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Health and Community Services
June 1, 2011

Awards Presented to Newfoundland and Labrador Seniors of Distinction

The continued contribution of seniors throughout Newfoundland and Labrador was recognized today at the 2011 Seniors of Distinction Awards ceremony. The Honourable Jerome Kennedy, Minister of Health and Community Services and Minister Responsible for Aging and Seniors, presented seven awards to distinguished seniors.

“The seven men and women honoured today represent the very best in community involvement, dedication and participation and have been recognized for their continued work in their communities,” said Minister Kennedy. “Seniors throughout Newfoundland and Labrador help make positive contributions to our communities and our province. Our government recognizes these substantial contributions and continues to support and invest in programs that encourage active healthy lifestyles in our senior population.”

The Seniors of Distinction Awards recognize and celebrate the contributions, achievements and diversity of seniors throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. To be eligible for the awards, a senior must be nominated by an individual or group, be 50 years of age or older, and be a current or past resident of Newfoundland and Labrador. Seniors are considered for both voluntary and paid work and nominations from last year were reviewed again this year at the request of the nominee.

This year’s award winners are:

The awards ceremony is the official kick-off of Seniors’ Month in Newfoundland and Labrador which is celebrated each year in June.

“We know that fostering health and well-being for our seniors results in healthier communities,” said Minister Kennedy. “Our government continues to promote healthy lifestyles in seniors, through programs such as the Seniors of Distinction Awards, our Age-Friendly Newfoundland and Labrador Grants Program and our Healthy Aging Seniors Wellness Grants Program. Seniors’ Month provides us with another opportunity to recognize and support all seniors living in Newfoundland and Labrador.”

The Seniors of Distinction Awards Program is one initiative of the Provincial Healthy Aging Policy Framework which was launched by the Provincial Government in 2007. Budget 2011 Standing Strong: For Prosperity. For Our Future. For Newfoundland and Labrador includes approximately $7.5 million through the policy framework for the continuation of several programs and initiatives aimed at enhancing the lives of seniors. The priority directions outlined in the policy framework are: recognition of older persons; celebrating diversity; supportive communities; financial well-being; health and well-being; and, employment, education and research.

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Photo: The 2011 Seniors of Distinction Awards were presented June 1, 2011 to seven distinguished seniors from throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. The awards celebrate the contributions, achievements and diversity of seniors in the province.

Front row (L-R): Mary Bartlett Smith; Lillian Parsons; Eileen Hann; Aneitha Sheaves. Back row (L-R): Hon. Jerome Kennedy, Minister of Health and Community Services; Major William Tilley; Rev. Arthur G. Elliott; Albert Dober; Keith Hutchings, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and Community Services.

Media contact:
Jennifer Tulk
Director of Communications
Department of Health and Community Services
709-729-1377, 699-6524

Recipients of the 2011 Seniors of Distinction Awards

Albert Dober
A native of Marystown, Albert Dober is the father of four children, a skilled educator and administrator and an ardent community leader. Mr. Dober worked as a teacher and principal, and then Supervising Inspector of Schools with the Department of Education, before becoming a School Board Superintendent for the Burin Peninsula in 1969. He holds two graduate degrees in education. In the 1970s and 80s, Mr. Dober was chair of the Burin Peninsula Hospital Committee which successfully advocated for a hospital for the Burin Peninsula. He has held key leadership positions with a large array of local, regional and provincial organizations in the fields of culture and heritage, health care, education and community development. Currently chair of the Marystown Heritage Museum, Mr. Dober is co-writing an essay on the history of Marystown, developing a historical archives database for the area, and organizing the construction of a new section of the museum. In 2009, Mr. Dober was appointed to the board of directors of The Rooms.

Rev. Arthur G. Elliott
Reverend Arthur G. Elliott, of Lewisporte, is a respected leader in the areas of spirituality and community development. He is a retired minister of the United Church of Canada and father of two daughters. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Mount Allison University and a Master of Divinity degree from Pine Hill Divinity Hall in Halifax. Reverend Elliott served as a school principal in Twillingate and Port Ansten. He then served as minister of the United Church for 23 years in Bay Roberts, Lewisporte and St. John’s. He held several leadership roles within the church and with various philanthropic initiatives, on the local, regional, provincial and national levels. Currently the Chair of the Lewisporte Area Economic Development Committee, Reverend Elliott works diligently to advance economic development in the area and is an ardent promoter of regional co-operation. He is also a strong and effective advocate for quality health care services in his region.

