By John DeCoste
Nova Scotia Lieutenant-Governor J.J. Grant was at Camp Aldershot last weekend to present Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medals to 26 deserving members of the Canadian Armed Forces.
Many of the recipients were employees at Camp Aldershot or members of the West Nova Scotia Regiment headquartered at the camp.
In his remarks, Grant said that “more than 60,000 other Canadians” have been presented with the medals, commissioned by the Queen this year to mark the 60th anniversary of her accession to the throne in 1952.
“The diversity of the recipients,” he said, “mirrors the diversity of our country.”
Grant, a retired Brigadier-General, suggested, “it is indeed revealing that the largest single number” of medal recipients are members of the Canadian military.
At the same time, he pointed out the medals were commissioned “to recognize men and women who render all kinds of service.”
Some of the recipients have served their country overseas, including postings to areas such as Afghanistan and the former Yugoslavia. Others were recognized for doing their jobs professionally, often for long periods of time, and in many cases, for combining their military duties with volunteer service to the community at large.
Grant referred to the recipients as an “outstanding example of dedication and service, both at home and abroad. Each of you is a true champion of exemplary service, and represents what it means to be a Canadian.”
Among several Camp Aldershot employees receiving the medal was Master Corporal Shelley Watson, who resides in Coldbrook.
Watson has served more than 30 years in the Canadian forces, first in the navy, then as a sergeant in the army reserves and more recently, in charge of purchasing, vehicle procurement and customer service at Camp Aldershot.
“I retired from the regular force to take the job I have now, at the rank of master corporal, ” Watson says.
In January, she will re-enter the regular force, at her previous rank of sergeant, and will be transferred to Camp Petewawa in Ontario.
In her spare time, Watson is involved in volunteer work in the community. She has been involved with the Relay for Life for the past three years, serving as team captain for Aldershot, and has been instrumental in getting a number of her fellow camp employees involved in the initiative.
“Last year, we raised $1,500.”
Asked how it felt to receive a Jubilee medal, Watson admitted, “I was pretty surprised when I got the letter, and I’m very honoured to be a recipient.”
The recognition is particularly special to Watson in that earlier this week, she received a call from her father, a retired navy veteran and former submariner living in Halifax, “who told me he was receiving a medal as well.”