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Local Man Presented With Senator's Medal

Kim Deane being applauded. Photo by Alison Worsfold

In Rossland City Council Chambers on Thursday evening, December 14, well-known Rossland resident Kim Deane modestly received a medal awarded to him by Senator Nancy Greene Raines, honouring his volunteerism and involvement in developing local trail systems and other recreational opportunities in the Rossland Range.  With the public gallery packed and overflowing into the hallways, Mayor Kathy Moore presented a gift from Senator Nancy Greene Raines, a collector’s pin showing the Houses of Parliament, a letter from the Senator, and the impressively boxed, impressively heavy medal.

Deane thanked the Senator, and the Mayor and Council, and all the other volunteers who have worked for Rossland’s trails and outdoor recreation opportunities over the years, and many others.

He said, “I know the focus was on volunteers who have developed and promoted recreation and trails. So for this area, for recreation and trails,how can we be beat?  We’ve been in it for over 20 years, and most of that time it’s been the Trails Society building their network, and in recent years we’ve got the authorization [for the Rossland Range Recreation Site] at Strawberry Pass and the cabins and trails up there, and the whole package is pretty amazing, even to us who’ve been building it  ̶ we never expected it to be quite what it is.  [̶ ] This community, and the region  ̶  because it’s a regional effort, not just local – for example, here’s the Chimo crew, Bart Fyffe and Derrick [Horney], of the 44th Engineering Squadron, who built the Chimo cabin.”  Fyffe and Horney were present, resplendent in their dress uniforms.

Deane went on to express heartfelt thanks to the many other people and groups who have helped to make the local trails system, and the Recreation Site, what it is: “landowners who have granted permission for trails and trail users to cross their land, necessary for the best connectivity;  Atco, Selkirk Forests, Red Mountain, Big Red Cats; business owners in Rossland have been very supportive; and steady funding for the Trails Society [Kootenay-Columbia Trails Society] as a regional effort for the last, oh, 15 years or so  ̶  Rossland, Warfield, Trail, Montrose, Fruitvale, Areas A and B, all contribute  ̶  this is quite unusual, and with that support, they’ve been able to build a trails network and maintain it, better than most others.”

Deane also thanked the non-volunteers – “people who are paid.” He mentioned the KCTS paid workers as well as the volunteers, and the suppliers and contractors throughout the region; “They’ve really stepped up.”

Moore reminded Deane about the role the Provincial government played in creating the Rossland Range Recreation site, with permission and some funding to rebuild many of the old illegal day-use shelters created by community volunteers over the decades.  “I always forget somebody!” Deane laughed.  “There are too many!  Yes, Rec Sites and Trails, the provincial government, first of all they gave us [the recreation site tenure on] this huge chunk of land, and then they’re given us quite a bit of money to get the cabins going. So there’s a huge, diverse group, that really deserve credit for this amazing network we’ve built up. And it’s my hope that everyone who has contributed feels that they have a share in this medal. Honestly, I feel a bit uncomfortable with my name on it, but it’s much appreciated. And on behalf of all, I accept this medal.”

Below, Deane stands with Mayor Moore. Photo credit: Alison Worsfold

More about the medals:

Canada’s Senate decided to commemorate the 150th anniversary of its first sitting by having 1500 medals struck by the Canada Mint earlier this year, and awarding them to “Canadians or permanent residents actively involved in their communities, who, through generosity, dedication, volunteerism and hard work, make their hometowns, communities, regions, provinces or territories a better place to live.”

By those criteria, one can think of dozens, or perhaps hundreds, of worthy recipients just in our local area.

The medal program’s budget was set at $225,000.  The program was not supported by all senators; some felt the cost was too high, though they agreed with honouring unsung heroes in Canadian communities.

The medals are made of “Muntz metal,” an alloy of bronze, copper and zinc.  They are three inches in diameter and one-quarter inch thick.

Each senator is allotted 12 medals to award, and 47 of our 93 senators have chosen to award one to themselves; Senator Nancy Greene Raines is not currently listed among those.