Thursday, March 29, 2012

MacDougald awarded YMCA Peace Medal

As posted by the Stratford Beacon Herald, March 29, 2012.

By Mike Beitz, Stratford Beacon Herald

There are thousands of impoverished children across the globe who are sleeping a little more peacefully thanks to Doug MacDougald.

And for that, the Stratford man was recognized Wednesday night with the Stratford-Perth YMCA's 2011 Peace Medal.

The award, presented during the Y's annual general meeting, pays tribute to MacDougald's volunteer work with Sleeping Children Around the World, a Canadian charitable organization that distributes bedkits and basic supplies to children in developing countries. The kits are central to the organization's belief that every child, no matter how poor, deserves a good night's sleep.

A local veterinarian, United Way volunteer and past chair of Festival Hydro, MacDougald has travelled abroad to participate in five “distributions” to help deliver bedkits, most recently to Bangladesh last October.

“Thank you Doug, for spreading peace every chance you get,” said the Y's Angela Charbonneau as she presented him with the medal last night.

MacDougald was characteristically modest as he accepted it.

“This is a very special award for many reasons,” he said, as his wife and parents looked on proudly. “First, it's given by the YMCA, an organization that does so much for this community and communities elsewhere. Second, it reflects one of my passions, and that is helping some of the poorest children of the world. And third, of course, it represents all the people of Stratford – we're surrounded by people in Stratford that give back to their communities here and internationally.”

He said afterward that the recognition came as a “complete surprise.”

“But a nice surprise,” he added with a smile.

The medal is presented annually by the YMCA to honour people in the community who are championing peace in all its forms, noted Y chief executive officer Mimi Price.

“What we do is recognize the value that people contribute at a local, regional or national level,” she said, noting that MacDougald was chosen by a committee for his “leadership and commitment” to peace.

“Here's a local man saying, 'I need to make a difference in my world,' and that's exactly what he's doing,” said Price of his work with Sleeping Children Around the World.

And that reflects the Y's statement on peace, she added.

That statement reads: “The responsibility for peace begins with each person, in relationships with family and friends, and extends to community life and national activities. There are no simple recipes. It is we ourselves who must seek, act and pray for ways to be peacemakers.”

“Doug shows that one person can make a difference,” said Price.

The YMCA recognized four others last night who have also made a difference.

Darren Hulley, Julie Schmidt, Dawn Simons and Hansi Walter were named as recipients of the Faye Herbert Memorial Scholarship, which recognizes YMCA staff and volunteers who have made a significant contribution to the association through their work, and who are pursuing post-secondary or continuing education.