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Canning's town crier recognized with Senate of Canada 150 Medal

Gary Long stands with now retired Senator Kelvin Ogilvie, who's last official act as a Senator before retiring was presenting Long with a Senate of Canada 150 Medal.
Gary Long stands with now retired Senator Kelvin Ogilvie, who's last official act as a Senator before retiring was presenting Long with a Senate of Canada 150 Medal. - Submitted

Award recognizes volunteer work and community involvement

CANNING, NS – Canning's Town Crier Gary Long has been recognized for his decades of volunteer work with a top national honour - a Senate of Canada 150 Medal.

Long was shocked to receive a phone call from Senator and acquaintance Kelvin Ogilvie, telling him he was the only nomination he was putting forward for the medal.

He was even more shocked when he learned he’d been chosen, and was awarded the medal in Ogilvie’s last act as senator before his retirement.

Long's medal, which is engraved with his name at the bottom of the official Senate seal. The reverse has a depiction of the Senate chambers.
Long's medal, which is engraved with his name at the bottom of the official Senate seal. The reverse has a depiction of the Senate chambers.

“It’s safe to say I was beyond surprised – he invited me over for supper, and next thing I know I’m receiving this medal,” said Long.

A suspicious supper invitation

Long says he knew something was up when Ogilvie once again called him and invited him to supper.

As fellow Canning residents that wave hello as they pass each other on the street or say hi on the sidewalk, he thought it was funny Ogilvie made a formal phone call.

“It was a bit of an indicator, I’d say. My wife Sara and I went over, and I knew something would come up at dinner,” he said.

Sure enough, Ogilvie presented Long with the certificate and medal – bearing the Senate seal with Long’s name engraved – and Long was stunned.

Gary Long in his Town Crier uniform.
Gary Long in his Town Crier uniform.

“I knew something was up, but I had no idea I was getting a medal!” he laughed.

The supper event was organized because Ogilvie’s retirement date fell on the same day the official award ceremony would have taken place on, and without being a current senator, Ogilvie couldn’t give Long the award.

And so, he arranged to give it to him, thus performing his last official act as a Senator.

“That felt pretty neat. It was a unique way for this to happen, and I’m glad for it,” said Long.

The volunteering that earned Long his medal

Long is best known as the Town Crier of Canning, but his community involvement goes beyond his crying duties.

Town crier Gary Long and his wife Sara greet Naomi Mercer of Riverhead Harbour Grace Newfoundland and Labrador, centre, at Canning's recent Picnic in the Park during the International Town Criers Competition, which Gary coordinated.
Town crier Gary Long and his wife Sara greet Naomi Mercer of Riverhead Harbour Grace Newfoundland and Labrador, centre, at Canning's recent Picnic in the Park during the International Town Criers Competition, which Gary coordinated.

The list of events and programs Long has volunteered for since he began volunteering as a teenager is a long one, and includes Scouts Canada, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Volunteer Fire Department, Apple Blossom Festival, C.A.P.R.E., Canning Area Business Development Association and the Merritt Gibson Memorial Library, among others.

Candidates for the Senate medals were nominated and then chosen based on their extensive volunteer work and community involvement.

Long, who will appear as Town Crier at Berwick’s knows his volunteering resume is a lengthy one, but says awards like this aren’t what motivate him to get involved.

“I am very involved in the community – I just like to be,” he said.

“Getting this was a surprise, but it was nice. I didn’t do the work with that in mind, but I’ll admit that getting recognized is nice!”

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