Two members of neighboring Christian Reformed Churches in Hamilton, Ontario, are the recipients of Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medals, awarded to residents who have made exceptional contributions to their province and country.
Maria Bahos and her family after receiving her Diamond Jubilee award.
Michael Van Pelt, member of First CRC in Hamilton, received his medal for his ongoing efforts as president of Cardus, an organization that is dedicated to the renewal of North American social architecture.
Although he expressed that he really didn’t feel that remarkable amongst the other people receiving the award that day, Van Pelt said that it is affirmation for him that the public square is an important place to work, and that it’s an honor to be recognized for playing a minute role within that.
“Our queen has demonstrated this point through her role in the public square—she has tackled it with dignity. I’ve tried in small ways to imitate this.”
Van Pelt was accompanied to the award ceremony by family, including his parents, which was very meaningful for him.
“Every day, my Mom would say ‘Michael, don’t forget to serve the Lord today!’ and I’ve taken that daily admonition seriously, and in so doing have tried to serve others.”
Maria Bahos is a recent immigrant from Colombia and began attending Immanuel CRC in Hamilton through an ESL program offered there. Bahos received her Diamond Jubilee medal because of her outstanding volunteerism in the community, but she never dreamed she would be recognized for what she has done.
“I was so surprised! In fact, I called them back after they left a message and told them there must be a mistake,” she explained adding that she does not feel deserving of a medal.
For Bahos, who volunteers weekly for more than half a dozen different organizations, her efforts are just a simple way of giving back to the country that brought her freedom.
“I love helping others,” she said. “When you enjoy doing something, people notice it, and I guess that’s how this happened!”
The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medals commemorate the queen’s 60th anniversary on the throne.