Executive Council
December 7, 2007

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 at Government House

At a ceremony at Government House today, eight individuals were invested into the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador by the Honourable Edward Roberts, Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador. Barbara B. Barrett, Elsa Helen Flack, Elinor Gill Ratcliffe, Paul OíNeill, Dr. Nigel Francis S. Rusted, Frances J. Sweetland, Henry Vokey, and Malcolm "Max" Winters were presented with the insignia of the Order. Shirley Brooks-Jones of Columbus, Ohio was appointed an Honourary Member of the Order.

"The spirit of our people, for which Newfoundland and Labrador is renowned, is evident in these individuals honoured today," said Mr. Roberts. "From boat building to philanthropic pursuits, these men and women have made an indelible mark on our province and its citizens. As Chancellor of the Order, it is a great pleasure to bestow this recognition upon such deserving individuals whose efforts speak to their personal and professional excellence. I congratulate each of them for their contributions."

The Honourable Danny Williams, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, who attended the ceremony at Government House today, commended the recipients. "These people are an inspiration to all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. They are dedicated individuals from various regions of the province and beyond, and their accomplishments are outstanding," said the Premier. "Their strength of conviction, innovation and ardent commitment to their ideals sends a powerful message to the people of our province and elsewhere. I extend my sincerest congratulations to the deserving men and women whose achievements we applaud here today."

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.

As Chancellor of the Order, the Lieutenant Governor presented the official insignia of the Order, a stylized pitcher plant, to the recipients. The petals of the pitcher plant are crafted from the provincial mineral, Labradorite. A lapel pin of similar design is also presented to the members of the Order.

Nominations for the next induction into the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador may be made until January 31, 2008 and will remain active for a three-year period. For more information, please visit www.gov.nl.ca/onl

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Media contacts:

Doug Smith
Private Secretary to the Lieutenant Governor
Government House
709-729-4494
dougsmith@gov.nl.ca
Elizabeth Matthews
Director of Communications
Office of the Premier
709-729-3960, 693-7291
elizabethmatthews@gov.nl.ca

BIOGRAPHIES

Barbara B. Barrett
Since arriving in Newfoundland and Labrador from England as a war bride in 1946, Barbara Barrett has devoted the past 61 years to volunteering and sharing her expertise in the realm of theatre arts. She is considered by many as the matriarch of Newfoundland and Labrador theatre.

Ms. Barrettís work is well known throughout the province, and she has participated in the production of more than 1,000 theatrical performances. Her efforts have inspired the creation of various theatre groups and introduced many young Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to the world of theatre. Under her mentorship, countless young artists have learned to build sets, read scripts, display and control emotions and communicate with large groups. As a direct result of her encouragement and influence, many emerging actors have also been empowered with valuable life skills.

Her life-long relationship with theatre has been a driving force in the development of the vibrant acting community this province boasts today. In 2003, in recognition of her dedication, she was made an honourary life member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Drama Society.

As a writer, she has compiled a syllabus on public speaking for Air Cadets; written and illustrated a textbook on drama for the 4-H movement; and was commissioned, in 1985, to write and direct a performance marking the 75th anniversary of Guiding in Canada. She has also published a book entitled, "Theatre Ė My Other Love Affair."

In addition to her pursuits in the arts community, Ms. Barrett has served the Girl Guide movement as captain of the first Air Ranger Company in the province and as Area Commissioner for Western Newfoundland and Provincial Ranger Advisor. She has also found time to teach English as a second language for the Association for New Canadians.

In 1996, she was invested as a member of the Order of Canada. She has presided at 21 citizenship ceremonies and has administered the Oath of Citizenship to more than 500 new Canadian citizens.

Elsa Helen Flack
Newfoundlanders and Labradoriansí awareness and appreciation of the wealth of historical resources in this province have been greatly augmented by the tireless efforts of Elsa Flack.

Ms. Flackís great passion for family history and her desire to inspire others to learn about their ancestry, led her, in 1984, to found the Newfoundland and Labrador Genealogical Society. Due to Ms. Flack volunteering an exceptional number of hours to the development of the society, it grew significantly to more than simple monthly gatherings of like-minded individuals.

