Three Castlegar residents up for Queen’s medal

Two of the three nominated by School District 20 Trustee Mickey Kinakin

  • Jul. 28, 2012 12:00 p.m.


By Greg Nesteroff

Black Press


The Regional District of Central Kootenay has endorsed three more Castlegar residents for the Queen’s Jubilee Medal. Bev Maloff, Dr. Rebecca McDonnell, and Ron Ross are all up for the honour, which commemorates the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign.

Maloff and McDonnell were nominated by longtime school trustee Mickey Kinakin.

Maloff herself served 18 years on the boards of the former Castlegar and present Kootenay Columbia school districts, including a term as chair.

She was “at all times a leader/advocate of public education in the Kootenays,” Kinakin wrote. She chaired the Russian bilingual program and helped expand heritage language education in the district and the province.

“Her work is a true example of multiculturalism as a unique Canadian model for nation-building,” Kinakin said.

McDonnnell, meanwhile, immigrated to Canada from Ireland a decade ago, first settling in Kaslo with her family. She moved to Castlegar in 2006 and became an active parent at Blueberry Creek Community School.

Her leadership qualities were quickly recognized, Kinakin said. She was elected chair of the community school society and has helped manage activites ranging from early childhood to seniors programs.

While the school’s ongoing operation is dicey due to a district funding crunch, McDonnell is working “tirelessly” to continue services, Kinakin said.

Ross, a Rotarian, has done humanitarian work in many third world countries. He’s helped orphans and the poor attend school and access basic medical care, particularly in Honduras.

Locally, he’s been instrumental in many community projects including the skateboard park and upgrading of the library grounds. He chaired both the referendum and building committees for the Castlegar aquatic centre, served on the board of Community Futures, and was citizen of the year in 1988.

“Ron represents the best of Canada abroad and is an outstanding member of our community,”  the nomination read.

The three were nominated this month along with longtime Kaslo teacher Aya Higashi.

They join earlier nominees Corky Evans, Hans Cunningham, Donna Macdonald, Josh Smienk, John Voykin, Gary Wright, and Geoff Yule. Yule is a Castlegar accountant while the rest are current or former regional district directors.

Vokyin has already received his award. The others are expected to be honoured at a ceremony in Nelson in September.

MP Alex Atamanenko asked the three regional districts in his riding to each suggest ten names for the medal. Nominees in the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary so far include former Fruitvale mayor Libby Nelson and Trail’s Audrey Urquhart, while the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen is asking the public for suggestions.

Five medals have also been awarded to Creston Valley residents.

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