YMCA Peace Medallion honours troop-supporting couple

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An Enniskillen Township couple has been honoured with the 2010 Sarnia-Lambton YMCA Peace Medallion.
 
Eugene and Linda Smith are involved with the Sarnia-Lambton Military Support Group, the Hero to Hero campaign, Cadets, Red Rally Fridays and the RED (Remember Everyone Deployed) Weekend in Petrolia as well being founding members of Peacekeeper Park, southeast of London.
 
The latter is a 550-acre site owned by the Kettle Creek Conservation Authority that offers fun and adventure to youth groups while at the same time paying tribute to Canadian soldiers who have served throughout the world.
 
"They [Canadian veterans] have done a good service for us and now it’s our turn to do a good service for them," said Eugene Smith in accepting the award of behalf of the 361 Canadians who have died in peacekeeping efforts since 1948 and the countless others who have been injured both physically and emotionally.
 
For her part, Linda Smith was humbled by the recognition.
 
"It’s very special to me," she said. "I can’t think of another award I would rather get than something to do with peace."
 
When asked about the federal government's decision to extend the mission in Afghanistan, she was reluctant to dip her toe into such choppy political waters.
 
"We’ll support them (the troops) wherever they are," Smith said. "It (our involvement) has nothing to do with the missions. It has everything to do with the troops and their families".
 
Eugene and Linda Smith join a list of 21 other recipients dating back to 1987. The list of previous winners includes renowned photographer and humanitarian Larry Towell, Habitat for Humanity volunteer Art DeGroot, musician Mike Stevens and retired nurse and volunteer Bonnie Kearns.
 
Monday's ceremony was part of YMCA Peace Week which runs until November 27.
 

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