SUMMERSIDE — It was an uncomfortable ceremony for a man described as humble and an inspiration to his students.
Monday, Three Oaks Senior High School teacher David Chisholm was presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, one of only four teachers from across Canada to be recommended by the Vimy Foundation to receive the honour.
In front of family, friends, colleagues, Legion members, veterans and students, Lt.-Gov. H. Frank Lewis presented Chisholm with the medal.
“He has helped bridge the gap of time since the World Wars, Vimy in particular, to the youth of today,” said Lewis. “This is not always easy. It takes a knowledge of the history you are trying to teach, some charisma, some patience and an ability to motivate and a great deal of nerve, optimism and persistence to make it all happen.”
Chisholm received the medal for his work in helping organize pilgrimages to significant European First and Second World War sites and his work within the school to recognize and remember veterans.
“It’s certainly more than I wanted or expected. I guess, in all reality, there was no want or expecting from why we started this,” said Chisholm.
Since 2006, Chisholm has led Three Oaks students on 10-day pilgrimages, the most recent last spring, pilgrimages organized by the Vimy Foundation.
“I feel a little embarrassed by the accolades and the words that were said today because there are so many other people involved in getting me into this,” said Chisholm. “It’s been a collective and a team effort and I really appreciate that. I feel uncomfortable but at the same time I do feel comfortable in accepting this on Three Oak’s behalf. I think that’s more appropriate.”
He admitted to being a changed man as a result of the pilgrimages, saying he now takes the time to thank veterans for the sacrifices they made, something he encouraged all in attendance to do.
“It’s a good way to show thanks and it’s needed. We all do need to go to Vimy and we do all need to go to these graves and we all do need to go to our own cenotaphs in our own towns and cities,” said Chisholm. “It’s never too late to start to say thank you and to start to commemorate the veterans that are here with us today.”
During the ceremony, Chisholm was also presented with a certificate of appreciation from the Summerside Legion and the Lest We Forget Committee.
“Dedication, passion, inspiration and humble, I can’t imagine four words that would describe a person any better,” said outgoing committee chair Joyce Phillips.
Dave Robinson, with the Vimy Foundation, made the trip to Summerside for the ceremony. It was Robinson who nominated Chisholm for the medal.
“David has helped inspire Canada’s smallest province to have the highest percentage of its secondary school students attend Remembrance pilgrimages to First World War and Second World War battlefields,” read Robinson’s nomination. “We are very fortunate to have had David leading the way in this regard at TOSH and he has helped to provide some very important and life-long learnings for our students.
“I have no doubt that they will see Remembrance Day in a very different light for the rest of their lives thanks to Dave’s efforts.”