Kilgallin awarded Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal

 

By Ron Giofu

Roughly half a century of community service put forth by Tom Kilgallin was recognized in a jam-packed council chambers last Thursday evening.

Kilgallin, a former town administrator, was awarded a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal as part of a special council meeting. Both the crowd and members of council gave Kilgallin a pair of standing ovations during his presentation.

“I am so honoured, thankful and humbled to be presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and I accept it with great pleasure,” said Kilgallin. “This presentation takes me back some 51 years when I was employed by the town of Amherstburg to serve in an administrative capacity, more readily known as a civil servant to the community. I recall so vividly serving under three mayors – Murray Smith, Garnet Fox and Bill Gibb – as well as numerous councillors during my 36-year career. Those gentlemen and ladies through the years encouraged civil servants to give back to the community by way of volunteer service. I picked up on that early in my career and I am so grateful that I did as I enjoyed every minute of it.”

Amongst the volunteer work Kilgallin performed over the years included joining the Amherstburg, Anderdon and Malden Volunteer Ambulance Squad in the early 1960’s. He estimated there were “30 or 40 other volunteer members, all residents of the tri-community,” and recalled working along with such founding members as Phil Smith, Wilson “Pepper” Brush, Jack Hamilton, Doug Goodwin, Don Snider and Harry Spearing.

 

Tom Kilgallin (middle) with his wife Sharon accepts the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal from Mayor Wayne Hurst in a special council meeting on Thursday afternoon.

“Also, I enjoyed managing and coaching teenagers back in the local minor baseball and hockey programs. To see these young men now in their 40’s and 50’s living and playing a significant role in our community gives me great pleasure,” said Kilgallin.

Serving four years as president of the Wessex Unit of the Canadian Cancer Society “and working alongside countless dedicated volunteers” was also referenced by Kilgallin.

“Two names in particular come to mind – our voluntary secretary Roberta Fox and our regional and local society director Mary Hall,” he said.

Hall’s son Terry, a recent recipient of a Diamond Jubilee Medal himself, was also in attendance.

Kilgallin also served 36 years with the Amherstburg Fire Department and retired as a captain.

“What a privilege it was for me to serve the residents of Amherstburg and work shoulder-to-shoulder with numerous other volunteer firefighters,” he said. “I do remember so many who served with distinction that have since passed away. It was an unbelievable honour to serve with these gentlemen.”

Kilgallin pointed out there were several former council members and administrators in attendance.

“We had a great team back then,” he said. “My successes were because of you people. I sincerely mean that.”

Kilgallin also paid tribute to his family, including sons Tom and Mike and daughter Michelle as well as wife Sharon “whom I love to the extent that words cannot describe. She has been my soul mate for over 47 years.”

Father Ted Gatfield was also in attendance with Kilgallin noting he served in Gatfield’s   first Mass as a priest roughly 57 years ago. Kilgallin also remembered his parents – Tom and Gert Kilgallin – and believed they would be “proud and pleased” to see him bestowed with such an honour.

Kilgallin’s father served on Amherstburg council in the 1940’s.

Allowed to sit in the mayor’s seat while addressing the audience, Kilgallin became emotional at points while accepting his award.

“I almost wish that I could cut this beautiful medal into little pieces and share it with hundreds of volunteers both living and deceased that I have served with over the years,” he said. “They are most deserving to share in this honour and they will always be in my heart and mind.”

Kilgallin was of the understanding there were “a number of people” responsible for submitting his name but said he only knew the identity of one – Councillor Diane Pouget.

“You and others have made me very proud to have served this community that I so dearly love,” Kilgallin told Pouget.

The medal was presented by Mayor Wayne Hurst, who referred to Kilgallin as “one of Amherstburg’s finest and most respectable gentlemen.”

Hurst also pointed out Kilgallin is a life member of the Ontario Parks Association “with over 30-plus years of volunteerism.” The mayor noted Kilgallin’s involvement with several conferences including a parks conference jointly held in Amherstburg and Windsor which had been dubbed “the A & W Connection.”

Kilgallin also volunteered with the Goodfellows for 40 years, been a volunteer driver for Meals-on-Wheels and a past member of the Amherstburg Lions Club.

“Everyone knows the contributions Tom has made for our community,” Hurst added.

 

5 responses to “Kilgallin awarded Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal”

  1. Greg Wigle says:

    Hi Tom I was encouraged to read of your award it was very deserving. keep Well Greg Wigle

  2. Ron Sooley says:

    Hi Tom:
    I just happened to be reading the River Town Times and what an honour for you to receive this medal.Obviously from what I have read you deserve this recognition for all that you have contributed to the community over many many years and it’s folks like you that make the difference.
    It was great visting with you and Sharon and Bill and Chris in Campbell River about 20 years ago and I still have the picture of the salmon that you caught and how you managed to make it look larger than what it was by pushing it closer to the camera lens when Ann took your picture.
    Again congratulations on your award and have a great Christmas and all the best for the New Year.Say hello to Sharon for us.
    Ann and Ron

  3. Terry Quinn says:

    Congratulations Tom!!!!!

  4. Terry Quinn says:

    Congratulations Tom.

  5. Dick and Joan Bauser says:

    Congrats to you,Tom. Well deserved for your service and loyalty to Amherstburg and the tri-community.