Arts pa­tron hon­oured with Or­der of Canada vows to ‘keep go­ing’

Saskatoon StarPhoenix - - CITY+REGION - ASH­LEY MARTIN

REGINA Fit­ting for a long­time pa­tron of the arts, Jac­qui Shu­mi­atcher’s Or­der of Canada award came with a mu­si­cal in­tro­duc­tion.

“It is called In the Pink, and Jac­qui, you’re wear­ing pink to­day, so that’s good, we lined up,” pi­anist David McIn­tyre said Thurs­day, in­tro­duc­ing a song he orig­i­nally com­posed a decade ago, for Shu­mi­atcher’s 85th birth­day.

Shu­mi­atcher was all smiles dur­ing the awards cer­e­mony at Regina’s Conexus Arts Cen­tre, which was set up in the theatre lobby, not in the base­ment event space that bears her name.

“I was re­ally shocked when they told me that I was get­ting this, be­cause I never thought about that at all, be­cause that’s not me,” said Shu­mi­atcher, 94. “It’s a won­der­ful feel­ing … And that’s not go­ing to be the end for me. I’m go­ing to keep go­ing, be­cause 94 isn’t very old.”

Shu­mi­atcher was com­mended for her “leg­endary” phil­an­thropic work. For decades, she has helped de­velop and fi­nan­cially sup­port cul­tural, artis­tic and so­cial or­ga­ni­za­tions. Un­til 2004, that work was along­side her hus­band, Mor­ris “Shumi” Shu­mi­atcher.

“I thought the art peo­ple es­pe­cially were never rec­og­nized,” said Jac­qui Shu­mi­atcher. “So I just al­ways wanted to rec­og­nize them and I ap­pre­ci­ate what they do ... I al­ways say that the peo­ple there are the ones that feed me and make me what I am … so I owe them a lot.”

Shu­mi­atcher wasn’t Thurs­day’s only hon­oree. Lt.-Gov. Vaughn Solomon Schofield pre­sented two men with a Mer­i­to­ri­ous Ser­vice Dec­o­ra­tion (Civil Divi­sion) and 44 other men and women with a Sovereign’s Medal for Vol­un­teers in sep­a­rate cer­e­monies — 22 in the morn­ing, and 22 in the af­ter­noon.

From White Fox to El­rose to Melville and places in be­tween, 47 Saskatchewan peo­ple were com­mended for their vol­un­teerism, which ranges from fundrais­ing for char­i­ties, to help­ing low-in­come stu­dents suc­ceed.

Re­tired Brig.-Gen. Cliff Walker was one. The Regina man was awarded for co-found­ing the Bold Ea­gle Pro­gram, a mil­i­tary train­ing pro­gram that has grad­u­ated more than 1,700 Indige­nous youth.

He also helped re­search 10,000 names for the Saskatchewan War Me­mo­rial. “My dad (Harry) was my in­spi­ra­tion to do things,” said Walker. “He was the mayor of Regina and the pres­i­dent of the Saskatchewan Teach­ers’ Fed­er­a­tion, and he al­ways said it was im­por­tant to give back to the city and to the prov­ince.”

Walker said re­ceiv­ing the award was hum­bling. “This medal could have gone to one of hun­dreds of peo­ple in Saskatchewan who’ve spent count­less hours and weeks and week­ends bet­ter­ing their com­mu­ni­ties, their prov­ince and this coun­try,” he said.

Re­tired RCMP as­sis­tant com­mis­sioner Russ Mi­rasty was an­other hon­oree. A La Ronge res­i­dent and 36-year RCMP mem­ber, he re­ceived the Mer­i­to­ri­ous Ser­vice Dec­o­ra­tion for his work in eval­u­at­ing the pro­vin­cial ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem.

“Re­ally it’s based on a recog­ni­tion that there’s tremen­dous strength within our com­mu­ni­ties that’s un­tapped,” he said. “I’m a firm be­liever that we as in­di­vid­u­als have to con­trib­ute. We can’t leave it to oth­ers to cre­ate that change that we want, es­pe­cially in our own com­mu­ni­ties.”

Heather Sal­loum, pri­vate sec­re­tary to the lieu­tenant-gover­nor, was the first per­son hon­oured Thurs­day. After re­ceiv­ing her Sovereign’s Medal for Vol­un­teers, for more than 40 years of vol­un­teer work, she an­nounced the af­ter­noon’s other hon­orees.

The Or­der of Canada is one of the coun­try’s high­est civil­ian hon­ours.

TROY FLEECE

Lt.-Gov. Vaughn Solomon Schofield, left, presents Jac­qui Shu­mi­atcher, 94, with the Or­der of Canada for her phil­an­thropic work. Forty-seven peo­ple from the prov­ince were hon­oured for their vol­un­teerism.

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