Petawawa Mayor Bob Sweet presents Corporal Nick Kerr with the prestigious Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers at a special ceremony July 17. (Photo by Lisa Brazeau, Petawawa Post)

Corporal receives Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers

By Lisa Brazeau

Posted on Thursday, July 27, 2017

A former Petawawa resident was recognized with the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers for his service to national and international search and rescue efforts, as well as mentoring cadets and helping veterans lead enriching lives.

Nick Kerr, a Corporal with the Infantry Reserve Unit the Canadian Scottish Regiment, was presented with the medal by Town of Petawawa Mayor Bob Sweet on behalf of Governor General David Johnston on July 17 at a special pre-council ceremony. “Our commitment to Canada is strengthened when we actively pay homage to those who distinguish themselves by virtue of their talents, their generosity, and their service to their community and to our country,” said Mayor Sweet. “We are proud to recognize today’s recipient for his contributions.”

The Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers recognizes the exceptional volunteer achievements of Canadians from across the country and celebrates a wide range of voluntary contributions. As an official honour created by the Crown, the medal is part of the Canadian Honours System; it incorporated and replaced the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award, which was created in 1995 by then-Governor General the Right Honourable Romeo LeBlanc. “It was kind of a shock when I heard,” said Kerr about receiving the medal. “Overwhelmed, happy, and very humbled.”

Kerr spent 10 years with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry before leaving the regular force. For the past six years, he has been a volunteer member of the Juan De Fuca Search and Rescue group on Vancouver Island, introducing new search and rescue procedures as well as specializing in cave rescue and international SAR efforts. He assisted with reconstruction efforts in Haiti as a member of GlobalMedic, a registered Canadian charity providing short-term, rapid response in the wake of disasters and crisis, both at home and abroad.

Kerr spent three years in Petawawa, and deployed with the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment to Poland for Operation REASSURANCE. He left Petawawa in May and is now working in Ottawa with the Ceremonial Guard.

Kerr is currently spearheading an initiative to create a service medal for Search and Rescue personnel. Bill C-347, an Act providing for the award of a Canadian Search and Rescue Voluntary Service Medal, was introduced in the House of Commons earlier this year. “Search and Rescue is the only first responder organization in Canada that isn’t recognized for their hard work through a medal,” noted Kerr.