September 8, 2004
The following is being distributed at the request of His Honour, the Honourable Edward Roberts, Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador:
Order of Newfoundland and Labrador recipients invested today
In a ceremony at Government House today, the Honourable Edward Roberts, Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador, inducted the first nine members of the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador. Edgar Baird, Gary Graham, Paul Johnson, Joanne MacDonald, Susan Patten, Linda Peckford, Henry Shouse, Dr. James Tuck and Dr. Otto Tucker were formally recognized for their contributions to the province and its residents.
The Lieutenant Governor, as Chancellor of the Order, presented each of the recipients with the insignia of the Order, a stylized pitcher plant, which was declared Newfoundland and Labrador’s floral emblem in 1954. The petals of the insignia are crafted with the provincial mineral, Labradorite. Each recipient also received a lapel pin of similar design.
"Today, these deserving individuals gathered at Government House to receive the highest honour that a Newfoundlander and Labradorian can achieve," said Mr. Roberts. "They are representative of the contributions that have been made to preserving our heritage, both natural and cultural, as well as preserving our communities. They truly embody the fervent spirit that is associated with the people of our province. It was indeed a proud moment for everyone who participated in the event. Again, I offer my heartfelt congratulations to each recipient of the Order."
Premier Danny Williams said that witnessing the investiture was an extraordinary experience. "I was filled with pride as I watched fellow Newfoundlanders and Labradorians being granted the highest honour the province has to offer," said the premier. "What a proud moment it was for friends and family alike to see their loved ones honoured for their valued contributions to our great province. It was a very prestigious event, quite befitting of the celebrated individuals who were recognized today, and it was a pleasure to share this day with these men and women."
The Order of Newfoundland and Labrador recognizes individuals who have demonstrated excellence and achievement in any field of endeavour which benefits in an outstanding manner Newfoundland and Labrador and its residents. Any person or group may nominate an individual for recognition by the Order.
Nominations for the second induction into the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador may be made until November 30 and will remain active for a three-year period. For more information, please visit our Web site at www.gov.nl.ca/onl
#1: Order of Newfoundland and Labrador recipients
When World War II broke out, Mr. Baird was appointed superintendent of the Newfoundland Overseas Forestry Corps. Then, in 1940, he led a contingent of 960 men out of St. John’s, the largest single battalion ever to leave the province.
Following the war, Mr. Baird returned home where, a few short years later, he led a group of local residents who were lobbying to form a new town site in what we now know as Gander. Up to that time, it had been illegal to build any private homes in the Gander area. He is renowned as the person who built the first private dwelling in Gander in 1951. He was later appointed the first chairman of the Gander Local Improvement District. Under his tenure, most of the municipal planning that served Gander for many years was completed. Furthermore, he is noted to have closed his own logging business and devote his time as a volunteer fire boss during the great Bonavista North fire in 1961.
Mr. Baird has been honored twice by the Town of Gander, having both a street and a local trail named in his honour. In 1987, the Canadian Institute of Forestry recognized his achievements and presented him with the Forestry Merit Award.
Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador (TNL) has benefitted from the outstanding talents of Mr. Graham for over 25 years. As the musical director for TNL’s annual community musical, he has helped the careers of hundreds of amateur performers through his guidance and direction. These musicals greatly impact the community of Corner Brook, and their success is largely attributed to Mr. Graham.
His passion for the musical arts is seconded only by his devotion to the aged and infirmed of the community. He has given untold hours to a local long-term care facility helping patients with their daily activities. He also regularly visits the Alzheimer’s ward at the city’s hospital, exhibiting unwavering compassion and concern regardless of the age or condition of the patients.
The distinguished teaching career of Gary Graham has instilled the highest standard of discipline, performance and commitment within the hearts of countless students in the western region of the province. The seeds of many passions for musical expression and excellence were planted by Gary Graham, a man who is reputed to bring colour and sophistication to his community through his talents.
Paul Johnson established the Johnson Family Foundation in 1987. Since that time, many major projects such as the development of "The Lookout" on Signal Hill, the establishment of the Harbourside Park and Gilbert Memorial, the establishment of the Railway Coastal Museum and the Geological Interpretation centre, to name a few, have been realized. He is renowned for his Grand Concourse Authority, a partnership which bought together the resources of the three levels of government and the university to beautify the capital region and showcase its spectacular heritage and natural assets.
These ventures have been pursued by Mr. Johnson on behalf of the community without ever seeking the recognition that his contributions have deserved. He has also devoted much time and energy to organizations such as the Salvation Army and Rotary. He has been awarded the Distinguished Order of Service Gold Medal, the Order of Canada, as well as an honorary degree from Memorial University.
The manner in which Mr. Johnson conducts his philanthropic work attests to the man behind the projects. He actively participates to ensure that the province receives amenities of the highest quality and does so with the single-mindedness that it is for the betterment of his community. Paul Johnson is held in high esteem by the people of the province for his work toward the beautification and enjoyment of the province by residents and visitors alike.
Ms. MacDonald became the heart and soul of wheelchair athletics since her introduction to them in 1973. Aside from her own accomplishments, Joanne worked diligently to develop the careers of other wheelchair athletes in the province.
