Today Pipe Sgt. Matthew Yuen was presented an Ottawa Police Service Chief’s Commendation by Chief Charles Bordeleau, in the presence of the OPS senior executive and band management. This prestigious award is in respect of his diligent and sustained effort in the performance of his duties as a leader with the pipe band, which effort has significantly exceeded that which is normally expected of band members or any civilian volunteer. Not only is this commendation extremely rare amongst sworn officers, this is the first occasion it has been awarded to an OPS volunteer.
Pipe Sgt. Yuen has been a member of the OPS Pipe Band since 1994 when he joined the band as a journeyman piper. Almost immediately, the late Pipe Major Supt. Pat Hayes noted that Matt possessed the skills, abilities, and work ethic, to advance quickly into one of the premier players and ambassadors for the Service in uniform.
Matt has been a software engineer project planner for Nortel and Ciena since he joined the band, and even with his significant and hectic schedule within those organizations, he has managed to volunteer and devote huge amounts of his own personal time over the years towards improving the OPS Band, within performances, parades, and weekly band practices. In 20 years, he has given over 6,000 volunteer hours in the OPS Band uniform or at practice, with probably several thousand more away from the band planning, preparing, and organizing his leadership for the band when the senior leadership was away, or in developing other components of the band for performances. His attendance over the years is close to 100% annually.
Matt is unique in that his extreme devotion to the band led him to take up side drumming as well. He did this not only for his own benefit but for the benefit of the band in playing either instrument when numbers required.
Pipe Sgt. Yuen was promoted to his current rank in the band after an extensive selection process. Since taking on this role, he prepares and leads band practices for the bands as needed. This includes pipers, drummers, and dancers. Along with playing and instructing in the band, he assists in choosing new music, arranging and scoring music, and this includes drum scores coordinating ensemble playing between the pipe and drum corps.
Over the years, his unbridled passion and professionalism as a volunteer wearing the OPS uniform have had an immense positive impact on the organization and the community. His work ethic and commitment are unequalled, and his humility and dedication to helping others as an ambassador for the OPS have made all the band’s leadership proud.