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Jim de Bock receives Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship

Jim de Bock

Jim de Bock receives Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship

by Chris Daponte

ALMA - One of this village’s most well known residents has been awarded the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship.

Jacobus (Jim) de Bock was one of 11 Ontarians to receive the medal in a ceremony in Toronto on Jan. 17.

“It means a lot to me,” he told the Advertiser two days following the event.

“It’s an honour to be recognized and it’s a privilege to be recognized.”

De Bock, 74, was recognized by the province as “a dedicated member of the Alma Optimist Club and a former public school teacher, who uses creative recreational activities to promote youth development and the importance of healthy, active lifestyles.”

Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell stated the recipients of the medal “have improved the lives of people in their communities through years of selfless effort.

“Their compassion stands as an inspiration to us all and is a testament to the value of hard work and dedication.”

De Bock, a longtime Alma resident and mainstay at nearly all of the village’s most popular events, school functions, sports leagues and fundraisers, said he was “shocked” when informed in November he would be receiving the medal.

“I was really overwhelmed,” he said. “I was kind of humbled, actually, more than anything.

“There’s so many other people out there who deserve this.”

Over the past four decades, de Bock’s long list of volunteer efforts - a majority facilitated through the Optimist Club - have included: Breakfast on the Farm, the local swim program, Winterfest, Tin Can Curling, T-ball, bike rodeo, Plunger Plop, DARE program, Roadkill Race, beef barbecue, rink building and Alma Environment Fair.

A past recipient of the club’s Optimist of the Year award, de Bock was nominated for the province’s June Callwood Outstanding Achievement Award for Voluntarism in 2016.

He has also been recognized with the Ontario Volunteer Service Award for his efforts with the Waterloo-Wellington Science and Engineering Fair.

He retired in 2003 after 36 years teaching with the Waterloo Region District School Board – “and I still miss it,” he said.

Though no longer in the classroom, he remains a popular mentor for many youths in the area, including some second- and third-generation pupils.

“It’s kind of what keeps me going,” de Bock said of his involvement with local children.

The avid runner explained he remains active to ensure he can continue volunteering.

He still serves a co-coach of Alma Public School’s cross country running club and this spring will celebrate his 40th year as a local T-ball coach.

After four decades of dedication to his community and its youth, de Bock has no plans to slow down or rest on his laurels – he plans to coach T-ball for another decade - despite his most recent recognition from the province

“It’s a gift … but along with that gift comes responsibility,” he said, smiling. “I guess I’ll have to try harder next year.”

Asked about the genesis of his selflessness, de Bock immediately credits time spent volunteering and working for the Mennonite Central Committee in the Kitchener area following high school.

“That kind of set the template for my entire life,” he said.

“Service to others … I’ve never lost sight of it, really.”





January 19, 2018


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