Ponoka veteran Hugh Greene received a big surprise when he found out he was the recipient of the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award. The commendation is presented to Canadians who have gone above and beyond the levels of service normally expected of volunteers.
Greene received the award from Governor General David Johnston April 28 in Edmonton.
This was something of a surprise for Greene who was selected for his community involvement with the Ponoka Legion, the Dominion branch of the Legion and for his efforts with youths. “When I was informed, I was quite emotional and speechless,” he said.
Criteria for the award states individuals who have made a significant and sustained, unpaid contribution to their community, whether in Canada or abroad, are eligible.
Greene said he was unsure as to what he did exactly to deserve the honour, but says he was dedicated to his work as Dominion president. “I was quite willing to volunteer.”
He first joined the Wetaskiwin Legion in 1946 and then transferred to Ponoka in 1958. He has also spent some time helping develop the Ponoka Air Cadets and spent 10 years as chairman of the Air Cadets board of directors. Greene said he was a big promoter of track and field competitions with the cadets.
Being past-president of the Ponoka Legion was another honour that Greene has on his resume and he has even taken youth to Europe in an effort to enhance remembrance.
“On three occasions I took youth leaders to tour monuments and battlefields,” explained Greene.
“I was always enthusiastic and I felt it was something I liked doing,” he added.
As to who submitted his name, Greene does not know, which perhaps is one reason he is so humbled by the nomination. The award recognized specific volunteers who spend time to help others and “build a smarter and more caring nation,” as stated in the award fact sheet.
Greene is proud of the award, especially considering his rank when he finished his service to the country. “Not bad for an LAC (leading air craftsman),” he joked.
The Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award was established in 1995 and the award pin depicts a maple leaf, symbolizing the people of Canada; a heart, for the open-heartedness of Canadians and an outstretched hand portrays boundless generosity.
Greene is an active member of the Ponoka Legion and can be seen at many of the Legion’s events in town.