Volunteers give more than the general public will ever recognize. They make the choice to give their time and effort to make our community better, without any promise of reward or payment. If you’ve tried to organize any group of prospective volunteers you know that the ones who show up and give it their best are incredibly valuable. This is why it’s so important to have a way to recognize them and bring attention their efforts. By celebrating their hard work, hopefully you can inspire someone in the audience to step forward and join in.
The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medals were intended to be just such a reward, “to honour significant contributions and achievements by Canadians”. Unfortunately, the meaning and significance of these medals have been diminished by a few poorly chosen nominations. At every level of government, there have been questionable nominations made, and each bad nomination detracts from from the real value of the award. Our own mayor Joe Fontana made two of these poor decisions: first, he nominated a former municipal politician who was found guilty of corruption, and then Mayor Joe nominated his own current city council.
It’s obvious why the first choice was a bad one: anyone who has been convicted of betraying the public trust is hardly a positive example to hold up to the rest of the community. But the second choice, the one to nominate his fellow council members who currently sit as our municipal leaders, is also a lapse in judgement.
When you are elected to office, you take on an obligation to encourage others at the expense of your own accolades. You don’t get medals, because there are other people who need the encouragement more than you do. As a leader, you know that there is always another volunteer who needs to hear that their efforts are appreciated, and their sacrifice is worth it. You put your own ego last.