Along with other members, Ms. Flack began the arduous task of recording cemetery inscriptions from all over Newfoundland and Labrador. Her exceptional organizational skills have resulted in approximately one million entries into the database of cemetery records, and her attention to historical accuracy has raised the quality of family history publications in recent years.

Building on the efforts of the society, she encouraged communities throughout the province to apply for student summer grants from the federal government. These students, along with local community supervisors, have mapped cemeteries and transcribed inscriptions on headstones which now constitute the permanent records of communities, and have led people to discover the history that exists in their own backyards. She has become a force for community spirit throughout the province.

As editor of the societyís quarterly publication, The Newfoundland Ancestor, for 10 years, she has reached a reading audience of more than 1,500 people. Many of these subscribers were from out of the province and have been inspired to make pilgrimages to Newfoundland and Labrador to research their respective ancestries.

With enormous enthusiasm, Ms. Flack has taught family history classes to countless researchers. She has encouraged and promoted the development of resources and tools enabling anyone in search of their Newfoundland and Labrador roots to do so in an effective manner. The citizens of this province, as well as the descendants of former residents, have been challenged by Ms. Flack to delve into our long history as a people.

Elinor Gill Ratcliffe
Elinor Gill Ratcliffe is known as a humanist, builder, dreamer, visionary and philanthropist. First and foremost, however, she is a proud descendant of generations of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

She grew up in St. Johnís where she continues to maintain a home. In 1974, she moved to Ontario where she met and married Edward Ratcliffe, founder of Arriscraft International. They shared a passion for helping the disadvantaged and, through their company, funded numerous projects in Canada and other parts of the world. She continues to do so since her husbandís death in 2002.

Ms. Gill Ratcliffe graduated from Bishop Spencer College and continued her education in various institutions over the years. In honour of her alma mater and her classmates, she donated a bronze statue of a schoolgirl to commemorate the history of Bishop Spencer College and other girlsí schools of that era. Since then, she has also donated a sculpture "The Rower," located at Quidi Vidi Lake, which honours the Royal St. Johnís Regatta.

Ms. Gill Ratcliffe has also been involved with, and supported, various organizations and projects within the province. She has provided start-up funding for the Send Them Back Smiling Project of the Single Parent Association of Newfoundland and Labrador for the purchase of school supplies and has donated to The Bowring Park Foundation for the reconstruction of the duck pond. She is also a benefactor to The Rooms, the reconstruction of Fort Amherst, as well as the George Street United Church soup kitchen project, just to highlight a few.

She has gained distinction by her genuine interest in and support of local initiatives, as well as her constant efforts to enrich the cultural heritage of her birthplace.

Paul OíNeill
Paul OíNeill is familiar to many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians through his work as a CBC radio and television Executive Producer.

During his time at the CBC, countless local writers, musicians, actors and producers were provided with an outlet for their talent. In numerous radio plays, musical shows and documentaries under his expert guidance, he introduced our rich culture, arts and history to a national audience. On a local level, for 25 years, he created daily radio and TV school broadcasts, in addition to such popular entertainment series as Reach for the Top and Skipper and Company.

Mr. OíNeill also found time to make a remarkable contribution to more than 40 volunteer organizations, mainly as president or chair of such groups as the John Howard Society, the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council, and the Irish Newfoundland Association. He is also well known in the community for his achievements as an actor, writer, historian and lecturer.

He has been extremely active in professional and amateur acting circles and in the arts community as a whole. He founded the Corner Brook Playmakers Company, co-founded the St. Johnís Theatre Arts Club, and ran the Buckmasterís Players.

A trailblazer in Newfoundlandís literary movement, Mr. OíNeill has been published in Canada, the U.S.A., Ireland and Scotland. In addition to his popular work, The Oldest City - The Story of St. Johnís, Newfoundland, for which he was awarded The Freedom of the City, he has 11 other publications in print. He was also the founding president of the Newfoundland Writerís Guild.

He was a coordinator for the Viking Millennium International Symposium and the 2001 Marconi celebrations, as well as the popular Historic Sites Association exhibit, A Place Called Home. His membership on the board of the association has left a lasting mark, which was recognized when the association instituted a scholarship in his name at Memorial University.

