Soup Kitchen president wins national award

Paul Bickford/NNSL photo Laura Rose displays the Sovereign's Medal for Volunteers that she recently received in the mail.

Paul Bickford/NNSL photo
Laura Rose displays the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers that she recently received in the mail.

Laura Rose, the driving force behind the Hay River Soup Kitchen, has just received a medal for her volunteer work.

Actually, the medal is a continuation of recognition she received a little more than 13 years ago.

In November 2003, Rose was honoured with a Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award for her work with a number of organizations, particularly The Soup Kitchen.

In the spring of 2016, the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers was launched with the plan to distribute the medal to existing recipients of the Caring Canadian Award.

Rose was advised by a letter in August from Rideau Hall in Ottawa that she would be receiving the medal, and it arrived in the mail just after New Year’s.

“It’s kind of cool, but it’s like, OK, I’m not going to be wearing this anywhere, I don’t think,” she said. “I mean that’s fancy dress stuff and this is Hay River.”

Plus, she added with a laugh that she’s not out to try to impress anybody.

“I’m not into that,” she said.

Since she doesn’t plan to wear it, Rose will probably store the medal away.

“It will collect dust with my other memorabilia,” she said. “Maybe someday my kids will take it and frame it.”

However, she might occasionally wear the pin that accompanied the medal.

“I might sometime but I haven’t worn the one for that, either,” she said, referring to the pin she received for the Caring Canadian Award. “There’s a nice little pin about the same size as this one. That’s more everyday use.”

Rose has been managing The Soup Kitchen for 21 years, almost from its very beginning, and she is also president of The Soup Kitchen registered charity.

She is hoping that someone else will assume those roles within the next few years, and jokingly wonders if the medal might help encourage someone else to take over.

“Maybe if somebody else steps forward and volunteers a whole lot, they can get one, too,” she said.

Rose, who will be 67 years old in June, said there are three years left on this lease for The Soup Kitchen and by then she will be 70 and has no plans to run the operation beyond then.

“I’ve got three years. When I hit 70, then I’m gone,” she said.

While she is trying to find somebody to take over The Soup Kitchen, she said that volunteers are hard to find.

– Paul Bickford