(Columbia Basin) – Thanks to his significant contributions to the Columbia Basin, Kimberley’s Garry Merkel is receiving a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
“Garry is an exceptional visionary with strong leadership qualities,” said Greg Deck, CBT Chair. “Through his significant professional accomplishments and extensive volunteer work, he continually gives back and inspires and motivates others. His impacts on CBT and the Basin have been profound.”
Merkel was instrumental in the formation of Columbia Basin Trust (CBT), first as part of the committee that negotiated with the Province of BC for the establishment of CBT, and then as a founding member of CBT’s Board. He served as Vice-Chair from 1995 to 2006, then Chair from 2006 to 2012.
“Over the past decade, I have had the pleasure of getting to know Garry Merkel. Garry is first and foremost a gentleman—courteous, thoughtful and respectful. He is also a strong community leader who I have learned from and admire enormously,” said Hon. Bill Bennett, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, and MLA for Kootenay East.
Merkel’s outstanding achievements extend beyond CBT. His current roles include: Treaty Negotiator and Advisor to the Ktunaxa Nation Council; Board member and past Chair, Nicola Valley Institute of Technology; Chair, Tahltan Nation Development Corporation; Co-Chair, Ministry of Forests Practices Advisory Council; and Board Member, Columbia Basin Broadband Corporation.
He holds a Bachelor of Science, Forestry (with Honours), from the University of Alberta and an Honorary Degree of Arts from the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology, and is a registered professional forester. He has managed various local, provincial, national and international projects for government, industry, Aboriginal organizations, schools and communities, and has been involved in creating many corporations, associations, governance structures and foundations.
The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal was created to mark the 2012 celebrations of the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the Throne as Queen of Canada. It is a tangible way for Canada to honour Her Majesty for her service to this country, plus serves to honour significant contributions and achievements by Canadians.