(left to right) Maggie Parkinson, Courtney Neilson, Andrew Lockie, and Vera Lawler. November 23, 2018. (Photo by Colin Gowdy, BlackburnNews)

YMCA honours 2018 peace medallion winners

The Sarnia-Lambton YMCA honoured its 2018 southwestern Ontario peace medallion winners Friday afternoon.

Grade 12 student Maggie Parkinson, volunteer Vera Lawler, and Courtney Neilson, representing the Lambton College Enactus Group, received medals in a ceremony at the YMCA Learning & Career Centre on Oakdale Avenue.

YMCA of Western Ontario CEO Andrew Lockie said the recipients do an amazing job fostering peace across the community.

“We think this is a wonderful was for us to demonstrate our admiration for other individuals and groups, and we consider it our role to build a healthy society,” said Lockie. “None of these people are in it for the recognition, but they need to be recognized because we need our community to know just how important that work is. For the YMCA to play this role that way, is something we’re very, very proud of.”

Vera Lawler is a volunteer on several church, local and international committees for peace, justice, poverty reduction, and family support programs.

The Lambton College Enactus Group leads local and international programs that address social, economic and environmental issues.

Maggie Parkinson, the recipient in the youth category, is a Grade 12 student advocate from Great Lakes Secondary who leads local and international fundraisers.

Parkinson is apart of a group called Interact, a high school version of Rotary which supports many different organizations around Sarnia-Lambton.

Parkinson said her teachers encouraged her to get involved around the community.

“Mainly it was just from school and teachers presenting me with opportunities, and then when I was doing it, I felt really happy to help out. From there, I just kept going and more opportunities kept coming my way.”

Parkinson has also been to Haiti with a group called Rayjon to assist with community and relationship building.

Parkinson has applied to Health Sciences at Western for next fall. She said after that, that plan is to attend medical school to become a pediatrician.

The medallions have been handed out since 1987, in conjunction with YMCA World Peace Week.