Bomber Command Museum of Canada trio awarded Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers

Left to Right: Medal recipients Dan Fox, Bev Nelson & Karl Kjarsgaard. Photo: Bomber Command Museum of Canada.

31 October 2019 | Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The weather in and around Calgary varied throughout the day. The high temperature was 3.9°C (39°F). At times it was sunny, but scattered showers, fog and snow flurries were also in the mix. Regardless of the changing climatic conditions outside, inside McDougall Centre the atmosphere was charged with excitement. Beverly R. Nelson, Daniel Fox and Karl W. Kjarsgaard of Bomber Command Museum of Canada (BCMC), and 8 other non-affiliated individuals, were each awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers (French: Médaille du souverain pour les bénévoles).

Queen Elizabeth II’s (Canada) Portrait.

The Canadian decoration is intended for someone whose voluntary leadership and associated activities provide extraordinary assistance to individuals, groups or community organisations. 

Lieutenant Governor Lois Mitchell presiding over Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers presentations at McDougall Centre in Calgary on 31 October 2019. Photo: Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta.

Her Honour, the Honourable Lois E. Mitchell, CM, AOE, LLD, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, officiated at the 31 October 2019 ceremony on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen and the Governor General of Canada, Her Excellency The Right Honourable Julie Payette CC, CMM, COM, CQ, CD. The latter is the viceregal representative of Queen Elizabeth II and is based in Ottawa.

Left to Right: Dan Fox, the Honourable Lois E. Mitchell, Bev Nelson & Karl Kjarsgaard. Photo courtesy of Bomber Command Museum of Canada.

Bev Nelson has exhibited exemplary community leadership for some 30 years through various activities. She is currently the Casino Chair at The Royal Canadian Legion Nanton Branch #80 in Nanton and works with Meals and Wheels via the Nanton Quality of Life Foundation. She served as a Big Sister for the Lethbridge Big Brothers and Sisters and has additionally been active, periodically holding offices including that of Honoured Royal Lady, over the past 27 years in the Stavely Royal Purple Elks Lodge. She continues to volunteer with other groups, including, since 2004, Bomber Command Museum of Canada.

Dan Fox, a graduate of the University of Calgary and former public school teacher, was, for several years, the Chairman of the Nanton Cultural and Recreation Board. But it was during his tenure as Nanton Town Councillor that he helped to form the Nanton Lancaster Society. The Nanton Lancaster Society created what is now known as Bomber Command Museum of Canada. Dan was President for the facility’s critical establishment period from 2004 to 2007. The unique educational resource is now world renown, due in large part to his guidance, and has become a major tourist attraction. Since 2007, Dan Fox has been serving as Vice-President and Chairman of the Expansion Committee. In addition to the aforementioned accomplishents, for more than 3 decades he has been preserving and restoring aircraft and artefacts dating back to the Second World War.  And for many of those years Dan Fox has unselfishly laboured on behalf of the Canadian Aviation Preservation Association. He is additionally an active member of the Calgary Mosquito Society and Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada).

Karl Kjarsgaard, a retired Air Canada captain, was honoured for his many years of volunteerism on the behalf of museums and groups that record and preserve the histories of Second World War aircraft and aircrew. The Canadian charitable entities Mr. Kjarsgaard has laboured on behalf of include the following: Bomber Command Museum of Canada, National Air Force Museum of Canada, Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada) and the Ottawa-based Airplane Hunters. Throughout several decades Karl’s contributions and expertise have been invaluable and he has proved to be indispensable. Notably, Karl Kjarsgaard was instrumental during the recovery and rebuilding of a Handley Page Halifax bomber (one of only 2 existing worldwide) that now resides within the National Air Force Museum of Canada. Mr. Kjarsgaard is currently endeavouring to locate and obtain a sufficient number of original components and parts to construct a Halifax for Bomber Command Museum of Canada.

Bomber Command Museum of Canada’s Avro Lancaster and Canada’s Bomber Command Memorial at Bomber Command Museum of Canada. Photo: Bomber Command Museum of Canada.

Bomber Command Museum of Canada in Nanton, Alberta is home to the Canada’s Bomber Command Memorial. The structure’s panels contain in excess of 10,000 engraved names of Canadians and Americans (also known as ‘RCAF-Americans’) that served and died in Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) service while the aerial military arm was operating under the direction of Royal Air Force Bomber Command during World War II.