The Sault Ste. Marie YMCA is pleased to announce that Robert Peace is the recipient of the YMCA’s 2022 Peace Medallion.
Each year, YMCAs from across Canada recognize those who, without any special resources, status, wealth, or position, have demonstrated a commitment to peace through special contributions made within their community and globally. The YMCA Peace Medallion is a way to honour dedicated peace builders and to inspire others. Since 1987, some 2,000 individuals and groups across Canada have been recognized with YMCA Peace Medals during YMCA World Peace Week.
Here at our YMCA, we have honoured several individuals and groups over the years who inspire us with their actions. Peace Medal recipients should demonstrate the values of PEACE: Participation by getting involved and encouraging others to get involved in community building activities; Empathy by listening and understanding diverse perspectives to create a sense of belonging for all; Advocacy and making the case for positive change in the community or world; Community building and strengthening community connections and capacity, and; Empowerment by inspiring others to foster peace and helping them gain the skills and tools to succeed.
Today, we will welcome a new peacemaker to this special group; Robert Peace is an inclusive community leader who identifies and shares community-building tasks, challenges and opportunities and asks himself “what can I do to help?”
At the beginning of the Russia/Ukraine war, Robert took a leave of absence from his production company, started a Go Fund Me page and spent a number of weeks in Romania and Hungary near the Ukraine border assisting refugees from the Ukraine who were displaced due to the war.
“Instead of just talking about what should be done to help, he literally went into a warzone to help those in need,” said Robert Burns, CEO of the Sault Ste. Marie YMCA. “Upon his return, he shared his first-hand experiences with many, bringing the plight of Ukrainians to light and encouraged people to help however they could.”
“Robert showed unconditional empathy and humanity to strangers half a world away and in doing so made sure everyone knew he was from a city called Sault Ste. Marie, Canada. He was a proud ambassador to our country, and our community, and asked for nothing in return. He showed how much of a difference one person can make in the lives of so many,” Burns added.
“It is truly an honour to be recognized by the YMCA and one’s own community for the work that was done to help those in Ukraine. Bringing awareness to the plight of those who both remain displaced from their home and those who have made their way to communities like Sault Ste Marie is key.”
“Our community came together to donate to allow me to deliver aid directly to those in need. One of the deepest experiences of the mission, was seeing how the human spirit lives and brings people together even in times of great hardship,” says Peace .
“The lessons I learned in Ukraine I have brought home to my everyday life here in Sault Ste Marie,” says Peace. “Participation, empathy, advocacy, community and empowerment outline perfectly the values we need here at home to make a better life for everyone.”
“This award will inspire me to continue my work in the Sault advocating for those struggling economically, mentally and physically and this is another chance to remind people that with community, anything can be accomplished!”
Please join the Sault Ste. Marie YMCA in congratulating Robert Peace as our 2022 Peace Medal recipient.