The sixth annual D’Arcy McGee riding medal ceremony honouring outstanding achievement in community involvement was held virtually via Zoom last week because of COVID-19.
The award, launched by riding MNA David Birnbaum, is usually held on the grounds behind the Côte St. Luc library or at CSL’s Aquatic and Community Centre. On hand via Zoom were Mount Royal MP Anthony Housefather, CSL Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, Hampstead Mayor William Steinberg and former D’Arcy McGee MNA Lawrence Bergman, amongst about 100 others.
“This has been an unprecedented and trying time for all of us, but it has also brought out the very best in so many individuals and organizations in this riding,” Birnbaum said in a statement prior to the event. “While the crisis around us is far from over, I think it is always the right time to recognize those who inspire us to do more and do better by our fellow citizens.”
This year’s recipients were:
• David Lisbona, “local entrepreneur and founder of CSL Grocery Deliver. It has served some 2,000 seniors through Lisbona’s team of volunteers during this pandemic.”
• Sima Paris, founder of The Friendship Circle. “Her constant acts of kindness and support for children with special needs and their families are a blessing for so many.”
• MultiCaf, “a storefront community outreach and support network serving Snowdon-Côte-des- Neiges. Director Jean-Sébastien Patrice and his team offer food, comfort, information and empowerment to newly arrived families, seniors and anyone in need.”
• World War II veteran, CSL icon “and all-around mensch George Nashen was honoured in the name of those few surviving veterans, and those who have left us. On the eve of his 97th birthday, Nashen received his medal from keynote speaker Roméo Dallaire, Lieut. Gen. (ret’d).
Dallaire, who chronicled his harrowing experiences during the genocide in Rwanda as well as his own intense battle with Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), paid tribute to Nashen’s World War II service, and those in the front lines during the COVID-19 crisis.
He also relayed a plea to young people in the community to maintain communications with isolated seniors, “to not abandon them, to give them hope to make them realize we’re going to beat this thing, and they’re not alone.
“That is critical. Make sure that link is alive and thriving.”
Birnbaum recently said that in appreciation of Dallaire’s participation, his office made a donation of $1,000 to the retired lieutenant general’s foundation, which “works to inspire young people from underprivileged backgrounds to develop their leadership potential.”