A White Rock senior is calling for the creation of a ‘Pandemic Medal of Honour,’ to recognize medical staff who have put their lives on the line during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Paul Griffin said he put the request in writing to federal Conservative leader Erin O’Toole, as well as to South Surrey-White Rock Conservative MP Kerry-Lynne Findlay, last week.
“I’ve just been so conscious of what I think are heroic actions of frontline medical workers,” Griffin explained Monday (April 5), noting in particular those who have “had to gear up several times a day and go in and intubate or resuscitate people who are near death or mortally ill, and are risking their lives every time they do that.”
“That is nothing but sheer heroism and it deserves recognition,” he said.
Griffin, 72, compared the sacrifice to that made by those – such as his father – who fought in the world wars.
Griffin said his father received medals for his service as a member of the Royal Canadian Navy “dodging death while guarding convoys in the North Atlantic” during the Second World War, and described the work that healthcare personnel have been doing in the past year as no less courageous.
He said a Medal of Honour program, as with military medals, could recognize the different levels of risk, and that recipient selection should be both reverential and careful.
Recipients would have something to reflect on years after the pandemic passes, and the honour – not to be given out lightly, he noted – would likely also resonate outside the medical community, he added.
“I think it ennobles all of us to some degree to think that there are our neighbours and our friends among us who are that brave and that ready to sacrifice for us and for our society as a whole.
“I perhaps see the day where some of these people who are on the frontlines now… will look back and say, ‘I was there, we did that.’ And we can all say, ‘Wow.’”
Griffin said he would also support including specific mention of those same frontline workers at the next Remembrance Day service.
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