I am going to receive a medal. Word came via a phone call from the Governor General’s office about mid-July. For readers not familiar with Canadian history and culture, Queen Elizabeth is Queen of Canada, and as she does not reside in Canada, a Governor General is appointed to fill in for her. The post is somewhat symbolic, but it is a functioning part of our government.
The kind lady from the Governor General’s office informed me that my name had been put forward for the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Governor General had agreed. I was to keep the news to myself until I received formal notice in writing via mail within a few weeks. To say that I was overwhelmed would be to put it mildly. I had to do a search to see what the medal really meant and found that the Meritorious Service Medal, civilian division, was an award the Governor General, in right of the Queen, could confer on a person who had done something extraordinary to affect the lives of those around him or her in a positive way. I had been recommended for the medal for starting the Okanagan Military Tattoo. The short story is that I took an idea I had for a Military Tattoo to some like-minded friends, and they found some friends, and we got started talking in 2012. By2014 we had enough support and funding to put on our first event, and we are now into the planning of our sixth annual event.
The more I thought about the upcoming award, the more I started to feel bad. I was getting the medal, and all the people working with me to make the event the success that it has become were not getting anything! The more I thought about it, the worse I felt. I sought out the advice of a friend of mine who happens to be the commanding officer of our local primary reserve militia. He is a veteran of Afghanistan and spent his time there flying a British Army Air Corps attack helicopter. He did a lot of other stuff, as well, in a very busy military career. When I told him about my medal and my quandary, he went and brought out his medal board. “This one here, “he said, “you get for just showing up. This one you get for doing something out of the ordinary.” He then quoted Winston Churchill: “Every medal presented casts a shadow!” We talked about that for a long while, and I felt a lot better for our time together.
But, I am still thinking, all those people in my shadow really deserve my thanks. At the time of this writing, I am just six days away from standing in front of Her Excellency, the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General and Commander in Chief, Canada, and having her pinning a medal on me. I will wonder if she thinks of the people that were behind her, such as the first Canadian female astronaut. I know I will be thinking about all those who have been part of me being able to receive this distinguished award.
And how does this all fit in with the USGTF and teaching golf? Everything is connected! On one of my phone calls in 2013 to your president, the Old Funseeker himself, Geoff Bryant, he asked me what I was up to. I explained about the Okanagan Military Tattoo and that we were having great success inputting the program together, but were having troublefinding funding. He promptly sent me a cheque, and with that first bit of money in the bank, we started making the rounds of other sponsors and partners. No one wanted to be first! So, Geoff and the USGT Fare in my shadow and I will always be grateful. The event now has 600 performers, and our annual turnover is in the $200,000 range. The USGTF is still on our sponsor/partner/supporter page.
Are you known as the best golf instructor of your area? Of your state/province? Top 100 in the country? Who helped you get to where you are?
Who is in your shadow?