Sports

Special Olympics builder honoured with Queen’s Jubilee Medal

Harvey Hunter (left) received his Queen’s Jubilee Medal from Vancouver Island North MP John Duncan Saturday night. - Alistair Taylor/The Mirror
Harvey Hunter (left) received his Queen’s Jubilee Medal from Vancouver Island North MP John Duncan Saturday night.
— image credit: Alistair Taylor/The Mirror

“No more secrets Harv,” Maureen Brinson promised her husband Harvey Hunter after he was presented with a Queen’s Jubilee Medal on Saturday night for his contribution to Special Olympics in Campbell River and Canada.

Brinson kept the presentation secret from Hunter until it was announced at a send-off party for Hazen Meade who will be attending the Special Olympics Winter Games in Seoul, South Korea later this month.

Vancouver Island North MP and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs John Duncan presented the medal to Hunter at the Willow Point Hall Saturday.

“I am delighted to be here,” Duncan said. “This is a very special award. Harvey obviously is a really worthy recipient.”

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal was created to celebrate Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s accession to the Throne 60 years ago. This commemorative medal is a tangible and lasting way to pay tribute to 60,000 Canadians who have benefitted their fellow citizens, their community, their organization and the country. It provides an opportunity to look back and recognize those who made Canada what it is today, and to look forward and recognize people who are actively involved in our country’s future.

Hunter came to Campbell River in 1978 and quickly established himself in the community. In 1987, he became active in Special Olympics.

In 1989, he got involved in snowshoeing because he was “one of two people who owned a pair of snowshoes,” said George Maclagan, a Special Olympics volunteer and MC of Saturday’s Meade send-off and Hunter award presentation.

From that point on, Hunter pushed to have snowshoeing as an official Special Olympics sport and in 1997, it became a demonstration sport. Sixteen years later, in 2013, athletes from 58 countries will compete in snowshoeing in Seoul.

Hunter and Brinson were both inducted into the B.C. Special Olympics Hall of Fame in 2008.

Obviously, Hunter did not have a speech prepared for Saturday’s Jubilee Medal presentation.

“This is quite a surprise,” he told the gathering but he did pay tribute to  Meade’s accomplishment in qualifying for the world games in snowshoeing.

“It is totally a good feeling to see Hazen go to Seoul. Now we have an athlete from Campbell River going to kick ass.”

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