Several members of the Merritt community have received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of public service.

Shackan Indian Band Chief Percy Joe and Nicola-Similkameen School District 58 Trustee Richie Gage are high-profile members of the community who, in addition to four other members, reported receiving the honour.

Gage received the medal in October, mainly for his work with the Canadian Lung Association, where he is a past national board chair.

“This was absolutely a total surprise to me,” Gage said. “This is something to hold on to and pass along to my family down the road.”

BC Lung Association CEO Scott McDonald said Gage was recognized because of his commitment to service.

“Richie gives tirelessly to others and is committed to promoting lung health in B.C. communities and across Canada,” he said in an email, noting Gage was involved with the Lung Association for 25 years.

“A more committed person is hard to find.”

Gage is also a founding member of Stop TB (tuberculosis) Canada.

Joe received the honour in the spring for his work as the president of the First Nations Veterans of Canada, advocating his people’s rights and battling with them for remuneration for their war efforts.

He added the medal to a collection he has for his service in the Canadian Forces, where he served as a detachment commander and corporal.

Janice Antoine, John F. Isaac and Janu Harword were also honoured.

Joe said Antoine and Harword received the medals for education and volunteering, while Isaac worked with cadets and served in the reserve forces.

In order to qualify for the medal, the recipient has to be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, who has “made a significant contribution to a particular province, territory, region or community within Canada, or an achievement abroad that brings credit to Canada,” the Governor General’s office stated.

The medals represent Queen Elizabeth 2’s 60th year since accession to the throne as the Queen of Canada and is intended to recognize her service to this country, as well as the efforts of living Canadians.

Sixty thousand people throughout the nation are to be recognized with the medals this year.

More medals are slated to be handed out before 2013.