Mr. OíNeill has cultivated and promoted the provinceís culture and arts, having developed the careers of some of Newfoundland and Labradorís finest actors, singers and writers, providing them with a forum to grow and express their talent. His contributions extend beyond a half century, and he continues to volunteer, lecture and write about the place he proudly calls home.

Dr. Nigel Francis S. Rusted
Born in 1907 in Salvage, Dr. Nigel Rusted is well-known throughout Newfoundland and Labrador for his distinguished medical career.

His career began during the summers of 1930 and 1931 as a medical student onboard the S. S. Kyle. He was the first medical student to be the health officer traveling along the coast of Labrador. During his postgraduate training, his experience at the Tuberculosis Sanatorium in Kentville, Nova Scotia, proved exceptionally valuable as he became an expert in the diagnosis of tuberculosis without the aid of X-rays.

Aboard the MV Lady Anderson during 1935-1936, the inaugural year of the traveling medical clinic on Newfoundlandís southwest coast, Dr. Rusted was the physician responsible for the health care of 80 communities from Burnt Islands to Coombs Cove. In 1936, he opened a private practice clinic and was appointed junior surgeon at St. Johnís General Hospital.

One of Dr. Rustedís most notable contributions to healthcare in our province was his work in the reconstructive surgery of harelip and cleft palate. Hundreds of Newfoundland and Labrador children benefited from the skilled hands of Dr. Rusted. His expertise was sought even after his retirement.

Dr. Rustedís career has included such prominent positions as: Secretary of the Newfoundland Medical Association; Chairman of the St. Johnís Clinical Society; Medical Director, Chief of Staff and Chief of Surgery of the Grace General Hospital; Chief of the Division of Surgery at St. Johnís General Hospital; Senior Consultant at the St. Johnís General Hospital, St. Clareís Mercy Hospital, the Grace General Hospital and the Janeway Child Health Centre; and the Clinical Professor of Surgery at Memorial University of Newfoundlandís Medical School. Dr. Rusted was elected to the first Board of Regents of Memorial University.

Dr. Rustedís commitment to his profession has not wavered in his retirement, having founded an organization for retired physicians and surgeons during his 90s. At 100 years of age, his legacy is that of a long career dedicated to a profession he loves in the place to which he is devoted and a daily diary he has kept since 1925.

Frances J. Sweetland
Librarian, Girl Guide and Brownie organizer, news correspondent, organist, choir director, Red Cross member, Bonavista Peninsula Health Care Auxillary member and currently on the Executive of the N.L.A.H.A. Ė these are but a few of the titles which can be attributed to Frances Sweetland of Bonavista. She has profoundly touched the lives of many people in the various roles she has taken on throughout her years of service to the community.

Ms. Sweetland is renowned for her dedication to the youth of the Bonavista area. Many young girls have benefited from her enthusiasm and tireless efforts as a leader in the Girl Guide movement. One of her most notable achievements within this organization was a major paper recycling project through which she instilled the importance of conservation and awareness of the environment into numerous Girl Guides.

In her role as librarian of the townís public library, she participated as a supervisor for community service on the Alternative Measures Committee. Since her retirement, she has continued her volunteer activities and currently serves as chairperson of the Bonavista Memorial Library Board.

"Not for oneself, but for others" is the motto that community members associate with Ms. Sweetland. Many groups and individuals with whom she volunteers attest to how she gives of herself simply because there are needs to be met. She is seen as someone who does what needs to be done for the good of others, keeping the vibrant rural community spirit alive.

For more than 50 years, Ms. Sweetland has tirelessly served her church and community in a quiet, unselfish and unpretentious manner. She represents the spirit of volunteerism and has made it a lifetime commitment. She modestly admits that her true reward is knowing that, at the end of the day, she has made a difference in her community and to its residents.

Henry Vokey
The art of boat building, as practiced by Henry Vokey of Trinity, brings together the harvesting of wood from our coastal forest and the skill of the boat builder to shape and craft a sturdy vessel. For more than 55 years, he has used traditional methods to produce upwards of 1,000 boats of all types, including two schooners. He is renowned as the builder of the J&B, the last of the two-masted schooners to be built in the province.

