Thornhill’s Donna Ziegler was one of 40 British Columbians to earn the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers award to recognize her contribution and dedication to school music programs.
On behalf of Governor General Julie Payette, B.C. Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin will present the medal in a ceremony at the Government House on Thursday afternoon, Sept. 6, in Victoria.
The medal “recognizes the exceptional achievements of Canadians from across the country in a wide range of fields,” paying tribute to their dedicated volunteer work and the positive impact they’ve had on their communities.
“For more than 40 years, Donna Ziegler has volunteered with the community, provincial and national organizations, namely the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Rotary Club and her church. When the school’s music program faced funding cuts, she started the Dare to Dream Foundation, so students could participate in music classes and the school band,” said a government press release.
The Dare to Dream program brings in professional musicians to elementary schools in the region that teach band students a new instrument or help them improve on their skills, practising with them an hour a day over a week. Even with this range of volunteer experience, Ziegler said she was shocked to get the phone call back in January.
“I wasn’t sure what was happening,” she laughed while waiting for her plane back to Terrace. “I still feel quite humble about it all.”
She said she was brought up to recognize the importance of volunteering and acting in ways to bring about positive change.
“I remember one thing my father said to me one time… I had gone out to a party and he picked me up. I said I didn’t enjoy it very much, and he said, ‘what did you do to make it better?’ So if there are areas you see where people need help, or something needs doing, I ask myself ‘what can I do as one individual to help it be better.’”
The Medal for Volunteers incorporates and replaces the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award, created in 1995, by then-governor general Roméo LeBlanc. “The medal builds on the legacy and spirit of the Caring Canadian Award by honouring the dedication and commitment of volunteers.”