Lilian and Gibb Boddez pose for a photo in The Morinville News offices Wednesday afternoon. Mrs. Boddez was one of 112 Albertans to receive the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal Wednesday in Edmonton. – Stephen Dafoe Photo
By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Long time volunteer Lillian Boddez got to rub elbows with Premier Alison Redford and The Honourable Donald S. Ethell, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, Wednesday afternoon. Boddez, a lifelong resident of Morinville, was one of more than 100 Albertans presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in a special ceremony held in Edmonton. The medal honours Her Majesty’s service to Canada and recognizes significant contributions and achievements by Canadians.
When Mrs. Boddez received the letter from Premier Redford inviting her to the ceremony, she got a little emotional. “When I got the letter I bawled,” Mrs. Boddez said. “I felt so unworthy. It’s a real honour, and actually even more so if I’d known who all the recipients were when I got the letter. It’s mind boggling.”
Recognized for her long history of volunteerism in Morinville, Mrs. Boddez said she believes a community is truly built by its volunteers. “We wouldn’t have a community like ours if we didn’t have volunteers,” she said. “I think the biggest attribute to any community is its people that volunteer. It’s a way of life for us. It started for me as a kid, and when I got married it continued on. Our kids are so in that too. They continue on with the volunteering. It’s a way of life.”
Although reluctant to be the centre of attention herself, Mrs. Boddez’ husband Gibb had no problem expressing his pride in his wife being selected for recognition. “That’s my Mama,” Mr. Boddez said. “I think she’s well deserved. She’s organized. She has good ideas. She’s a worker. When she has an idea she goes with it.”
That go-forward attitude has resulted in the erection of two civic monuments in St. Jean Baptiste Park over the past seven years: the clock tower in 2005 and the Centennial Fountain in 2011. Both were visions Mrs. Boddez had and but two of the initiatives she has spearheaded in the community over the years.
Boddez was nominated by Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock MLA Maureen Kubinec for her long history of volunteerism and community spirit. “I was given the opportunity to nominate three people from my constituency,” Kubinec said. “I wanted to pick people who donated an awful lot of time and effort into their community, and Lillian’s name came to mind. I was just honoured to do that.”
Kubinec, who was at the presentation and tweeted a photo of the moment, said she was proud of Mrs. Boddez. “I was so proud of her. It was a great event,” she said. “There were a lot of people who received the awards. What was nice about it was it was a broad spectrum of citizens from across Alberta – from the arts to police officers. It was just amazing. People like Lillian who give an awful lot back to the community.”