Caring Canadian Awards presented

Carla Allen
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Three Yarmouth County residents were presented with Caring Canadian awards by Governor General David Johnston at Yarmouth town hall last evening.

The award "recognizes individuals who volunteer their time to help others and to build a smarter and more caring nation. The award also highlights the fine example set by these volunteers, whose compassion and engagement are so much a part of our Canadian character."

Those who received the award are:

Winnie Surette

For her personal commitment to caring and her over fifty years of involvement with community organizations.


Phil Kitter

As a professional chef, for using his talents to feed the hungry in his community and raise funds for local causes.

 Mary Lonergan Eldridge

For providing leadership and sound financial management to many charitable organizations in her community.


Governor General David Johnston commented on the significance of the awards at the conclusion of the presentation:

"This was established by Roméo LeBlanc, our 25th governor general. As you know Roméo LeBlanc was our first governor general of Acadian heritage, a neighbour not too far from here.

"He established that award because it recognized the kind of spirit in the Acadian community in which he grew up in. Communities where people cared for one another."

 Following is another speech delivered during the event:

"Thank you for your warm welcome. I have been looking forward to this visit.

Samuel de Champlain admired Yarmouth during his explorations more than 400 years ago—and having spent the latter part of the afternoon lobster fishing in the harbour, I can certainly see why!

For centuries, Yarmouth has been reinventing itself—as a leading maritime community in the shipbuilding, shipping, fishing and tourism industries, to name a few. Yours is a long and remarkable history of which you are rightly proud.

What has enabled this relatively small town to exist for so many years? How have you managed to adapt and endure so much change?

You know the answer to that question better than I do, but I will hazard a guess. It is because you, the people of Yarmouth, show such caring, creativity and commitment to working together.

The most precious resource by far in this community is its people. You help and support each other—and in fact, you inspire all Canadians.

Let me assure you, this is no empty phrase. As some of you may know, earlier this year I had the privilege of awarding the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal to Bryden Hutt, an elementary school student at Meadowfields Community School here in Yarmouth.

Despite facing health issues of his own, young Bryden has raised more than $35,000 for the Children’s Wish Foundation so that other children with illnesses could see their dreams come true.

I am certain the people of Yarmouth are very proud of Bryden. He is an extraordinary individual, and many Canadians were moved and inspired by his generosity and charm. Sharon and I certainly were.

And children across Canada owe him a debt of gratitude for “Bryden’s law,” the “legislation” he drafted while visiting Rideau Hall, stipulating that all children should eat chocolate three times daily! 

You will also be familiar with the family name Killam—as in Izaak Killam, native of Yarmouth, in whose name I annually present the Killam Prizes for scholarly achievement in engineering, the humanities and the natural, social and health sciences.

The legacy of Mr. Killam and his wife, Dorothy, is having a positive impact on Canada and the world, and serves as a reminder of the great strength our country derives from smaller communities such as Yarmouth.

Of course, these are just two examples of your caring, but I believe they speak well of the culture of hard work, compassion and ingenuity that exists in this community. And in fact, I will be delighted to recognize four other individuals from your community following my remarks, with a presentation of the Caring Canadian Award.

As governor general, I have been calling on Canadians to imagine ways to build a smarter, more caring nation as we approach the 150th anniversary of Confederation. Having celebrated your 250th anniversary last year, you serve as an example to all Canadians of resilience and community spirit.

Be proud of what you have achieved, and continue in your efforts to adapt and support each other in the years ahead.

Your success is essential to the Canada of which we dream."



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Recent comments

  • Mary Ellen MacDonald
    May 31, 2012 - 22:32

    Do not know Phil but am sure he is as worthy of this honour as are Winnie and Mary. I have known them both for many years and am so pleased to see them recognized for their service to Yarmouth. Way to go, ladies....