CALGARY - Former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy was among the recipients as Prime Minister Stephen Harper handed out Diamond Jubilee medals Tuesday.

Kennedy has become an outspoken champion for the rights of sexual abuse victims since coming forward in the 1990s about his own abuse by former junior hockey coach Graham James.

Harper was in Calgary to hand out 180 of the medals, which were created in honour of the Queen's 60th anniversary on the throne this year.

He praised the recipients for going above and beyond to serve their communities.

The prime minister said it takes courage and personal sacrifice to perform tasks that are often considered thankless.

"Service comes in many forms, but inevitably it requires vision and perseverance," he said. "Through this medal program, we have been reminded just how widely spread these precious qualities are throughout our great land."

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • The Queen's Diamond Jubilee

    Queen Elizabeth II smiles as she leaves the Sunday Service at West Newton Church on February 5, 2012 in West Newton. Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip braved the snow for a village church service on Sunday, the eve of the Diamond Jubilee marking 60 years of Elizabeth's reign.

  • Queen Elizabeth II smiles as she receives flowers after the Sunday Service at West Newton Church on February 5, 2012 in West Newton.

  • Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (C) accepts flowers from well wishers as she leaves a church service at St Peters and St Paul in West Newton, Norfolk on February 5, 2012.

  • Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L) and The Duke of Edinburgh leave a church service at St Peters and St Paul in West Newton, Norfolk on February 5, 2012.

  • A general view of West Newton Church on February 5, 2012 in King's Lynn, England.

  • Queen Elizabeth II arrives for a Tree Planting ceremony in the Diamond Jubilee Wood on the Sandringham estate to mark her Diamond jubilee on February 3, 2012 in Sandringham, England. Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne on February 6, 1952 after the death of her father, King George VI. Her coronation took place on June 2, 1953.

  • Britain's Queen Elizabeth (L) and her daughter Princess Anne, Princess Royal (R) attend an event in Jubilee Wood on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk on February 3, 2012, to plant a tree to mark her diamond jubliee.

  • Queen Elizabeth II (R) meets guests including Alan Jones (C) during a reception held for members of the media to mark her Diamond Jubilee at Buckingham Palace on November 28, 2011 in London, England.

  • Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge meets guests during a reception held by Queen Elizabeth II for members of the media to mark her Diamond Jubilee at Buckingham Palace on November 28, 2011 in London, England.

  • Prince William, Duke of Cambridge meets guests during a reception held by Queen Elizabeth II for members of the media.

  • Kate Armistead, 12, from Devizes in Wiltshire, shakes hands with Queen Elizabeth II before showing her winning design for an emblem for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in the 12-14 year old category, in a competition run by Blue Peter, the world's longest-running children's television show, at Buckingham Palace, in central London, on March 29, 2011. The Queen described the official Diamond Jubilee emblem as 'splendid' as she hosted a special royal tea party for Blue Peter viewers.