Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

A HAPPY OCCASION – Gary Bailie, right, receives the Governor General’s Meritorious Service Medal from Commissioner Doug Phillips on Wednesday afternoon for his work with the Blue Feather Music Festival.

Music festival catalyst given Governor General’s honour

Wednesday’s presentation of the Governor General’s Meritorious Service Decoration took place in the Kwanlin Koyotes ski chalet.

By Taylor Blewett on February 1, 2018

Wednesday’s presentation of the Governor General’s Meritorious Service Decoration took place in the Kwanlin Koyotes ski chalet.

“It was informal and really kind of down-to-earth, just the way I like things,” award recipient Gary Bailie told the Star this morning.

The Governor General’s Meritorious Service Decorations recognize “exceptional deeds that bring honour to our country,” according to the Governor General’s website.

Bailie was honoured for his years of work on the Blue Feather Music Festival.

“As a tribute to his late spouse, Kwanlin Dün First Nation member Gary Bailie organized the annual Blue Feather Festival to inspire, encourage and support young people through music and the arts,” his Rideau Hall citation reads.

“Over the past 16 years, this music festival has brought communities together by providing youth with opportunities to learn new skills and to find their place within their own communities.”

While it’s an honour to be recognized, Bailie said, the occasion really prompted him to look back on the years he’s spent working to make Blue Feather an established part of the Yukon community, and a tool for change in people’s lives.

“The blue feather is a symbol of hope, so I mean really – what greater thing could you cast out there into the community?

“There’s a lot of people struggling these days for a variety of reasons, we’ve all seen the outcome in certain cases, and we just really hope that we can make a difference.”

Bailie dedicated the award to the team of volunteers that make the Blue Feather festival happen every year. Its success is a shared accomplishment, he explained.

Recognizing Bailie for his meritorious service was then-commissioner Doug Phillips’ last official public engagement. His term ended Wednesday.

“I’m a big fan of Doug Phillips. I think he’s done a great job as commissioner, and it was a real honour to receive the award from him,” Bailie said.

The ski chalet was a great location for the awards ceremony, Bailie noted, because so many young people were present.

Bailie runs the Kwanlin Koyotes youth ski program.

“I got a chance to show them the medal afterwards and explain to them what it was all about and why I got it, and to tell them that as they got older, they’d get opportunities to volunteer.

“At the end of the day ... it’s really how you build your community.

“You get out there and you contribute to causes that you believe in, and it’s a really good thing.”

Comments (4)

Up 4 Down 0

Groucho d'North on Feb 2, 2018 at 10:31 am

Leadership- this is what it looks like. Well done Mr. Baillie

Up 3 Down 0

My Opinion on Feb 2, 2018 at 1:44 am

Nice! Good Job.

Up 4 Down 0

Chris Sorg on Feb 1, 2018 at 6:49 pm

Thrilled to see Gary get some of the recognition he richly deserves for Blue Feather, as well as many of his other efforts over the years. We’re lucky to have him as part of our community.

Up 5 Down 0

Ken Putnam on Feb 1, 2018 at 5:50 pm

Well done and well deserved Gary.

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