The medal was created in 2012 to mark the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the Throne as Queen of Canada, and is used as a way for the country to honour her service to Canada. 

Hedges, fresh off of an appearance in the Americas Cup with the national team, says that it’s a great feeling to be recognized with the award.

“It’s a great honour, and it’s pretty special to be here at home with friends and family,” Hedges says. “I haven’t been home in quite a while, and to have this kind of experience and receive the medal, it’s a great honour to be recognized that way by my country and province.”

Local MP Bob Zimmer says that Hedges is an athlete the community can look up to, as he’s had a number of successes in sport despite facing personal obstacles.

“I think just the fact that he’s a wheelchair athlete, he’s met adversity and met it face on,” Zimmer explains. “He’s really achieved a lot of great things because of that. He’s come out of that with awards internationally, won national championships in the United States, and won Olympic medals. He’s used his spot for positive, and is inspiring others.”

For Hedges and the National team, they now have two years to prepare for the upcoming 2015 Parapan American Games in Toronto. The games will serve as a qualifier for the upcoming Paralympic games in 2016 in Rio.