A Sylvan Lake man was one of 29 Albertans to receive Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medals recognizing their service to fellow Canadians at an awards ceremony in Calgary on Monday.
Recipient retired Cpl. Larry Neis of the Canadian Forces served overseas as a peacekeeper in Egypt and advocates on behalf of fellow veterans as a volunteer member of the West Central Alberta Chapter of the Canadian Peacekeeping Veterans Association.
He is also a national director with the National Association of Federal Retirees representing people retired from the public service, the Canadian Forces, the RCMP and Crown corporations.
Diamond Jubilee medals will be presented by Alberta’s Lt.-Gov. Donald Ethell at ceremonies across the province throughout 2012-13.
The medals will be awarded to 60,000 Canadians to mark the Diamond Jubilee year and acknowledge Canadians for their dedication and duty to others as Queen Elizabeth II has demonstrated throughout her reign.
Recipients on Monday included artists, health-care professionals, innovators, business and community leaders. Medals were awarded to veterans on behalf of the Canadian Peacekeeping Veterans Association and the Canadian Association of Veterans in United Nations Peacekeeping.
Neis said he was very honoured and humbled.
“I can remember when the Queen’s father died, and her coronation back when I was living in Delburne. Before I left home to join the military, I was a cadet and we did a parade to the Cenotaph on the day of the King’s funeral,” Neis, 74, said on Tuesday.
At 16, Neis joined the military as a soldier apprentice and trained as a radio operator. At 19, he served 10 months with the United Nations Emergency Force during the Suez Crisis in 1956.
“It was quite an adventure for a young person.”
Neis was in the military until 1961 before working for Transport Canada for 31 years. He retired in 1993.
He said the organization he volunteers for helps advise and guide retirees to information they require.
“You can just hear it in their voice that they do appreciate you’re there to help them,” Neis said.