Executive Council
Seniors, Wellness and Social Development
October 1, 2015

Recognizing the Contributions of Seniors in Our Communities

Five Honourees Receive Seniors of Distinction Awards

Five Newfoundlanders and Labradorians were officially honoured today during a ceremony to recognize their designation as the 2015 Seniors of Distinction Award recipients. The awards were presented by the Honourable Paul Davis, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, and coincided with events marking National Seniors Day and the International Day of Older Persons.

"I offer my sincere congratulations to the 2015 Seniors of Distinction Award recipients. They are representative of older adults throughout Newfoundland and Labrador who are taking on leadership and volunteer roles within their communities and staying healthy, active and involved for longer than ever before. We thank them for their life-long contributions to our province, and the role they continue to play in ensuring those communities remain healthy and vibrant long into the future."
- The Honourable Paul Davis, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador

The Seniors of Distinction Awards Program was launched in 2009 as an initiative under the Provincial Healthy Aging Policy Framework. The 2015 recipients are Rita Andersen of Nain, Arthur Daye of Grand Falls-Windsor, Theresa Hann of Port au Port East, Goward Heath of St. John's (formerly of Fogo Island and Lewisporte), and Nella Hodder of St. Lawrence. The recipients of the 2015 Seniors of Distinction awards were announced in June. For more information on the recipients, see the backgrounder below.

"I commend this year's award recipients, and the older adults throughout Newfoundland and Labrador who continue to offer their experience and expertise in helping to shape this province. We can never thank them enough for their contributions and the positive impact they have had, and continue to have, on our society."
- The Honourable Clyde Jackman, Minister of Seniors, Wellness and Social Development

National Seniors Day is held annually to honour Canadians seniors and to recognize their valuable contributions. The International Day of Older Persons also acknowledges the important contribution of seniors and raises awareness of the challenges faced by many older adults around the world.

"As we mark National Seniors Day and the International Day of Older Persons, I congratulate the 2015 Seniors of Distinction Award recipients and acknowledge the many seniors who offer their time and talents, to support healthy aging and the development of more age-friendly communities. Their efforts are much appreciated."
- Leo Bonnell, Chair, Provincial Advisory Council on Aging and Seniors

For more information on the Seniors of Distinction Awards, see: www.swsd.gov.nl.ca/seniors/sda/.

QUICK FACTS

  • Five Newfoundlanders and Labradorians were officially honoured today during a ceremony to recognize their designation as the 2015 Seniors of Distinction Award recipients.
  • The event was held to coincide with marking National Seniors Day and the International Day of Older Persons.
  • The 2015 Seniors of Distinction Award recipients are Rita Andersen of Nain, Arthur Daye of Grand Falls-Windsor, Theresa Hann of Port au Port East, Goward Heath of St. John's (formerly of Fogo Island and Lewisporte), and Nella Hodder of St. Lawrence.
  • For more information on the Seniors of Distinction Awards, see: www.swsd.gov.nl.ca/seniors/sda/.

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The 2015 Seniors of Distinction Awards were presented today as part of ceremonies marking National Seniors Day and International Day of Older Persons. From back left are: Seniors, Wellness and Social Development Minister Clyde Jackman; Early Childhood and Education Minister Susan Sullivan; Jaime Lundrigan, granddaughter of recipient Nella Hodder, who was unable to attend the ceremony; Premier Paul Davis; and Nunatsiavut President Sarah Leo. From front left are Seniors of Distinction Award recipients Theresa Hann of Port au Port East; Arthur Daye of Grand Falls-Windsor; Goward Heath of St. John’s (formerly of Fogo Island and Lewisporte); and Rita Andersen of Nain. October 1, 2015.

Media contacts:

Heather MacLean
Director of Communications
Office of the Premier
709-729-3581
heathermaclean@gov.nl.ca
Donna Ivey
Special Assistant, Communications
Office of the Premier
709-729 3551
Donnaivey@gov.nl.ca
Heather May
Director of Communications
Seniors, Wellness and Social Development
709-729-0928, 697-5061
heathermay@gov.nl.ca

BACKGROUNDER
Recipients of the 2015 Seniors of Distinction Awards

Rita Andersen - Nain
Born in 1950, Rita Andersen is a much-respected and well-known Inuit Elder. She is the longest serving employee of the Labrador Inuit Association/Nunatsiavut Government and currently holds the position of Interpreter/Translator Coordinator. With plans to retire later in 2015, Ms. Andersen has had a nearly 40-year career working tirelessly in preserving, protecting and enhancing Labrador Inuktitut. Ms. Andersen is very passionate about the need to ensure that the Inuktitut language survives and flourishes. She takes time to teach the language to as many people as possible, including training all new interpreter/translators hired by the Nunatsiavut Government. The Inuit culture is very communal, and people work together effectively as a group; however, there are always those individuals whose talents and contributions are deemed remarkable, and Rita Andersen is one of those people.


