Six community leaders honoured with Diamond Jubilee Medals


By Joel Charron

In celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee, six community leaders were honoured with Diamond Jubilee medals, Thursday night at the Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157.

“These recipients have made extraordinary contributions to making our community and province a better place to live,” said Essex MPP Taras Natyashak.  “We are proud of them, their accomplishments and their drive to make a difference. They are truly a reflection of her majesty’s legacy.”

Over 2,000 Diamond Jubilee Medals will be given away in Ontario before he year is done.

Three of the recipients hail from Amherstburg, while two are from LaSalle and the other from McGregor.

LaSalle resident Douglas Hedges has served as Deputy Commander Royal Canadian Legion and president of the Veterans Memorial Committee youth educator, cenotaph & veterans grave committee, Veterans Memory and Appreciation Day and Easter Seals public relations officer. He is also a Service Officer and a member of the Legion Week Remembrance Committee.

Chaplain Stan Fraser, a resident of LaSalle has served as the cenotaph Chaplain, veteran’s funeral Chaplain, police and fire department Chaplain. He also served as brand and zone Chaplain passing torch and is on the cenotaph committee.

“The veterans are the men and women who wrote a blank cheque to Canada saying I will go and fight for peace and if I have to you may cash that cheque for my life,” said Fraser. “I’m proud of being part of the veterans organization, I’m proud that I can be there for those men and women.”

LaSalle Mayor Ken Antaya said Hedge and Fraser have been “staples in the community for a long time.”

“We are very proud you both are from our community,” said Antaya. “This is a fine example of what represents LaSalle.”

When McGregor resident Carol Fregoe was notified she was being award the Diamond Jubilee she

Front Row: (L to R) John White, Doug Ramsay and Fred (Fritz) Renaud Back Row: (L to R) Chaplain Stan Fraser, Carol Fregoe and Douglas Hedge

said she felt overwhelmed.

“I didn’t really know what to say,” said Fregoe. “I’m very, very honoured. It’s a real pleasure to have this presented to me. I guess all my hard work paid off.”

Fregoe served as Secretary District Zone for the Royal Canadian Legion, youth educator, past president, poppy chairman, hospital chairman, Easter Seals Service Officer and past officer for the colour party.

World War II veteran Douglas Ramsay was the first of three Amherstburg veterans to be presented with the Diamond Jubilee Medal.

“This is quite a thing, stuff like that is hard to put into words,” said Ramsay.

Ramsay served with the Essex Scottish Regiment from Sept 5, 1939- June 27, 1945 serving in Canada, England and France. Ramsay has been an active Legion member since 1951 with Br. 157, he also celebrated his 90th birthday on March 15.

World War II veteran Fred (Fritz) Renaud served with the R.C.A.S.E. from Aug. 18, 1942-March 22, 1946, serving in the United Kingdom and Europe. Renaud has been an active Legion member since 1950 with Br. 157 and also celebrated his 90th this year.

“I think this is wonderful,” said Renaud. “This came out of nowhere. I can’t say I deserve it but I’m very appreciative to getting this medal.”

Renaud said when he was notified that he would be receiving the Diamond Jubilee Medal, he postponed telling people until he knew the other two vets were receiving the medal as well.

John White, a World War II veteran served with the 23rd Canadian Medical Artillery Unit from June 21, 1940- November 15, 1945 serving in Northwest Europe. White had been an active legion member since 1955 and he too will be celebrating his 90th birthday on Sept. 13.

“It’s a honour to be here with my buddies, we all feel the same about receiving this medal,” said White. “Canada and Ontario is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. I’m happy we were able to do something to make it the way it is today.”

Amherstburg Mayor Wayne Hurst encouraged residents to make to time to recognize the services that Ramsay, Reanud and White have performed for Canada and the community.

“These three individuals are remarkable people,” said Hurst. “Sometimes you have to sit back and reflect what they did when they answered the call of duty. We as Canadians have to recognize these individuals because it’s those individuals that have provided us an opportunity to live with the freedom that we are all entitled to.”

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