Harjinder Singh Kandola, the president of the Sikh Cultural Society of Metropolitan Windsor, was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal award for his outstanding contribution to Canada through Community service. During a special community ceremony at Windsor Ciociaro Club on Saturday August 25, Ontario Finance Minister and Deputy Premiere Dwight Duncan presented this award to Kandola, who humbly accepted the recognition but said it should be shared by his fellows, family, friends and community.
This well attended ceremony was emceed by Mansimran Singh Kahlon of United Sikhs and local Sikh youth Gursimran Kaur Virk.
Introducing Harjinder before inviting him to receive this national honour, Duncan said, Harjinder Singh Kandola has made an extraordinary contribution to our community and made our province a better place to live.
“We are proud of him and his terrific accomplishment and we thank him for the difference he is making in the lives of not only just the Sikhs but all Ontarians. Indeed, he is a true reflection of her majesty’s legacy. Earlier this year, I was pleased to nominate him for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Governor General of Canada has approved Mr. Harjinder Singh Kandola as recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal”.
Born in India, Kandola immigrated here in 1994 to join his wife Kamaljit Kaur Kandola in Brampton. His pursuit to higher education brought him to Windsor, where he now lives with his wife, his parents and his two children Japman Kaur and Triman Singh.
“We are very lucky to have him in Windsor where he has devoted his spare time for educating youth and Sikh community on Sikh values, heritage, scripture and culture. And moreover, he has helped to educate the broader community about Sikh values to help foster greater understanding of the Sikh Culture that all of us have come to respect and admire”, remarked Duncan.
Duncan said Harjinder Singh Kandola has worked particularly hard at bringing the Sikh community into the broader community, especially working with young Sikhs to help them understand the broader Canadian community. He said this ultimately heightens the understanding between Sikhs and non-Sikhs. Mr. Kandola immediately stood out as a choice for the accolade”, he said.
Harjinder’s longtime close friend Harminder Singh from Seattle WA said he could not even describe Harjinder’s strong personality with his eyes, heart and soul. According to him Harjinder’s character is like the two lines of a great poem “ਮੈਂ ਰਾਹਾਂ ਤੇ ਨਹੀਂ ਤੁਰਦਾ, ਮੈ ਤੁਰਾਂ ਤਾਂ ਰਾਹ ਬਣਦੇ” which means “he does not walk on the pathways. He walks and pathways are made”.
Sharing a story of his life, Harminder said, “There were dark times in Punjab when young people once they leave their home in the morning, till they come back in the evening, parents always thought something has gone wrong with them. A day came, when this happened to my parents also. Harjinder spent almost two months looking for me where ever he could, in each and every police station, meeting people in every place and corner of Punjab and Northern India. Harjinder left his studies in-between for two continuous months till I was found. I would say God gives you life, this brother of mine gave my parents their son”. “So if he is being honored, he deserves it”, he added.