Salt Spring marine search and rescue volunteer Per Svendsen has been honoured with two major awards arising from his 12 years of service.
Svendsen received the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary Leadership Medal and the Volunteer of the Year award at a local event on Thursday. Svendsen was nominated for the leadership award by his fellow Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Station 25 volunteers and the CCGA granted him the separate volunteer award based on that nomination.
He received strong commendation from fellow auxiliary members.
The Leadership Medal is for members who have “maintained an outstanding level of performance and/or achievement over a period of time to further the authorized activities of the auxiliary.” The Volunteer of the Year award is granted based on submissions received for other CCGA awards.
“Per represents the absolute best in character, volunteerism and marine knowledge, and we are proud to have him as a member of our unit,” said Brad Grindler, president of the Gulf Islands Marine Rescue Society, in his nomination letter. “I recommend him for this medal with the highest regard . . . He also has a great sense of humour, which makes topics more personable and enjoyable. Per is simply a wonderful human being.”
Andrew Ross Collins, the deputy station leader, wrote: “Per has consistently demonstrated effective and selfless participation, often stepping up to volunteer his time and taking a much valued leadership role when called upon. He’s also been hugely supportive to other members in leadership roles, offering wise counsel, innovative ideas and practical help.”
Svendsen has been a RCMSAR Station 25 coxswain since 2010 and was station leader for four years and treasurer of the society for six of the past 12 years.
He has committed more than 2,720 total hours of time to RCMSAR since 2008, with 900 hours of sea time logged and 54 missions undertaken. He was also on call for almost 8,000 hours.
Svendsen has been a training team member, which means he participated in the active development, coordination and delivery of regular class and on-the-water training activities for the unit. He was engaged in 339 exercises and 418 class hours as a result.
He has also been a member of the operations team for five years, which required correcting and pre-authorizing training and tasking reports for RCMSAR headquarters.
Svendsen is also a qualified and active pleasure craft safety checker.
“It has been a pleasure to serve with RCMSAR for the last 12 years and with Salt Spring Ground Search and Rescue for 12 years before that,” said Svendsen after receiving the awards. “They both provided and are providing many many ways in which to serve in leadership positions.
“I am truly thankful for this recognition and truly feel that all the many volunteers that serve on our island deserve this award also. I, as one volunteer, thank all who dedicate their time for making my and our home a better place to live.”