Eileen Hann
Eileen Hann of Port au Port East has occupied many positions of great responsibility in her community over the years, making it a better place for all. She has served as the Girl Guides Area Commissioner and as a member of their Provincial Council. She also served in a leadership role for many years with the Boy Scouts of Canada and two local parent-teacher organizations. Mrs. Hann is very involved in various activities of her faith community. She has served as president and vice-president of the Twilight Seniors 50+ Club. She also worked for many years as librarian, often bringing books to people who could not get to the library. Here she also helped countless school children with their varied projects and assignments. She was one of the founding members of the Port au Port East Firettes to support the local fire department, and was a member for 12 years. Mrs. Hannn has served her town council for 30 years and is currently mayor.

Lillian Parsons
Mrs. Lillian Parsons is a community altruist from Victoria. She arrived there in 1959 to teach primary and elementary school, retiring in 1993. In addition to her busy teaching career, and her care giving responsibilities as a mother and daughter-in-law, she dedicated many hours to the girls’ choir, volunteens, story time, arts and crafts, Cubs and Scouts, and minor hockey. She served her local church and community in various ways over the years. For example, she was organist for the Victoria United Church, a councillor with the Town of Victoria, vice-president and treasurer of the Carbonear General Hospital Auxiliary, and as treasurer and secretary of the Committee to Erect the Victoria War Memorial. Mrs. Parsons is also known for her good works and kindness. As choir director, she regularly crocheted gifts for church members. She still knits items for newborns and preemies. Her latest project is crocheting neck covers for tracheotomy patients both in hospital and the community.

Aneitha Sheaves
Aneitha Sheaves, of Port aux Basques, is the mother of seven children, a business woman, and a very strong community leader. In 1971, she and her late husband began a family business in the construction industry which is still operating today. Mrs. Sheaves also served as Deputy Mayor of Channel-Port aux Basques and was elected mayor in 1992, 1997 and again in 2001. Mrs. Sheaves was President of the Gateway Status of Women Council from 1989 to 1992 and has spoken to groups of women across the province, inspiring them to become leaders and run for public office. Mrs. Sheaves has also served on the boards of the Dr. Charles L. LeGrow Health Centre and the Western Health Care Corporation. She also sat on several boards promoting tourism and economic development in southwestern Newfoundland. Today, Mrs. Sheaves is once again in a municipal leadership role, serving as a town councillor for Channel – Port aux Basques.

Mary Smith
Mary Bartlett Smith, of Norman’s Cove, is an educator, a gifted musician, a leader in her faith community and a valued leader generally on the local, regional and provincial levels. Trained through the Trinity College of Music in London, England, Ms. Smith arrived in Norman’s Cove in 1965 where she worked as an elementary school teacher for 40 years. Today, Ms. Smith teaches keyboard and theory of music classes and also provides extensive musical leadership for spiritual worship, playing the piano and the organ and leading and accompanying several choirs. She leads the Moving for Health Program, an exercise program for adults. She organizes blood donor clinics and volunteers with many charitable organizations. Ms. Smith has served as councillor and Mayor of the Town of Norman’s Cove-Long Cove. She is a founding member of Green Mountain Lodge, a community-based housing initiative. Ms. Smith has served as a lay member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Pharmacy Board and is presently serving on the Provincial Girl Guides Council.

Major William Tilley
Major William Tilley, from Paradise, has contributed countless hours of work to the Church Lads' Brigade over an unprecedented 85 years of service, spending 63 of those years as their drum major. Described as a piece of our “walking history,” he led the CLB Band as troops marched to boats and trains during World War II. He has been, and remains, an inspiration to thousands of young people and hundreds of officers who have been and are a part of the tradition of the Church Lads' Brigade. Major William Tilley still attends the CLB Armory everyday where he works in the W.G. Tilley Museum. Here he has maintained and expanded the archives that preserve our province’s history. He worked for 44 years with the former Canadian National Railway where he held various management positions. Since his retirement, he has served with the CN Pensioners Association.

2011 06 01             3:20 p.m.

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