Morrison receives national medal
By Darren Lum
Published Jan. 3, 2017
About the only thing that matches Scotty Morrison’s smile is his enormous heart.
With more than 100 family members and friends looking on, Morrison’s commitment to volunteering in the Haliburton Highlands was acknowledged when he was awarded the federal government’s Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers decided by the Governor General on Wednesday, Dec. 28 at the Pinestone Resort and Conference Centre in Haliburton.
Dysart et al Reeve Murray Fearrey presented the pin to an emotionally touched Morrison, who was surprised by the scale of the event and the praise he was showered with.
“It was a light night and a very emotional one for [everyone and] obviously for myself. I had 17 of my kids and grandkids there. It was a very humble evening. No question about that,” he said.
Standing at the podium, the proud Highlander and former president and chairman of the Hockey Hall of Fame was gracious and did what he usually does in public, which is give others credit like the Highlands community and Hockey Hall of Fame director and corporate media relations Kelly Masse, who was his secretary for years.
His volunteering includes working tirelessly for the past hockey tournament named after him, the Scotty Morrison Charity Hockey Tournament; sitting on various committees, which includes his involvement with the successful Highlands Christmas Shindig and serving on the Haliburton Highlands Health Service Foundation board.
The hockey tournament, he said, is a great example of what is possible. It helped to raise more than $200,000 net in seven years for Community Care Haliburton County.
“That just shows you how important volunteering is and how important a community like Haliburton County is when they see something that is really going to help the entire community,” he said.
The Governor General’s website said Canadian citizens are eligible for the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers. They must have provided a “significant, sustained and unpaid contributions to their community in Canada or abroad. Candidates must have demonstrated an exemplary commitment through their dedicated volunteerism. Non-Canadians are also eligible if their contributions have brought benefit or honour to Canadians or to Canada.”
The Medal for Volunteers, which was formerly known as the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award, started in 1995 by then-Governor General Roméo LeBlanc.
According to the website, this two-sided circular medal measures 36 millimetres in diameter with a suspension ring, held on by a ribbon that features the viceregal colours of blue and gold. The gold stripes that run the length of the ribbon represent fingers of a hand, present in the Caring Canadian Award emblem, while the deep red colour is associated with royalty, in accordance with the Governor General’s website.
On one side is the profile of Queen Elizabeth, circumscribed by the Canadian royal title “Elizabeth II Dei Gratia Regina” in upper case letters while at the bottom is the word “Canada,” separated by two leaves.
The other side features two interlaced hearts – one larger and one on the inside, half the size. It is topped by a crown. There is a sunburst design on the outside to symbolize the time and actions given by the volunteers.
Old friends like hall of fame inductee Jim Gregory were among a long list of hockey luminaries who came to honour the man so well known for his benevolence.
This also included dignitaries such as MP Jamie Schmale, MPP Laurie Scott, former MP and retired OPP commissioner Julian Fantino. Even the Stanley Cup and its well-known minder Phil Pritchard were there.
Fearrey helped lead an effort with a committee of Annette Richardson, Brigitte Gebauer, Doug and Ruth Mitchell and their son Kelly Mitchell. Fearrey had spoken to Morrison close to a month before about this recognition. The event was scheduled between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day so it would allow Morrison’s family to be available. At first, Morrison just wanted to do it in Fearrey’s office without anyone else.
“No, it’s a little more than that, Scotty,” Fearrey said.
When asked if there was a ruse to get him to show up, Morrison said, “I was just told to show up and shut up.”