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Six Manitobans to receive Caring Canadian Awards

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Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba Philip Lee

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Six Manitoba individuals will be honoured for their volunteerism and community service by Lieutenant Governor Philip Lee on today at 5 p.m. at Government House.

Lee will present the Caring Canadian Award to the six recipients on behalf of Governor General David Johnson.

Country singer-songwriter Julian Austin of Steinbach, Teulon and District Food Bank co-founder Nancy Fleury, Shriner Craig Houston of Winnipeg, International HOPE Canada Inc. co-founders Sonia Michalyshen of Oakband and Phyllis Reader of Winnipeg and wildlife organizations volunteer Robert Raymond Williams of Winnipeg will receive certificates and lapel pins.

Austin has performed several times for Canadian and international forces in Afghanistan. He volunteers in raising awareness of the impact of post-traumatic stress disorder, supports a troop morale program that makes links between the Canadian Forces and community first responders, and is also involved with the Children’s Wish Foundation.

Fleury leads the Teulon and District Food Bank in providing food hampers twice a month to low-income families in the area. She also formed a local Christmas Cheer Board, which delivers up to 65 hampers of clothing, toys and food each year during the holiday season. She also brought local high school student volunteers on board to help put together the hampers to introduce them to the idea of giving back to the community.

Houston has volunteered with the Shriners for over 35 years and was the Khartum Shriners Hospital chairman for 15 years. Under his leadership, the first Shriners Hospitals Satellite Orthopaedic Clinic opened in Winnipeg to serve children and their families from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nunavut and northwestern Ontario.

Michalyshen and Reader began International HOPE Canada Inc., a non profit organization that collects refurbished medical equipment for distribution to clinics and hospitals in less-developed countries around the world.

Williams volunteers with numerous organizations such as Polar Bears International, the Manitoba Forestry Association, Fish Futures, the Winnipeg Canoe Club and the Fort Gary Horse Regiment, where he chaired the Fort Gary Horse Centennial Committee.

"This award has been presented to people who have planned and served at community events, provided leadership to non-profit organizations, fed the hungry, comforted the suffering, provided joy to the heartsick and offered hope to the forlorn," Lee said in a statement.

In a press release, the design on the lapel pin was described as "representing Canadians who selflessly give of their time and energy to others." A maple leaf symbolizes "the people of Canada and their spirit," a heart depicts the "open-heartedness of volunteers and caregivers" and the outstretched hand "portrays boundless generosity."

The Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award was created in 1995. It recognizes living Canadians and permanent residents who have made a significant, sustained, unpaid contribution to their community in Canada or abroad.

For more information on this award, please visit www.gg.ca/caring.

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