General Hospital. He has also served as medical advisor for many international marathons and has given countless hours of volunteer service though the Lion’s Club.


Kathleen Emily Harvey, of Mississauga, was 25 years old, a nurse and mother of two when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. After the progression of the disease obliged her to use a chin-powered wheelchair, she mastered the art of mouth painting. The sale of Kathleen’s work, transformed into Christmas and note cards, has raised more than $200,000 for the Mississauga chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada and the Trillium Health Centre Foundation. Kathleen has distinguished herself as a strong advocate for people living in long-term and chronic care facilities. She touches us all with her courage, creativity, and compassion.


Terrence W. Harkins, of Pembroke, has been described as a model citizen and Ontario is a safer place thanks to his decades of voluntary service with the Ontario Provincial Police Auxiliary. During Terry’s dynamic tenure as Chief Superintendent, the auxiliary expanded to 700 highly qualified volunteers who put in more than 160,000 hours each year in communities across Ontario. An educator by profession, Terry believes deeply in the value of mentoring young people. As head of the Ontario Educational Leadership Centre, he has freely given his time and energy to helping outstanding students develop their talents and abilities.


Lee Holling, of Wallaceburg, is an eloquent advocate for people with intellectual disabilities to be full participants in community life. For the past 15 years, he has volunteered on many fronts for the Ontario Association for Community Living, both locally and provincially. Many colleagues credit his vision for revitalizing and renewing the entire organization. Under his dynamic leadership, the Wallaceburg chapter expanded its services and supports to reach all parts of Chatham-Kent Region, empowering individuals and their families in new and successful ways. Lee’s contagious enthusiasm and his ability to bring people together impress all who know him. 


Florence Kehl, of Stratford, is the founder and director of the House of Blessing, a non-profit organization that has served thousands of less fortunate Stratford residents for the past 19 years. Providing food, clothing and household items, the facility is an important community resource with the reputation of never turning anyone away. The House of Blessing helps all in their time of need, including other agencies, groups and shelters, offering material support as well as encouragement. Most recently, Florence raised the funds for a much-needed larger facility. She is to be commended for her vision and staunch commitment to helping those most in need.


Orval Ladd, of Lyn, is best known for his vision, initiative, leadership and dedication to preserving the heritage of the Village of Lyn and surrounding area. Over the years, he has served on church and township committees, provided financial backing for local sports teams and is still preserving and displaying the town’s historical treasures.  It was his burning enthusiasm that sparked the idea of bringing the past to life in Lyn’s Heritage Place in 2002. For years an active member of many organizations, and eager volunteer who always lends a hand, Orval was recognized as Lyn Village Citizen of the Year in 1998.  


C. Alex McFarlane, of Glencoe, has played a major role in village activities since the early 1970s. He is renowned for his fundraising efforts, and especially for the portable barbecue he built to feed people in a campaign to raise funds for the Glencoe Memorial Arena. He didn't stop there.  Alex and his barbecue take part in the annual Lions Club barbecue, along with fundraisers for the Four Counties Health Centre.  He also conducts charity bingo games, one of which helped raise $325,000 for the Lions Club Sports Complex. Alex’s dedicated efforts have left an indelible stamp on most of the community facilities in Glencoe.


Stephen J. Menich, of Waterloo, is celebrating his 50th continuous year of volunteer activity. He has initiated, developed and supported numerous programs that serve people in his area. He is best known for his groundbreaking work in developing community-based schooling, and employment opportunities for people with developmental disabilities.  He has also served the United Way in a leadership role for more than two decades. Stephen has supported many new initiatives, including the Waterloo County Hall of Fame, a facility opened in 1972 to commemorate exceptional individuals in his area. Stephen was inducted into that Hall of Fame in 1999 for his outstanding work in his community.


Jill Pariser, of Ingersoll, is known as ‘Gramma Joy’ to the youngsters she works with in the local ‘Breakfast for Kids’ program. A nurse by profession, Jill has championed several projects for underprivileged and needy children in her community.  First she initiated the ‘Coats for Kids’ campaign, to supply seasonal clothing for children. Then she spearheaded ‘Breakfast for Kids’ to provide needy children in two schools with a nutritious breakfast. Then it was ‘Camp Hope’, the summer day camp program that uses volunteer youth counsellors to make the summer a wonderful learning experience for all.

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