Canadian Ranger receives national honour for military service

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GG02-2016-0242-060 June 03, 2016 Ottawa, Ontario, Canada  His Excellency presents the Member (M.M.M.) insignia of the Order of Military Merit to Ranger Stanley Robert Stephens, M.M.M., C.D.  His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, presided over an Order of Military Merit investiture ceremony at Rideau Hall, on Friday, June 3, 2016. The Governor General bestowed the honour on 3 Commanders, 12 Officers and 40 Members.  Credit: MCpl Vincent Carbonneau, Rideau Hall, OSGG

A Canadian Ranger from Constance Lake First Nation has received one of Canada’s highest honours for his years of exceptional military service.

Master Corporal Stanley Stephens, 77, was invested as a member of the Order of Military Merit by Governor General David Johnson in a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.

The Order of Military Merit is the military equivalent of the civilian Order of Canada.

“I feel very proud,” said MCpl Stephens. “Everybody’s congratulating me. It’s pretty awesome. I never expected to be recognized like this.”

“I’ve come a long way. I was born on a trapline and that’s where I learned all my skills, my survival skills in the bush. I was brought up like that. I was a hunter and a trapper for many years.”

His abilities to live and survive in the bush are skills he has passed on to the younger Rangers, since becoming a member of the Canadian Armed Forces in 2002. He works closely with Junior Canadian Rangers — the specialized youth program operated by the CAF for youth aged 12-18 in remote communities.

He has served his Oji-Cree community as both chief and council member and is now a highly respected elder. Constance Lake First Nation is 40 kilometres west of Hearst Ontario.

“Things have changed,” said MCpl Stephens. “Things are very different now.”

He has been a proud member of the Hearst branch of the Royal Canadian Legion for 15 years, has served as a vice president, and is their current service officer, assisting veterans in their dealings with the federal government.

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