A Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers Recipient at 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron

News Article / September 18, 2020

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By Captain Robert Beal

Corporal Annabelle Villeneuve was honoured for her fifteen years of volunteer work throughout Canada with the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers on July 16, 2020.  The honour is typically presented by the Governor General in Ottawa, however, Corporal Villeneuve has elected to receive her medal wearing her Air Force blue uniform at her home unit, 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, based in Edmonton, Alberta.

After arriving in Canada in 2005 from France, she began volunteering at the Quebec Winter Carnival, and at the Mountain Bike World Cup in Mont St-Anne during the summers. She soon began participating in historic re-enactment events, using her French language skills to portray life in Canada as an early settler.

In 2010, she and her husband, retired Major Claude Villeneuve, moved to Winnipeg where she immediately had a positive impact by volunteering at the Military Family Resource Center (MFRC); and for her efforts she was named the Volunteer of the year. As a fluently bilingual Canadian, she ran French language workshops for 17 Wing Winnipeg’s military chaplains to better serve the local Francophone community.  In 2012, she began volunteering as the aide-de-camp for the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, and subsequently became the aide-de-camp for the Alberta Lieutenant Governor when she moved to that province in 2014.

Her current volunteer work at the Fort Edmonton Park sees her guiding tour groups through the historical re-enactment centre and interpreting the lives of Métis women in 1846. A credit to her military unit, she also finds the time to volunteer at the Kipnes Veterans Centre helping seniors. She and her husband, a citizenship judge, welcome hundreds of people to Canada every year as they take their oaths of citizenship.  Her immigration experience to Canada in 2005 serves as motivation to welcome all our new citizens with a warm welcome and open hearts.

Corporal Villeneuve’s volunteer work within every community is a shining example of the core values we hold as Canadians.  She has strengthened our community of veterans, promoted the French language across Canada, educated the next generation on the contributions of women in Canadian history, and given a heartfelt welcome to new Canadians as they begin their lives here.  The award of Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers is well earned and serves as a mark of distinction for her and her military unit.

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