Recognizing Our Volunteers

Recognition for a job well done is a form of courtesy that can do wonders for a person’s self-esteem and thereby contribute greatly to the general health of the Lifesaving Society.

Commonwealth Honour Awards, bestowed by the Royal Life Saving Society Commonwealth, are given to Canadian Society members, for longterm leadership and dedicated service to the Society.

Select from the following list of available Commonwealth Honour Awards:

The Certificate of Appreciation is awarded to an organization, club or business that has made a significant contribution to the Lifesaving Society at the provincial/territorial level and deserves recognition. The certificate is presented at a Branch Investiture Ceremony.
The Certificate of Thanks is awarded to an instructor, examiner, volunteer, committee or Branch member who has two years (or fewer) of service and who has made a significant contribution to the Lifesaving Society. The certificate is presented at a Branch or national Investiture Ceremony.
The Service Medal is awarded to an instructor, examiner, field representative, volunteer, Branch officer, or committee member who has four years (or more) of service and has performed noteworthy services in any of these capacities for the Lifesaving Society. The medal and a certificate are presented at a Branch or national Investiture Ceremony.
The Bar to Service Medal is awarded to an instructor, examiner, field representative, volunteer, Branch officer, or committee member who has an additional four years of noteworthy services as per the Service Medal criteria. The medal, bar and certificate are presented at a Branch or national Investiture Ceremony.
The Service Cross is awarded to an instructor, examiner, volunteer, Branch officer, or committee member who has 12 years (or more) of service and who has performed meritorious services in any of these capacities for the Lifesaving Society. The medal and certificate are presented at a Branch or national Investiture Ceremony.
The Bar to Service Cross is awarded to an instructor, examiner, volunteer, a Branch officer, or committee member who has at least an additional four years of meritorious service as per the Service Cross criteria. The medal, bar and certificate are presented at a Branch or national Investiture Ceremony.
The Honorary Life Member Award is reserved for senior members of a National Council or members of the Commonwealth Council who have given outstanding service to the Society as a whole for at least 20 years. A Branch may nominate an individual, but the award can be conferred only by the Commonwealth Council, on the recommendation of a National Council. The medal, pin and certificate are presented at a Branch or national Investiture Ceremony.
The Honorary Life Governor Award is reserved for senior members of a National Council or members of the Commonwealth Council who have given an additional four years of outstanding service to the Society as a whole. A Branch may nominate an individual, but the award can be conferred only by the Commonwealth Council, on the recommendation of a National Council. The medal, pin and certificate are presented at a Branch or national Investiture Ceremony.
The Vice President Award is the highest honour available, and it is normally reserved for a National President or senior National Representative on the Commonwealth Council. This honour may be recommended by a Branch, but it can be granted only by the Commonwealth Council, on the recommendation of a National Council. The medal, pin and certificate pin are presented at a Branch or national Investiture Ceremony.
The HRH Prince Michael of Kent Certificate of Merit was launched in March 2003 to commemorate 25 years that His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent has served as the Society’s Commonwealth President.These awards are presented to suitable candidates from around the Commonwealth in appreciation of their long-time involvement with the Royal Life Saving Society. Candidates are recognized for their continued support in advancing the Society’s humanitarian work and for their valuable services to water safety.

Nominations for the recipients of the original 25 awards in 2003 were received from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom and the Commonwealth Secretariat. In subsequent years, HRH Prince Michael of Kent and the Commonwealth Council have agreed that only two or three certificates at the most would be awarded annually.

Nominations for this certificate of merit are made through the Lifesaving Society National Office, which forwards them to the Commonwealth Secretary General and Commonweath Council, who make the final selection.

The Mountbatten Medal was instituted in 1951 by the Society’s then Grand President, The Earl of Mountbatten of Burma. This award is given for the most gallant rescue or rescue attempt undertaken throughout the Commonwealth by the holder of a Royal Life Saving Society award.Six Canadians have been the proud recipients of this medal since its inauguration.

