WESTLOCK — The province is recognizing the significant contributions of 7,000 Albertans in 2022 to commemorate Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s 70-year reign, a long list that includes Town of Westlock and Village of Clyde mayors Ralph Leriger and Charis Logan Aquirre, along with Westock County reeve Christine Wiese.
The commemorative Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal medal was created to mark the anniversary and is a way for Alberta to honour Her Majesty’s service to Canada. Alberta Municipalities, a partner in program, presented Leriger and Logan Aquirre theirs in a special ceremony Nov. 27 in Edmonton, while Rural Municipalities of Alberta awarded Wiese her during its annual fall convention in early November.
“This is very special. I’m honoured to receive it,” said Leriger, noting the medal’s significance. “It’s important to our team and I hope it’s important to the community — any recognition that I would receive, I’m receiving on behalf of the community and behalf of my council and my team.”
The program is part of the Platinum Jubilee year celebrations, organized by the provincial government and is continuing as planned despite the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in September. It will officially conclude on Feb. 5, 2023, although all medals will be distributed to recipients by Dec. 31, 2022.
Leriger said there are many community builders in the town and county that are worthy of such recognition.
“That’s what drives small communities is community builders that are always there to lend someone a handup, give someone a job or support a great cause,” he said. “We’ve been fortunate in our little community with a large number of those type of people throughout our history.”
Other commemorative medals include the Canadian Centennial Medal (1967); the Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee Medal (1977); the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal (1992); the Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee Medal (2002); and the Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012).
As the last commemorative jubilee medal from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Leriger noted the importance of remembering the monarch’s dedication to Canada.
“There’s a very special side to that medal,” said Leriger. “The Queen was an amazing woman and served an incredibly long time.”
A full list of recipients will be available after the medal program has concluded in February 2023.