As a craftsman, Mr. Vokey may now be among the last of the traditional Newfoundland and Labrador boat builders. He continues to practice his trade, using wood which he scours the forest to find, fells and limbs the trees himself, and cuts and planes the planks which shape the boats he builds.

As an entrepreneur, having employed 40 people in his shipyard, he has made a very significant contribution to the ship building industry in the province. For decades, he was the largest employer in the Trinity area, and his efforts have influenced two other shipyards which continue to build fishing vessels in Trinity today, employing up to 100 individuals. Mr. Vokeyís influence on the ship-building industry is also evidenced through the maintenance of his vision that the end product is instinctively in the mindís eye of the builder.

A significant contributor to the cultural traditions of our province, Mr. Vokey has willingly taught his trade to the subsequent generations of boat builders in the Trinity area. Known as a kind and gentle man, humble by nature, his life is a testimony to our great maritime heritage. The many boats crafted by his hand have kept Newfoundlanders and Labradorians connected to our coastal community roots, and will live on in our boat-building history.

Malcolm "Max" Winters
Malcolm "Max" Winters is well-known as a leader in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, in particular within the realm of sport and recreation. Over the past 40 years, he has devoted countless hours towards the improvement of his community.

Mr. Winters has introduced, and contributed to, a wide range of worthwhile projects and events. Organizing, coaching, officiating, and generally assuming a leadership role in an impressive number of recreation and sport activities, he has clearly demonstrated dedication to his community in a very tangible manner. Notably, through Mr. Wintersí efforts, much needed sport and recreation infrastructure has been established.

In addition to his endeavours in the field of recreation and sport, Mr. Winters chaired the committee that established the Happy Valley-Goose Bay Ground Search and Rescue Project and he has participated on the Melville Hospital In-Service Committee. His efforts as a member of the Board of Directors of the Labrador Inuit Development Corporation and the Inuit Land Selection negotiating team culminated in an agreement with the Government of Canada and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador establishing Nunatsiavut.

Mr. Wintersí efforts have been recognized as going well beyond what is expected of a volunteer by a number of people and organizations. He is the recipient of the 2001 Newfoundland and Labrador Volunteer Service Medal, the 2001 Pitcher Plant Award, the 2002 Male Aboriginal Coach, and first native Labradorian inducted into the Newfoundland and Labrador Softball Hall of Fame.

Mr. Winters is considered by many to be easy-going but determined. He is cooperative, considerate and possesses a unique strength of character. His life is overflowing with numerous good works Ė works that have influenced the lives of many athletes, and others, through volunteerism that is second to none.

Shirley Brooks-Jones
When the world came to a virtual standstill on September 11, 2001, as a result of the terrorist attacks in the United States, approximately 6,000 airline passengers were diverted to Gander, of which about 800 were situated in Lewisporte.

One of those 800 passengers was Shirley Brooks-Jones from Columbus, Ohio, who settled in at the Lewisporte Lions Centre. Within a relatively short period of time, Ms. Brooks-Jones began helping other passengers and volunteers. By the time her plane was able to resume its flight, she had established many lasting friendships.

When their flight home resumed, Ms. Brooks-Jones, along with the other passengers on Delta Air Line Flight Number 15, decided to create a lasting tribute to the people of Lewisporte for their kindness under such extraordinary circumstances. A scholarship fund for graduates of Lewisporte Collegiate began that day with donations from Ms. Brooks-Jones and the other Delta Air Line Flight 15 passengers and crew. Through her hard work and dedication, people throughout the United States, Canada, and other countries, have, to date, contributed over $800,000 in cash and pledges to the scholarship fund which continues to grow.

Since September 11, 2001, Ms. Brooks-Jones has recounted her story on hundreds of occasions and has returned to Lewisporte to visit friends and present some of the 84 scholarships to students of Lewisporte Collegiate. She is held in high esteem throughout the community as someone who seized an opportunity to generate a positive and lasting legacy in the midst of a very trying situation.

Ms. Brooks-Jones is a wonderful example of one person with a vision, and the energy and determination that can turn that vision into reality. To the people of Lewisporte, she is a remarkable woman who continues to reaffirm her love and appreciation for the help and hospitality she received in her hour of need from Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.


2007 12 07                                                  10:30 a.m.

 


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