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2013 Medal of Merit award recipients

Tuesday, December 31, 2013   by: Staff



The Sault Ste. Marie Medal of Merit Selection Committee is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2013 Medal of Merit.

This year‟s winners are Dr. Gayle Broad, John Carlson, and Sandra Houston.

The Corporation of the City of Sault Ste. Marie established a committee in 1972 to award the Medal of Merit annually to persons or groups in recognition of outstanding achievement in the areas of athletics, culture or academics, or those who make outstanding contributions to the community.

The Medal of Merit Selection Committee consists of: Mayor Debbie Amaroso, Her Honor Justice Nathalie Gregson, Sylvain Brazeau, Maureen Dodd and Dave Pettalia.

The 2013 Medal of Merit awards will be presented at a civic ceremony in 2014.


Dr. Gayle Broad, Associate Professor at Algoma University, and Director of Research at the NORDIK Institute, is recognized for her academic excellence.

In 2012, Algoma University presented Dr. Broad with the Distinguished Faculty Award is recognition of her promotion of the University‟s institutional mission and vision.

She was instrumental in developing the Community Economic and Social Development (CESD) four-year degree program.

Dr. Broad has also contributed greatly to the University‟s governance by taking on multiple positions including Department Chair and the Senate Speaker.

To address the demand for community based research she led the establishment of the NORDIK Institute as an incorporated, non-profit organization affiliated with Algoma University.

Of particular note is her work in exploring the strengths of Indigenous communities, and the investigation into the social economy of Northern Ontario in partnership with the Universities of Saskatchewan and Winnipeg.

In 2010, Health Canada contracted NORDIK to conduct the largest air quality study ever undertaken in the country with the findings informing government policy.

This past fall, the Council of Ontario Universities bestowed the "Research Matters‟ award to Dr. Broad.

She is currently conducting three major research projects including: a pan-Northern Ontario initiative focusing on youth social entrepreneurship, the Animating the John Rowswell Hub Trail project and the Downtown Dialogue in Action project aimed at creating a strategic plan for social development in the city‟s downtown core.

Her contributions associated with peer-reviewed publications, book chapters, research reports and public presentations have raised the visibility of Algoma University‟s CESD program.

Training provided by Dr. Broad through her CESD faculty position, NORDIK initiatives, and community and academic workshops has provided meaningful opportunities to champion economic and social change in our community.


As a volunteer with the Sault Major Hockey Association (SMHA) for over 30 years, John Carlson has made significant contributions to local hockey.

He has supported the SMHA through a variety of roles including: President, Past President, Banquet Organizer, Coach, Tournament Convener and Fundraiser.

As Fundraising Chair, John is an integral part of the SMHA campaign that has acquired approximately $2 million dollars, much of it coming from the sale of 50/50 draws at Soo Greyhound Ontario Hockey League games.

John and his wife Doreen are a fixture at Soo Greyhound games, selling 50/50 tickets with the goal of making hockey affordable for all youth, particularly those from low-income families.

In acknowledgement of his many efforts, a scholarship bursary named after John Carlson, is given annually to a player in the SMHA midget BB division.

When it comes to giving back to the Sault Ste. Marie community, John‟s tireless commitment to our youth through his involvement with the Sault Major Hockey Association is truly remarkable.


Sandra Houston has served as the Executive Director of the Arts Council of Sault Ste. Marie and District for the past six and a half years.

During her tenure with the Arts Council, Sandra has significantly enhanced the stability of the organization through several initiatives that include:

  •  An increase in individual and group paid memberships by approximately 50%
  •  Annual publication of Applause arts and culture guide and schedule
  •  Improved quality and content of Articulations monthly publication
  •  National Youth Arts Week related events and workshops
  •  Zombie Walk
  •  Addition of "Art in the Parking Lot‟ program to the "Art in the Park‟ annual festival
  •  Social media (Facebook, Twitter and e-blasts) for better communication
  •  Multi-year funding through Heritage Canada to revive the "Over the Rainbow” children‟s series
  •  "New Horizons for Seniors‟ projects
  •  Youth employment opportunities through local, provincial and federal programs
  •  Personnel and Policy manual development
  •  Rebranding the online presence of the Arts Council

Sandra has volunteered for over 47 years with local arts groups including: Sault Theatre Workshop, Stage North Dinner Theatre, and the Music Comedy Guild and provincially with Theatre Ontario and the Quonta Festival organization.

She still produces for the Sault Theatre Workshop and serves as Box Office chair.

Sandra continues to be involved with the Community Theatre Centre as a volunteer usher.

Though retired from the Arts Council, she has stayed on as volunteer committee chair for the Over the Rainbow children‟s series.

Sandra‟s “contagious spirit of generosity” has made a lasting impression in the Sault Ste. Marie Arts community and for this she is being recognized with a Medal of Merit award.


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Number One Son 12/31/2013 11:12:54 AM Report

What a load of bureaucratic, back-slapping, atta-boy BS. If this is all it takes to get this award, the line up would be a mile long, .... and these people would be near the end! Just another waste of our tax dollars for the pomp and ceremony of this farce.
boilertyme 12/31/2013 11:35:27 AM Report

You deserve this honour Mr Carlson, I played hockey with your son 40 years ago and I believe I have seen you and Doreen at every hockey tournament in SSM ever since. Bless you , you are truly wonderful human beings.
Truck 12/31/2013 12:07:33 PM Report

Congrats John!! An absolute tireless volunteer for SMHA!
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