A longtime Medicine Hat resident was recently bestowed one of Canada’s highest honours for volunteerism with the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers.
Doug Heine, who has called Medicine Hat home for more than 75 years, was awarded the medal in March during a ceremony which also recognized his 50-year service to the city’s Kiwanis Club.
“Well, it’s a great honour to be recognized for the service I’ve done,” Heine told the News. “But I don’t do it for the recognition. But it’s nice when it’s acknowledged.”
Heine was nominated for the award in 2021 and found out he had won in early 2022.
“(I was) surprised, by far,” Heine laughed.
The Sovereign’s Medal, which aims to recognize “exceptional volunteer achievements from across the country,” is not Heine’s first award; he has previously been the recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, Alberta Centennial Medal, Alberta Stars of the Millennium Volunteer Award, City of Medicine Hat Civic Recognition Humaniarian Award, among others.
Heine is likely familiar to many across the city, having volunteered in more than a dozen local non-profit and faith-based organizations, including St. John’s Ambulance Brigade, United Way of Medicine Hat, Senior Citizen Advisory Committee Foundation, Wise Owl Program, St. Barnabas Anglican Church, Chinook Village and the Medicine Hat Kiwanis Club.
Heine began volunteering when he was only six years-old, tutoring students in his class who struggled with math and sciences.
“I’ve been volunteering ever since,” Heine said. “To help someone else always gives you a good feeling.”
Although he is retired now, Heine sill dedicates five days per week to volunteer work. Currently, he is filing income tax for seniors, serving on the local Army Cadets support committee and his local church’s board and organizing upcoming Kiwanis events. Heine says he has no plans to stop his volunteer work.
“It’s a way to keep busy,” he said.
When Heine’s not volunteering he enjoys spending time with his wife of 67 years and two children.
KENDALL KING, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News