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    The Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers (SMV) is given to individuals who have made an incredible impact on their community. Kyle Taylor and Deborah Auchinleck (left and second from left) received this medal on July 26 for their decades of volunteer service with the Petawawa Goju Karate Club. 4th Canadian Division Support Group (4 CDSG) Commander, Colonel (Col) John Vass (second from right), accompanied by 4 CDSG Formation Sergeant Major (FSM), Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) Jack Durnford (right), presented the award to them. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

    Four people stand in front of Canada Flag wearing dress uniforms or formal wear and masks
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    Submitted photo

    Close up of front and back of medal



Exemplary community contributions recognized with highest honour for volunteer service

By Patricia Leboeuf

Posted on Thursday July 29, 2021

With about 60 years of volunteer time between them, Kyle Taylor and Deborah Auchinleck were awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers (SMV) for their dedication to the Petawawa Goju Karate Club.

The SMV is a national award that recognizes the volunteer achievements of Canadians from across the country in a wide range of fields. It is the highest honour for volunteer service that an individual can receive within the Canadian Honours System.

Receiving this award touched them both deeply.

“It is nice because people can see behind the scenes and the volunteers that keep the place running,” said retired Garrison Petawawa Deputy Commander Major Taylor. “Without volunteers, a lot of the programs in the area wouldn’t be run. There are a lot of selfless people on the base.”

This prestigious medal is usually presented at Rideau Hall in Ottawa but was given to them at Garrison Petawawa on July 26 by 4th Canadian Division Support Group (4 CDSG) Commander, Colonel (Col) John Vass accompanied by 4 CDSG Formation Sergeant Major (FSM), Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) Jack Durnford.

“This is really a significant honour for both of us to present this on behalf of the government,” said Col Vass. “We did some research on what this award is and it is hugely significant.”

The Karate Club has been a fixture with Petawawa Personnel Support Programs (PSP) for decades, mostly due to the tireless efforts of Taylor, seventh-degree black belt, and Auchinleck, fifth-degree black belt. They made it their mission to foster their students’ self-awareness and self-confidence through the martial art.

Their guidance has also enabled a social opportunity and a sense of belonging for many disadvantaged children and adults who cannot take part in other sports for personal reasons.

And even while Taylor was deployed to Bosnia, he continued the club overseas.

“With the tours, we supported a lot of the families,” said Auchinleck. “With the kids, this was their continuity.”

On many occasions, they took on a parental role with their younger students. Many have stayed in contact with them even after they moved elsewhere or became adults.

“We wanted them to have some sense of belonging with this club,” said Taylor.

Passion, dedication and commitment were all words to describe the couple’s drive when it comes to running the Karate Club.

“That speaks to the type of people, you Deborah and you Kyle, are,” said CWO Durnford.

Taylor has been volunteering in the military and civilian community through martial arts for close to 35 years in various positions.

He is best known for his role as President and Chief Instructor of the Karate Club.

Auchinleck has been volunteering in the military and civilian community through martial arts for 25 years in various positions with the Karate Club, first as an executive member and then also as an instructor upon attaining her Black Belt certification.

Both dedicate over 12 hours a week to the club.

“They are a self-contained unit that ensures a good quality karate program in our area and others,” said Manager Community Recreation, Karen Donovan.

About the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers: The Medal for Volunteers consists of a silver circular medal that is 36 mm in diameter with a suspension ring. The obverse depicts a contemporary effigy of the Sovereign, circumscribed with the inscription in capital letters of the Canadian Royal Title and the word “CANADA”, separated by two maple leaves.

The reverse indicates the ideas of caring and generosity, represented by two interlaced hearts. The sunburst pattern of the rim symbolizes the time that volunteers are giving and their actions. The ribbon uses the viceregal colours of blue and gold. The five gold stripes evoke the fingers of a hand, present in the Caring Canadian Award emblem, while the deep red colour is associated with royalty.

The design of medal was created by the Canadian Heraldic Authority, based on a concept by Darcy DeMarsico of the Chancellery of Honours. The medal is manufactured by the Royal Canadian Mint at its Ottawa facility.