Although she is Inummagik, a traditional Inuk, strong in culture and language, she has been the key person in harnessing modern technology to achieve the goals of the community, through publishing and the latest technical software.


Arthur Daye - Grand Falls-Windsor
Arthur Daye was born in 1938 and raised in North Sydney, Nova Scotia. In 1957 he joined the RCMP and spent his entire 25-year career in Newfoundland and Labrador. Later, Mr. Daye worked with Abitibi-Price (1981-1990) as Chief of Security and Fire Chief and from 1991-1997 as Security Crew Chief at the Bull Arm Hibernia Construction Site. He has been a long-standing member and volunteer with the Kiwanis Club of Grand Falls-Windsor, and particularly active with the annual music festival. In addition, Mr. Daye has been a member of the Canadian Red Cross, Exploit's Valley Branch, for many years during which time he has supported several humanitarian programs and services including Water Safety, Disaster Relief and Response and Fund Development.


Mr. Daye was awarded the Kiwanis Foundation of Canada Mel Osbourne Fellowship for long and distinguished service in 1997. He has been active with the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Parish since 1975. He was named the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor Citizen of the Year in 2004.


Theresa Hann - Port au Port East
Born in 1939, Theresa Hann was the Town Clerk in Port au Port East for 27 years before retiring in 1999. Active in the Maria Regina Parish Community, she was a member of the Parish Women's Groups, is a member of the Bereavement Team, and has been a tireless fundraiser. Ms. Hann has been very active in Girl Guides and Brownies, Firettes, and continues to be active in the Twilight 50+ Club. For more than16 years she has organized the annual "Tree of Love" celebration, which raises funds for the Sir Thomas Roddick Hospital Foundation.


A cancer survivor, Ms. Hann is also very involved with organizing the Terry Fox Run Marathon of Hope in the Port au Port area. She has taught square dancing to children and seniors and, in 1992, she was awarded the Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada. The Western Regional Health Authority recognized her involvement and participation by including her photo in the 2012 Healthy Aging calendar. It is said that Ms. Hann's positive energy permeates the Town of Port au Port East.


Goward Heath - St. John's
Born in 1915, Goward Heath grew up on Fogo Island and lived for more than 62 years in the Town of Lewisporte before moving to St. John's in 2011. Mr. Heath will celebrate his 100th birthday later this month, making him one of Newfoundland and Labrador's oldest Second World War veterans. He joined the Royal Navy in 1940 and served throughout the war. He remained with the military until 1945. During the post-war years Mr. Heath and 15 former servicemen helped form Branch #31 of the Royal Canadian Legion in Lewisporte. For over 60 years Mr. Heath held posts as President, Past-President, Secretary and Treasurer. In 1953, Mr. Heath volunteered with Civil Defence and continued with the Canadian Rangers until 1978. He also volunteered with a unit of the Canadian Army in Botwood, 617 Dambuster Air Cadet Squadron, St. Matthew's Church and many other committees and boards.


Mr. Heath has been active in the Remembrance Day Poppy Campaigns and the July 1 Forget-Me-Not campaigns. He has received many awards, medals and certificates, including the Jubilee Commemorative Medal (2002), the Meritorious Service Award, and Palm Leaf (the highest award from the Dominion Command of the Royal Canadian Legion) and the Year of the Veteran Award (2005). Since moving to Tiffany Village Retirement Home in St. John's, Mr. Heath continues to use his woodworking talent to raise money for charities.


Nella Hodder - St. Lawrence
Nella Hodder was born in 1939 in St. Lawrence where she spent her younger years before moving to St. Bernard's to teach in 1965. Ms. Hodder and her husband moved back to St. Lawrence in 1987. She began volunteering at the age of 12 and has been active in community, regional and provincial organizations for the past 63 years. Ms. Hodder has been a long-time devotee to the Roman Catholic church in the communities in which she has lived, sitting on the Parish Council and Catholic Women's League. As well, she has been active in Brownies and Girl Guides. A volunteer for more than 20 years with the local long-term care facility, Ms. Hodder prepares tea parties, cooks special meals, takes residents for walks, and provides friendship, companionship and support to residents.


A truly compassionate woman, Ms. Hodder is the person who sits with lonely people during their final days in palliative care, particularly those who have few or no family members around. She has offered endless hours of dedicated service to the Canadian Cancer Society, the Newfoundland and Labrador Lung Association and St. Lawrence Cancer Support group, to name a few. Ms. Hodder's legacy will be the promotion of her community, her perseverance and persistence in getting things done, and her engagement in volunteer work.

2015 10 01                              10:45 a.m.