Posted on Sep 07, 2019
The Rotary Club of Parksville AM is exceedingly proud to announce that Rotarian Bill Rawlins has been awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers.  The award was presented by the Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia on behalf of Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada on September 5 at a ceremony at Government House. 
The Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers recognizes the exceptional volunteer achievements of Canadians from across the country in a wide range of fields.  Bill was among a select group of 44 recipients receiving this award.

Bill Rawlins was born and raised on Vancouver Island. For 29 years he was known as Mr. R the teacher, and for last 14 of those years he was the Vice Principal, and later the Principal, of Ballenas Secondary in Parksville. In 2005, Bill accompanied his youngest daughter on a trip to the Dominican Republic where he participated in a house build organized by the humanitarian non-profit organization, Live Different.  From that point on, Bill's life would take a dramatically different turn.

Over the past 14 years, Bill has led teams on 56 Live Different humanitarian build projects to the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Mexico, and has served on the organization’s Board of Directors. As an active member of the Rotary Club of Parksville AM, he introduced his fellow Rotarians to Live Different build projects, five of which have now been accomplished.

Rotarian Cara MacDonald was a student at Ballenas High School during Bill’s time there.  She provides the following testimonial which really says it all:
“Bill was a teacher, Vice principal, and Principal as I moved through my middle and secondary school years. I can tell you for sure that he was beloved by every student whose life he touched. When we ‘graduated’ from middle school (Grade 8), our class dedicated ‘Forever Young’ by Rod Stewart to Bill at our graduation dance. His patience and dedication to education was endless. I was a good student; there were many who weren’t. Bill never gave up on any student. He probably saved the lives of many. I am in awe of him and I am not surprised at all that he is receiving this award.”
The medal consists of a silver circular disc depicting a contemporary effigy of the Sovereign, circumscribed with the inscription in capital letters of the Canadian Royal Title and the word “Canada,” separated by two maple leaves.
The reverse indicates the ideas of caring and generosity, represented by two interlaced hearts. The sunburst pattern of the rim symbolizes the time that volunteers are giving and their actions. The ribbon uses the vice-regal colours of blue and gold. The five gold stripes evoke the fingers of a hand, present in the Caring Canadian Award emblem, while the deep red colour is associated with royalty.

Congratulations Bill.  This award is so well deserved, and your fellow Rotarians are all very proud of you.