1952 – Robert Wardle, Tilley, Alberta received the inaugural Mountbatten Medal
1963 – Kenneth D. Howlett, Edmonton, Alberta
1964 – Lynda Dann, Vulcan, Alberta
1975 – Gordon Penner, Winnipeg, Manitoba
1996 – Doug Trentowsky, Saint John, New Brunswick
1999 – Vanessa Bailey, Calgary, Alberta

Nominations for the Mountbatten Medal are made through Lifesaving Society Branch offices, which submit them to the National Office of the Society. Then they are forwarded to the Commonwealth Secretary General and Commonwealth Council who make the final selection of the recipient from all nominations received.

The Russell Medal was introduced in 2000 by the Royal Life Saving Society Commonwealth as a permanent memorial for Pat Russell, a dedicated Society member. The criteria for the Russell Medal are that it be given to a person 18 years of age or younger who, during the previous calendar year, carried out the most outstanding resuscitation or attempted resuscitation of a person. It was also suggested that anyone nominated for the award would be a member of either the Royal Life Saving Society or one of its affiliated clubs/organizations anywhere in the Commonwealth.Nominations for the Russell Medal are made through Lifesaving Society Branch offices, which submit them to the National Office of the Society. Then they are forwarded to the Commonwealth Secretary General and Commonwealth Council who make the final selection of the recipient from all nominations received.
The Ireland Medal was introduced in 2004 to mark the centenary of Royal Life Saving Society activity in the Republic of Ireland. A specially commissioned gold medallion is awarded annually to an Irish citizen or person of Irish descent for the most outstanding aquatic rescue or rescue attempt anywhere in the world within the preceding two calendar years. For the purposes of this award, Irish descent means that one of the candidate’s parents or grandparents was born in the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland.Nominations for the Ireland Medal should be made to the Royal Life Saving Society Ireland or the Irish Lifesaving Foundation through the National Office or a Branch office of the Lifesaving Society.

Rescue Awards

Rescue awards acknowledge a person who has acted with resourcefulness and courage to aid an individual in distress. The Society acknowledges rescuers through four awards:

A Letter of Commendation acknowledges a successful rescue made by a person who does not hold a Lifesaving Society proficiency award. It is not merely an expression of recognition for an heroic act, but also a means of introducing the individual to the programs of the Society.
A Rescue Commendation Certificate is awarded to a person who is not a Lifesaving Society award holder and who has performed an outstanding rescue. Recommendations for Rescue Commendations must be made to the National Rescue and Honour Chair within a year of the incident and must include proper documentation about the incident.

The person is presented with the certificate at a Branch Investiture Ceremony or Annual General Meeting.

The award is named in honour of M.G. Griffiths, who was a pioneer in the Royal Life Saving Society and instrumental in the introduction of the Canadian Alternatives to the rescue procedures. He paved the way not only to the modernization of the proficiency awards, but also to the formation of the Royal Life Saving Canada National Office in 1960.

The M.G. Griffiths Certificate is presented to a Lifesaving Society proficiency award holder who performs a significant rescue using approved techniques in an attempt to save a life.

Recommendations for recipients of M.G. Griffiths Certificates must be made to the National Rescue and Honour Chair within a year of the incident and must include proper documentation about the incident.

The person is presented with an M.G. Griffiths Certificate at a Branch Investiture Ceremony or Annual General Meeting.

The M.G. Griffiths Plaque is the highest Canadian rescue award given by the Lifesaving Society.

This award is named in honour of M.G. Griffiths who was a pioneer in the Royal Life Saving Society and instrumental in the introduction of the Canadian Alternatives to the rescue procedures. He paved the way not only to the modernization of the proficiency awards, but also to the formation of the Royal Life Saving Canada National Office in 1960.

An M.G. Griffiths Plaque acknowledges significant acts of bravery while performing an exceptional rescue, by an individual who hase been taught rescue methods through the Society’s proficiency award program.

Recommendations for recipients of M.G. Griffiths Plaques must be made to the National Rescue and Honour Chair within a year of the incident and must include proper documentation about the incident.

The person is presented with an M.G. Griffiths Plaque at a Branch Investiture Ceremony or Annual General Meeting.