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Volunteer group asks Woodstock to return medal

Mayoral candidate Don Woodstock always appears in public wearing a medal and ribbon given to him in 2015 by the Urban Knights, a local volunteer group founded in 1976 to help the homeless and promote anti-littering. (Ruth Bonnevill / Winnipeg Free Press files)</p>

Mayoral candidate Don Woodstock always appears in public wearing a medal and ribbon given to him in 2015 by the Urban Knights, a local volunteer group founded in 1976 to help the homeless and promote anti-littering. (Ruth Bonnevill / Winnipeg Free Press files)

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 2/10/2018 (382 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Hey, Don Woodstock, the Urban Knights want their medal back.

That was the message Patrick Belhumeur, president and co-founder of the Urban Knights and Ladies Peace Patrol, asked the Free Press to pass along to Woodstock, one of eight candidates running for mayor in the Winnipeg civic election.

“When his membership was revoked with our group (earlier this year), he was told to give back the medals and the T-shirts and any other accessories he was given as a patrol member,” Belhumeur said. “We haven’t received any of that back from him.

“He shouldn’t be wearing that medal, because he’s no longer a member of our group.”

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 2/10/2018 (382 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Hey, Don Woodstock, the Urban Knights want their medal back.

That was the message Patrick Belhumeur, president and co-founder of the Urban Knights and Ladies Peace Patrol, asked the Free Press to pass along to Woodstock, one of eight candidates running for mayor in the Winnipeg civic election.

"When his membership was revoked with our group (earlier this year), he was told to give back the medals and the T-shirts and any other accessories he was given as a patrol member," Belhumeur said. "We haven’t received any of that back from him.

"He shouldn’t be wearing that medal, because he’s no longer a member of our group."

Woodstock countered he earned the medal for his work with the Urban Knights and deserves to keep it, and won’t be returning it.

The mayoral candidate always appears in public with a medal and ribbon pinned to his left lapel. The medal and ribbon is similar in appearance to that given to individuals recognized as a Member of the Order of Canada. Woodstock’s medal, however, was given to him in 2015 by the Urban Knights, a local volunteer group founded in 1976 to help the homeless and promote anti-littering.

He has called it the "Order of Canadians" medal, and said it was one level below the Order of Canada (which it is not). The Urban Knights called it their "Order of Citizens."

Belhumeur said he told Woodstock at the time it was nothing more than a novelty item that held no national significance, adding he was surprised to see him wearing it.

"I told him if he wanted to wear it around the house, it was OK. I didn’t expect him to wear it publicly, certainly not on the left-hand side of his jacket, which is reserved for military and government honours," Belhumeur said.

"If he was going to be wearing it, it should be on his right side."

The medal was replaced about a year later with another, the "Companion of Honour Peace Medal."

Belhumeur has been singled out for his work with the Urban Knights.

In January, he was awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers by Lt.-Gov. Janice Filmon, recognizing exceptional volunteer achievements. Belhumeur met Filmon again in July, when she presented him, and 11 others, with the Order of Manitoba, the province’s highest honour.

The Urban Knights split with Woodstock earlier this year, and requested the return of the medal, when they disagreed over Woodstock’s decision to support a Calgary organization that promised to build housing for homeless veterans.

Belhumeur said the Urban Knights disagreed with the eligibility criteria of the Calgary group and didn’t believe it would really help the homeless individuals who need it the most. When Woodstock stuck with them, he said they revoked his membership.

"I don’t know why he kept wearing (the medal)," Belhumeur said.

Woodstock admits he was asked to return the medal, but said he won’t, adding he and the Urban Knights disagree over the Calgary group’s plans but that shouldn’t have anything to do with the medal.

"I asked (Belhumeur) if I earned it, and he said I earned it, and I said, ‘Thank you very much,’" Woodstock said.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Aldo Santin

Aldo Santin
Reporter

Aldo Santin is a veteran newspaper reporter who first carried a pen and notepad in 1978 and joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1986, where he has covered a variety of beats and specialty areas including education, aboriginal issues, urban and downtown development. Santin has been covering city hall since 2013.

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History

Updated on Wednesday, October 3, 2018 at 7:16 AM CDT: Final

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