After a shoulder injury forced her to retire from active participation in wheelchair sports in 1984, community activism became her new passion. She continues to promote equality and dispel the myths and stereotypes surrounding people with disabilities. She has used her own experiences to reach hundreds of children throughout Newfoundland and Labrador as she participated in school speaking engagements. She is driven by a desire to share her strengths and accomplishments with the larger community, namely the province.
Through her employment, Joanne has furthered her activism by working within the rehabilitation field, community organizations and the federal government. In fact, her work in the field of social and policy development within the departments of Secretary of State and Human Resources Development Canada earned her the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002.
Ms. Patten has taken her business skills and utilized them within the Girl Guide movement on a provincial, national and international level. She has held various positions from Provincial Commissioner of the Girl Guides to treasurer of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. She has served as chair of the Lieutenant Governor’s Advisory Council on the Family and co-chaired the Peter Gzowski Provincial Golf Tournament for Literacy.
The athletic community in the province has significantly prospered from Ms. Patten’s dedication to bettering the lives of the people of her community. She has also focused on assisting with the spiritual needs of her fellow parishioners through the numerous challenging positions she has occupied within her church community.
Ms. Patten’s work ethic is paralleled only by her volunteer ethic. She has made outstanding contributions to the business sector of our province and continues to be a pillar of its volunteer sector. Many residents of Newfoundland and Labrador have been touched by both the ability and compassion of Susan Patten.
In the summer of 1995, Ms. Peckford hosted the first rug school in Change Islands. With a membership of 150, the guild imports some of the best teachers in North America to display their skills at the annual rug school. Additionally, the guild hosts annual displays of their craftsmanship and has a heritage rug registry of more than 400 rugs. This cultural revival came about because of Linda Peckford’s vision.
Her leadership abilities have extended beyond that of rug hooking in her area. She received a provincial award for starting Guiding in her community and a national award for implementing the Scouting movement. Furthermore, in conjunction with the Town of Change Islands, Ms. Peckford has formed a heritage committee to lobby for the community to be granted heritage designation.
The preservation of history, culture and traditions in rural communities continues to be Ms. Peckford’s foremost priority. She has made significant inroads in facilitating the transmission of our culture and heritage to subsequent generations.
In his early years in North West River, he was instrumental in obtaining a cable car as an alternate mode of transportation across the river. He also influenced the building of an outdoor rink in North West River, constructed an airstrip for small aircraft, forged the creation of Snow Goose Mountain (now Mount Shana), initiated the creation of walkways in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and actively sought funding for the purchase of a handicap bus for the area.
Mr. Shouse has been very active in municipal politics, serving as Councillor, Deputy Mayor and Mayor in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. He has been an active member of the Joint Councils of Labrador, the Board of Directors of the Federation of Municipalities on both provincial and national levels. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Goose Bay Airport Corporation and the Board of the Northern Postal Corporation. In the latter position, he has been diligent in bringing about many improvements to postal services in the region.
The youth in the community have been positively impacted by Mr. Shouse’s dedication as an advocate for various programs and causes. Over the years, he has operated a school bus business and carved a place in the hearts of the children he transports. He has contributed to the school system through various means, including the donation of the first computer to a school in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. He continues to act as an exceptional community leader, offering advice on matters of concern and challenging residents to think "outside the box."
Dr. James Tuck
Scholarly research, popular writing, interpretation, education, training, mentoring, community development and tourism have all been affected by this man of international repute. One of his most notable projects is the development of the Colony of Avalon in Ferryland into a source of pride, motivation and economic development for the area. Since the late 1980s, Dr. Tuck has worked hand-in-hand with the people of the area to create business plans, train and supervise archaeological workers, conduct visitations and promote this visionary project.
In 1982, he was elected to fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada. In 2000, he was awarded the Manning Award for Excellence in the Public Preservation of Historic Places. Then, in 2003, the Newfoundland Historical Society awarded him its Heritage Award. He is also the Henrietta Harvey Chair at Memorial University of Newfoundland.
Dr. Tuck’s success in encouraging community development based upon the interpretation and promotion of historic sites is one of the factors that makes him the most respected archaeologist in the province. But, equally as important is his ability to evoke a tremendous sense of pride in place and identity.
Dr. Otto Tucker
A prolific author, he is known for his humourous commentaries on the Newfoundland and Labrador experience. He has also demonstrated his skills before the cameras in several programs promoting the lives and culture of the province.
Accompanying his accolades in the field of education is his co-founding of the Wessex Society of Newfoundland, an association which promotes Newfoundland’s ties to the West Country of England. This connection has resulted in material benefits to the province such as the restoration of the Garland House in Trinity, but has also resulted in educational benefits such as research and study tours between both countries.
Many awards have been bestowed upon Dr. Tucker such as the Canada 125 medal, the Heritage Award of the Newfoundland Historical Society, the Silver Cross of St. George and the honourary degree of doctor of law from Memorial University. His efforts have made significant contributions to both the educational and cultural sectors of our province. He has assisted in the quest to help us identify our strong ancestral ties that make us the proud people we are today.
Media contact: Melony O’Neill, Communications, (709) 729-0557
2004 09 08 2:40 p.m.