It was an honour bestowed on 20 Cowichan Valley area residents, and Lake Cowichan’s Sam Beldessi was one of them.
On Dec. 17, Beldessi received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal from MP Jean Crowder and MLA Bill Routley at an awards presentation ceremony in Duncan. Both Crowder and Routley had difficult decisions to make when it came to choosing the names for their constituencies.
“Our selection committee had the challenge of narrowing down the long list of potential nominees,” Routley said in a letter to the media. “The chosen recipients have all contributed so much to our Cowichan Valley in very many special ways.”
Beldessi was recognized by the Town of Lake Cowichan for his work and dedication in planning, fundraising and overseeing the building of the affordable housing complex for seniors, Evergreen Place.Both he and his wife, Margaret, were instrumental in raising the funds for the seniors centre that was built 11 years ago in Lake Cowichan. Beldessi is also the president of the Lake Cowichan Lion’s Club and was elected as the town’s Citizen of the Year in 2000.
“I am honoured that I was able to help the seniors in the area,” Beldessi told the Gazette. “I was raised during the depression, and we grew up learning that we had to rely on one another and help one another.”
Lake Cowichan resident Eileen Pilkington, who has worked with Beldessi for 15 years as a Lion, said everyone at the Lion’s Club was excited for him.
“Sam was blown away when he first found out about it,” she stated. “It was such an honour for Sam and for his family.”
Pilkington said since she has known him, Beldessi has never been one to look for accolades, and is more likely to get embarassed when the attention is turned on him.
“My riding of Nanaimo-Cowichan has some outstanding constituents who have devoted much of their time to their community,” Crowder said in the same media release. “Our office received many nominations and 30 constituents were chosen, by a selection committee of community members, for this award.