MUNICH – A Canadian soldier from The First Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment (1 RCR) based in Petawawa, Ontario, was presented with the Peace Through Dialogue Medal on Saturday, February 9 in Munich, Germany.
The award has been presented to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) by the Munich Conference on Security Policy. The medal is awarded at the Conference each year to honour outstanding contributions to international peace and security. Previous recipients include EU's foreign policy chief Javier Solana, U.S. Senator John McCain, who's vying for the Republican presidential nomination, and former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan.
NATO requested thatthe Canadian Forces provide a representative toreceive the tribute. They chose Pte. Michael O'Rourke, who was awardedCanada's Medal of Military Valour in 2006 for braving enemy fire to assist in the treatment and evacuation of his fellow soldiers trapped in a disabled vehicle during Operation Medusa in Afghanistan.
Speaking at the ceremony, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Schaeffer said "Today, he is representing all the men and women in uniform to whom we in NATO owe a tremendous debt of gratitude."
Pte Michael O'Rourke was pleased that he has been selected by the Canadian Forces to accept this award on behalf of all NATO soldiers. "I'm very proud and honoured. It's a once in a lifetime chance to represent not only my country alone but the other countries that belong to NATO."
The 44th Munich Conference on Security Policy is an annual event, which bring together some 250 high-ranking elected and appointed government officials, defence experts and media representatives from around the world in an informal setting to discuss transatlantic security and defence issues.