Legion stalwart earns national honour from Governor General

Angus Stanfield among 55 people recognized by Gov. Gen. David Johnston

Sometimes a gift doesn’t have a price, or form. It’s the disembodied act of good faith, or the selfless move of a giving heart.

Such is the case for Sooke’s Angus Stanfield, a volunteer who, last week, received the prestigious Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers at the Rideau Hall in Ottawa for his long service with the Royal Canadian Legion and work in the community.

Stanfield was among 55 other volunteers from across Canada who were honoured and recognized for their contributions by Gov. Gen. David Johnston.

The Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers recognizes exceptional volunteer achievements of Canadians from across the country in a range of fields.

“I was very surprised, I had no idea. It’s quite humbling, really,” Stanfield said.

For nearly 20 years, Stanfield served the legion as president of the Sooke branch, regional commander and Dominion Command first vice-president.

During this time, he also became the spearhead in establishing Cockrell House, a transition home for homeless veterans that has provided tailored housing, support services and training for the last six years.

Helping those who can’t do it themselves is what kept Stanfield coming back and getting involved, a drive that goes back to a personal connection to his grandfather, who came back from the First World War “a damaged person.”

This was more than enough to get Stanfield’s volunteering heart flying and make a difference.

“You get wrapped up in it, and it just kind of drags you and pushes you along, and it just matters so much,” he said. “The need is really great. It’s sad, but true.”

Like any volunteer work, it’s an ongoing effort. Having just ended his two-year term as president of the Royal Canadian Legion B.C./Yukon Command, Stanfield remains as chair of Cockrell House, which continues to hinge on his volunteerism.

“I look after that pretty well every day. We’re assisting 11 veterans now. A couple of more when we get some space,” he said. “It’s been quitequite a ride to be honest, and a lot of change, but it’s also been a very rewarding experience.”

Born in Saskatchewan, Stanfield came to Victoria while a youngster, living on Vancouver Island ever since. He’s lived in Sooke for the last 20 years, volunteering for the community in just about every way, including lending his skills as a bagpipe player by playing for nearly every funeral and wedding in Sooke.

He’s not going anywhere either, regardless of his place and volunteer work with the legion and in the community.

“No matter what I do on the national level, this will still be my home. Between the piping and the legion, I’ve got lots to do.”

As an official Canadian honour, the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers incorporates and replaces the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award, created in 1995 by then-governor general Romeo LeBlanc.

For more info on the Medal of Volunteers, visit caring.gg.ca.