SUMMERSIDE – Educator, coach, volunteer and community leader John Turner was presented with the Mayor’s Medal of Honour in a well-attended ceremony at city hall, Wednesday night.
© MIke Carson/Journal Pioneer
John Turner is congratulated by Summerside Mayor Basil Stewart on receiving the Mayor’s Medal of Honour for his work in the community.
The medal recognizes those who have achieved provincial, Atlantic, national or international recognition or have made outstanding contributions to the social, economic or cultural life of Summerside.
Turner was honoured for his work students, fundraising activities and as a coach. He is considered the major driving force behind the development, promotion and ongoing success of football in Summerside.
“It’s truly a very humbling experience to be nominated for this award,” Turner said. “There are so many deserving people in this community and to be honoured with this is very special.”
Turner went through the list of past recipients since the medal was first awarded in 2003 and said to be included on that list is something he will never forget.
“You don’t do volunteering to win awards like this,” he said. “You do it because you love your community.”
Eight years ago Turner brought the sport of organized football back for boys and girls in the community.
“I love football and working with kids,” he said. “I love my community and wanted to give something back.”
Through football Turner teaches young boys and girls more than just how to play the game.
“Football is the greatest game in the world for a variety of reasons,” he said. “There are not many sports where you don’t need the top athlete. You don’t need the fastest kids. You need players of all different shapes and sizes. A lot of these kids playing football have never been on teams before. As you see them grow through the season, you see self-esteem, confidence. You can see the change in them. It’s very special and it means a lot more than winds and losses at the end of the day.”
There is a tackle football program and a flag football program in Summerside to involve as many youth as possible.
“There are a lot of life lessons in football,” Turner said. “Kids learn hard work, team work, discipline, respect and most of all, commitment. Every kid on the football field is one less kid on the street, one less kid playing video games on their couch.”
Turner praised the couches involved in the program.
“Our program is nothing without volunteer coaches like we’ve got in our program,” he said. “They put an endless amount of time in and I truly appreciate it.”
Turner thanked the city for first-rate field and put in a pitch of his own to councillors in attendance.
“All we need now are some dressing rooms,” he said.