Sask Volunteer Medal presented to Suzanne Eisler

April 22, 2024, 10:47 am
Kevin Weedmark

Wawota’s Suzanne Eisler was presented with the Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal at Government House Tuesday. She was presented with the medal by Lieutenant Governor Russ Mirasty.

Wawota’s Suzanne Eisler, who started the Little Dresses group that makes clothing for children in developing countries, was honored with the Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal at Government House Tuesday.

The following was read out about her as she was presented with her medal:

“Suzanne Eisler, a lifelong farmer in Wawota, has passionately served her community. In 2014 she established Wawota’s Little Dresses for Africa, crafting over 13,000 garments for children in developing regions in Africa, South America, the Caribbean, and Mexico.

“During the pandemic they pivoted to producing masks, headbands, scrub hats and bags for Saskatchewan’s healthcare workers.

“Suzanne’s dedication to volunteerism spans locally and globally, making a significant impact on those in need.”

‘Celebration of people who have chosen to to be positive, productive, and collaborative’
Lieutenant-Governor Russ Mirasty paid tribute to all of the volunteers honored that day.

“Today’s event is a celebration of people who have chosen to be positive, productive and collaborative,” he said. “You, the recipients, are kind and caring for those around you, for your community, and really by extension, our province.

“Many volunteers are uncomfortable receiving public recognition, but it is important to acknowledge those citizens whose hard work and dedication benefits our communities, both to thank them and to inspire others to become actively involved.

“Today’s medal recipients donate their time and talents in a wide range of various ways. Each one has worn many different volunteer hats as a board member, fundraiser, coach, mechanic, crafts person and organizer and the list goes on. These recipients have contributed to diverse fields but they share a common interest in, quite simply, lending a hand wherever it is needed.

“They are not afraid of getting their hands dirty. These honorees have been involved in projects and take on whatever challenges and responsibility comes with tremendous leadership.

“I’ve always believed that everyone can contribute to create the communities we want to live in through our efforts and these honorees have proved that each of us has the power to make a positive change and that together we can accomplish great things.

“I congratulate the recipients on this well deserved honor. Thank you for what each of you have done and will continue to do for your community and your province. Thank you for your exceptional example of service.”

‘Long history of volunteerism’
Premier Scott Moe also paid tribute to the medal recipients.

“Saskatchewan residents have a long history of volunteerism and dedication to serving others and I would say that is unmatched across the nation,” he said.

“Currently our province has over 300,000 active volunteers. From volunteering, to coaching a child’s sports team, to chairing a large non-profit—all volunteers are vital to their own community, whether that be a community by geography or community by the sector that they are volunteering in.

“Every person decides to take time away from themselves or their family to volunteer, no matter how big or how small that commitment may be, and they’re making a positive change. They’re an inspiration to so many others.

“Volunteerism is also a huge part of our province’s collective history. Our province is well known for a community-minded approach, for looking after our neighbors and looking after those who may be facing challenges, not just here at home but abroad. The thousands of hours that volunteers devote to Saskatchewan citizens and causes, certainly doesn’t go unnoticed, and this is why we’re all here today to recognize and to celebrate 10 outstanding volunteers.

“As I look at today’s recipients, I feel great pride for everyone—for all of the people across the province. You’ve dedicated so much of yourselves over the years for the betterment of your particular organization, your particular community—the organization or community that you have touched—and touched so dearly.

“You are our honored guests here today and you are numbered among 261 recipients of the Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal ever. You have given decades, and some over 60 years, of volunteering in service of your community and your organizations that you’re passionate about.

“Your collective work is a shining example of our provincial motto which is ‘From Many Peoples Strength.’ You’ve inspired countless other individuals to also take up the mantle of your volunteering effort and the influence that you provide, I would say won’t be forgotten for so many years to come. Never underestimate the inspiration that you bring when you step forward to volunteer in your community.

“It brings others to that same table whether it be by recognizing and supporting the Canadian Armed Forces both past and present, whether it be by making personal protective equipment for healthcare workers during the Covid pandemic, whether it be by raising funds for the Ronald McDonald House, promoting the province’s arts and sports, educating the youth about the province’s agricultural history, helping Ukrainian refugees settle here in Saskatchewan, or supporting mental health initiatives that we are so very, very thankful for.”

The premier spoke of the humility volunteers demonstrate.

“Another admirable quality shared by volunteers like you, and we see this year-in and year-out, is your humility—one is your inspiration to us, two is your humility.

“No one volunteers for recognition like we’re seeing today. You’re willing to show up and serve without expectation—to show up and serve without the expectation of recognition or accolades and to actively put others in your community first. Through your volunteerism, you have made long lasting impacts on so many people across Saskatchewan, and today I’d like to take the time to say thank you. To say thank you for everything that you’ve done, on behalf of the people of Saskatchewan.

“This honour is so very well deserved. Every day, in each of our lives, is busy and we know that. We have competing responsibilities pulling us in so many directions and it’s hard for us to take time for ourselves, let alone, like these 10 individuals, step forward and find some time to donate back to our community and organizations through rain, sunshine or snow.”

“On good days or bad days you get up and put smiles on the faces of the people that you serve day in, day out. Though you do not work for this recognition, know that this recognition that you’re receiving today is so very well deserved.

“Volunteers help our communities grow and thrive and I would say to volunteers that made our communities, built our communities from the ground up in Saskatchewan, the volunteers that show up in times of prosperity and that show up in times of challenge, that I and the people of Saskatchewan are so very grateful for what you do. It’s important to take time to recognize you today for all of your hard work and endless commitment. You are role models for so many others and you inspire so many others to follow in your footsteps. Decades of hard work have gone into your collective volunteering efforts and I’m confident that they will remain a wonderful legacy for the organizations and communities that you have blessed your time and your efforts with. Thank you for your dedication towards your community. Thank you for your dedication towards our province and our nation. On behalf of the Province of Saskatchewan, I extend my sincere appreciation to each of you. Thank you.”

‘Time and care’
“The time and care these volunteers have given to causes ranging from youth, veterans’ and women’s issues to arts and culture, does not go unnoticed,” Mirasty said following the ceremony. “I am honoured to have been able to meet these recipients and to recognize their exceptional contributions.”

In addition to Eisler, the other recipients of the 2023 Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal are:
• Jyotsna (Jo) Custead
• Major Brad Hrycyna, C.D.
• Jim Meikle
• Douglas Osborn
• Jeanette Tonita
• Pat Tymchatyn
• Hazel Urbanoski
• Dr. Judy White
• Helga Wold

Since its establishment in 1995, the Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal has been awarded to extraordinary citizens across the province for their outstanding contributions to Saskatchewan. Tuesday’s recipients join the ranks of 261 exemplary volunteers recognized in previous years.

Nominations are now open for the 2024 Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal.

Individuals and organizations are encouraged to nominate current or former long-term residents of Saskatchewan who go above and beyond for their community through acts of volunteerism.

Nominations are open until October 31, 2024.