Norm Crerar (Don Weixl photo)

Vernon tattoo founder earns Governor General medal

Norm Crerar to be awarded Meritorious Service Medal

The founder of the Okanagan Military Tattoo has earned a major honour.

Vernon’s Norm Crerar will receive, from Governor General, the right honourable Julie Payette, the Meritorious Service Medal, presented to Canadians to recognize the outstanding accomplishments that set an example for others to follow and bring benefit to the country.

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“I feel honoured and humbled,” said Crerar, who received a call in the summer about the medal as he was going into a committee meeting for the 2018 Tattoo. He was informed the medal was in recognition of starting the tattoo.

“There are heaps of people who make the tattoo happen,” said Crerar. “It was just my idea. Lots of good friends work on the tattoo with me. At least, I still think they’re friends.”

Crerar, in 2012, returned from a pipe band event in Vancouver. His pipe band, the Kalamalka Highlanders, had been invited to perform at a halftime show at B.C. Place at a B.C. Lions football game, a Tribute to Veterans. There were 10 pipe bands and five brass and reed bands, 400 musicians in total.

“We marched down the length of the field, played Amazing Grace and marched back,” said Crerar. “Speaking with our pipe band president at the time, Craig Tilander, I mentioned that this is what it must feel like to be in a tattoo, and he agreed.”

When Crerar got back to Vernon, he called up friend Derek Hall, a military historian, and, with a group of like-minded people, started making plans for the inaugural Okanagan Military Tattoo.

“Derek and I are the only ones left from the initial group, but we have gathered up some very dedicated people, hundreds of volunteers and community sponsors to put on the very successful Okanagan Military Tattoo over the past five years,” said Crerar.

The sixth annual Okanagan Military Tattoo is set for July 27 and 28, 2019, at Kal Tire Place.

No date for a ceremony for Crerar’s medal presentation has been established.

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