Kewachuk to re­ceive Sov­er­eign’s Medal from gover­nor gen­eral

For her work with Thinkers Lodge in Pugwash

The Citizen-Record (Cumberland) - - NEWS - BY DAR­RELL COLE dar­rell.cole@tc.tc Twit­ter: @ADN­dar­rell

Teresa Kewachuk can feel the his­tory ev­ery time she walks into Thinkers Lodge in Pugwash.

The Pugwash so­cial stud­ies teacher has vol­un­teered for sev­eral years at the na­tional his­toric site on the vil­lage’s water­front and her ef­forts have not gone un­rec­og­nized. She was no­ti­fied re­cently that she will re­ceive the Sov­er­eign’s Medal from Gov. Gen. David John­ston at a cer­e­mony, prob­a­bly in 2017 which co­in­cides with the 60th an­niver­sary of the first Pugwash Con­fer­ence in July 1957.

“It’s re­ally hum­bling be­cause there are so many vol­un­teers out there do­ing won­der­ful things for their com­mu­ni­ties,” Kewachuk said. “There are a lot of peo­ple con­tribut­ing hours and hours of their time.”

The Sov­er­eign Medal for Vol­un­teers rec­og­nized ex­cep­tion vol­un­teer achieve­ments for Cana­di­ans. It re­places the Gover­nor Gen­eral’s Caring Cana­dian Award.

Upon mov­ing back to Pugwash in 2012, Kewachuk vis­ited Thinkers Lodge with her high school so­cial stud­ies stu­dents. She said she walked in like a tourist and was amazed at what she ex­pe­ri­enced.

“When all that his­tory is con­cen­trated you are re­ally wowed by it,” she said, adding it’s won­der­ful to see peo­ple’s re­ac­tions when tour­ing the build­ing. “I started to vol­un­teer and was so im­pressed with the peo­ple who al­ready vol­un­teer, peo­ple like the Ea­ton fam­ily. I started vol­un­teer­ing more and more and started bring­ing my classes down to the lodge so they could see the role it played dur­ing the Cold War.”

Kewachuk said Thinkers Lodge and that of the Pugwash Con­fer­ences is some­times ap­pre­ci­ated more by peo­ple from out­side Nova Sco­tia. She said tourists have come from Europe or fur­ther just to see the lodge and some are moved to tears at see­ing the No­bel Peace Prize won by Dr. Joseph Rot­blat in 1995.

She met Rot­blat as a young per­son and was awed by his mis­sion to pro­mote peace in the world.

Cyrus Ea­ton’s grand­son, John, said Kewachuk has be­come the heart and soul of Thinkers Lodge. She serves both as the on­site man­ager of the birth­place of the ef­fort to rid the world of nu­clear weapons and as the di­rec­tor of vol­un­teer and in­tern ser­vices at the fa­cil­ity.

“In these ca­pac­i­ties she is di­rectly re­spon­si­ble for en­sur­ing the preser­va­tion of the his­toric site and for de­vel­op­ing and man­ag­ing pro­grams and events that both hon­our the legacy of Thinkers Lodge and pro­vide lo­cal com­mu­nity ser­vices, en­gage­ment and ed­u­ca­tion,” Ea­ton said.

Ea­ton said Kewachuk has used her teach­ing skills to ed­u­cate, train and men­tor three stu­dent in­terns each sum­mer and one of her great­est ac­com­plish­ments has been to help these young peo­ple grow while learn­ing about in­ter­na­tional and lo­cal his­tory and to ac­quire com­mu­ni­ca­tion and prob­lem­solv­ing skills as they learn to work as a team.

She has also or­ga­nized dances, lob­ster chow­der feeds and mu­sic events and has put to­gether a team of lo­cal vol­un­teers who stand ready to man­age and host var­i­ous events and spe­cial projects – such as a spe­cial abil­i­ties ramp to the Lob­ster Fac­tory and another to build benches for its deck.

“She has been the inspiration for the com­mu­nity to build a sense of pride and ac­com­plish­ment around their own con­tri­bu­tions to the suc­cess of Thinkers Lodge as both a trea­sured land­mark and a com­mu­nity re­source,” he said.

Ea­ton said Kewachuk has also con­tin­ued the legacy of con­fer­ences and re­treats ded­i­cated to solv­ing the thorny in­ter­na­tional prob­lems of our time. She has been in­stru­men­tal in build­ing the Nova Sco­tia Voice of Women pro­gram called the Peace­makeHers Camp – aimed at young women who have the op­por­tu­nity to study and think about is­sues of peace from a women’s per­spec­tive.

“One of the lessons of Thinkers Lodge and the his­toric con­fer­ence of 1957 is that big things can hap­pen in small places and that one per­son can make a dif­fer­ence,” Ea­ton said. “Theresa is mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in her com­mu­nity, in Nova Sco­tia ed­u­ca­tion and the world peace move­ment. Most im­por­tantly, she is mod­el­ling how to make a dif­fer­ence and in­spir­ing stu­dents and vis­i­tors alike to be­come ac­tive, en­gaged cit­i­zens who freely give of their own time to make the work a bet­ter place.”

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