A small gesture to honour a lifetime of giving back to the community
It was an event delayed two years but on Thursday two London residents were honoured for a lifetime of giving back to the community.
Ron Dawson and Karen Pincombe received the Governor General’s Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers at a ceremony at the Civic Garden Complex.
The Sovereign’s Medal was an initiative of former Governor General David Johnston to recognize passion, dedication and commitment to the community.
The recipients were nominated by the London Community Foundation (LCF).
“Any non-profit really relies on volunteers and it’s so important that you recognize them and show them how much you value what they bring to the organization,” says LCF President/CEO Martha Powell.
For Pincombe, her passion started when she was recruited to teach music at a Salvation Army children’s camp, “The children that came really changed my heart.”
For 30 years she’s been helping expose kids to music through the Arts 4 All Kids program run out the London Food Bank. The program supports children whose families are unable to afford lessons and instruments.
“We see them grow in confidence. We’ve heard stories of behaviour changes in schools because now they have something outside of school that makes them feel they’re worthy.”
Powell says Pincombe exemplifies passion and commitment, “She’s lifted every leaf possible to find instruments to be donated and get volunteers to help, and it’s just monumental work.”
Dawson is a businessperson and entrepreneur who has volunteered with numerous organizations throughout the city from University Hospital to Banting House.
He also started a fund with his late wife, June. The June and Ronald Dawson Family Fund is distributed by the LCF.
Dawson added a little levity to the proceedings. In accepting his medal, Dawson cited the late, legendary comedian Bob Hope, “When he got the Congressional Medal of Honor he said, ‘I’m very humbled by this, but I think I have the strength of character to fight it.’” Dawson added “I’m no Bob Hope but I am very humbled by this.”
Of course, this was a smaller gathering than initially planned, mostly family and close friends. All on hand were checked for double vaccination, remained distanced and put on masks while moving around.
Still, organizers say they’re gratified mechanisms are now in place that allowed them to honour two worthy medal recipients.