Ernest McPherson was uncertain about how to travel 250 kilometers from Meadow Lake to Saskatoon to receive the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal.
The 54-year-old homeless man contemplated hitch-hiking, but he eventually asked Natanis Bundschuh, the manager of the local soup kitchen where he eats lunch every day, for a ride to the downtown Saskatoon hotel to receive the medal for his public service.
Bundschuh, the executive director of Meadow Lake Outreach Ministries, expressed excitement at seeing someone in their community receive such an honor for going above and beyond for people they do not have to care about but choose to do so.
The Saskatchewan government awarded 7,000 Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medals to recognize significant contributions and achievements, with McPherson being one of 100 Métis citizens receiving the medal during special ceremonies hosted by Métis Nation-Saskatchewan.
In November, CBC News shared McPherson’s story of night patrols where he searched for vulnerable people who needed a place to warm up after 4 p.m. CST or on weekends in Meadow Lake. His story inspired Meadow Lake Outreach Ministries to open the Door of Hope drop-in center overnight as a warming spot.
The temporary shelter accommodates up to 15 people on a really cold night, and it will remain open overnight until the end of March, when the weather warms up.
Thanks to community action, the Home Plate Emergency Shelter is now in progress, with Kirt Prete, the owner of PineRidge Ford auto dealership, leasing an old church hall to the coalition for $1 and donating $20,000 cash.
The owner of a construction company, Al MacFarlane of Meadow Lake Properties, donated $20,000 in materials and labor. The city of Meadow Lake updated zoning bylaws to allow for the shelter and donated beds from an old seniors’ home.
The coalition has received a major grant from the Métis Nation–Saskatchewan to start a transitional housing program and plans to hire a project manager in the next couple of months.
McPherson’s only shelter, a truck camper propped up on a stand, burned down, leaving him back on the streets. But now he can find refuge at the warming center overnight and hopes for an emergency homeless shelter or transitional housing in the near future.»Ernest McPherson, the homeless man who received Queen’s Jubilee Award for saving others«