Fort Simpson teacher Val Gendron has received the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers from the Governor General in Ottawa.

The ceremony at Rideau Hall took place earlier this week, with Gendron among 42 Canadians recognized by Julie Payette for their contributions.

The 54-year-old is well-known in Northwest Territories sports for her tireless efforts to ensure Dehcho athletes have access to a wide range of sports, particularly soccer, hockey, and speed skating.

Gendron was recognized in Speed Skating Canada’s Coaches of Excellence awards in 2014, and won the NWT’s own outstanding volunteer award six years ago.

At the time, her nomination read: “A teacher, a coach, a mentor, and a fundraiser in the sporting community, Val is cheering on youth while advocating team play and participation.

“The memories, friendships, and life skills that Val unconsciously creates through her actions for her children and her athletes are truly the foundation for creating healthy and confident individuals.”

This year’s nomination papers for the Sovereign’s Medal called Gendron “a coach and mentor with local athletic clubs for more than 17 years.”

Her biographical note continued: “She has trained the next generation of athletes in Fort Simpson, building their confidence and leadership through organized sports.”