Surprises do not usually involve an honour bestowed from the Queen.
Sally Emory, the former executive director of NEAT, was ambushed by Senator Richard Neufeld who presented her with a Diamond Jubilee Medal on Wednesday afternoon.
“My stomach if fluttering!” Emory said as Neufeld presented her with the medal after being lured to the North Peace Cultural Centre by a co-worker.
Neufeld said he chose Emory for a medal because of her work to make recycling mainstream in the Peace Region.
“I’ve always admired her work in the environmental world – reduce, reuse, recycle – we probably wouldn’t have the programs we have here now without people like her that got involved,” he said.
Having worked with Emory when he was still the provincial minister of energy, mines and natural resources, Neufeld said he was able to watch NEAT grow and take hold with Emory at the helm for a lot of it.
“I’ve worked with Sally on some projects that have to do with environmental cleanup. That’s where we live so we should be careful about it,” he said.
“I think she well deserves it, she’s spent a lot of volunteer hours over the years making this process work and NEAT is now a recognized name (in the region)”
Emory was among several people that started the Northern Environment Action Team back in 1989. She started out as a volunteer before working her way up through the ranks and becoming executive director.
“It was a very large part of my life and it always will be. I still drive around in a vehicle that says ‘driving a hybrid, what a NEAT idea,’ because NEAT will never not be a part of me.”
Emory said she was very humbled to receive the medal, but noted that she couldn’t have done it without the other committed members of NEAT.
“This really is a team medal, what I did was because I had all these people working with me – I have said that all along. NEAT is a team, maybe I was the coach or maybe I was the batboy, but it was with a lot of other really committed people.”