If someone had told Lee Van Horne a year ago that he’d be receiving an award from the Governor General David Johnston, he said he would have told them he’d have a better chance of winning the lottery.
“And I hardly ever buy a ticket,” Van Horne said.
On April 12, Van Horne received the Sovereignís Medal for Volunteers at Rideau Hall in Ottawa. He said it was the inaugural ceremony for the award.
It was back in December when Van Horne said he first found out about the ceremony. He said he thought it was an e-mail scam at first.
Van Horne said the award is for those who have done significant volunteer work over a significant period of time. He said most of the people receiving awards were for those working with seniors or working in thrift shops or something that directly benefitted others, but he added his was “very unusual.”
“The Crown, particularly the Queen, has an interest in heraldry. I’ve been doing heraldry work for 12 years, mainly on the website for the Royal Heraldry Society — the B.C./Yukon branch,” Van Horne said.
Heraldry is the field of coats of arms, according to Van Horne. He added the only people who can grant coats of arms are royalty.
Van Horne said he’s always had an interest in heraldry, so he began volunteer work for its website, including designing an index armorum which is used to search for heraldic emblems.
On the day of the ceremony, Van Horne said he and the other 54 recipients went to Rideau Hall to prepare for the ceremony.
Van Horne said officials pulled the first two receiving awards aside and gave rehearsals for them, adding that the other recipients stood off to the side to see what they did.
“Fortunately, my last name starts with a V, so I could see a lot before it was my turn,” Van Horne said.
“I knew it was going to be quick, so I was trying to keep my mind and ears and eyes open.”