Every year, the YMCA awards peace medallions across the country to people or groups that inspire and have a positive influence on their community.

The awards honour those who contribute their time and talent to make the world a more peaceful place, locally and globally.

Pictou County’s Scott Jones is one of two people being honoured at a ceremony in New Glasgow, N.S. Friday evening.

Jones was stabbed in the back during a vicious attack over the Thanksgiving weekend, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.

His family and friends believe he may have been targeted because he is gay.

“We wish it was under different circumstances, obviously, but at the same token, it’s a true testament to Scott and how he has handled this situation,” says Dave McIntyre, CEO of the Pictou County YMCA. “He’s taken a very negative situation and turned it into a positive.”

Jones’ story has garnered international attention and his motto of peace “don’t be afraid” is popping up everywhere.

“I think it’s an amazing honour and not a surprise at this point,” says Jones’ former roommate, Amy Punke. “I mean, even before this horrible incident, I believe Scott really encompassed what we think peace to be all about, about non-judgment and acceptance.”

“He just shares,” says friend Andy Cunningham. “He spreads happiness around wherever he is.”

Jones started rehab treatments this week and more than $110,000 has been raised for the 27-year-old man on the Support Scott Jones website.

“Now that he’s in rehab, I think we’ll really get to see, sort of, what happens and how things unfold,” says friend Stephanie Cooper. “What he still needs or what he can do with those funds.”

Jones’ mother, Lois Waugh, will attend the ceremony Friday evening and accept the medal on his behalf.

About 100 people are expected to gather in New Glasgow for a peace walk, to promote the message of safety in the community, ahead of the event.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Dan MacIntosh