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Health and Community Services
June 28, 2013

Seniors of Distinction Awards Celebrate the Contributions of Older Adults

Barbara B. Barrett of St. John’s, Ernest Watson Budden of Sop’s Arm, Maisie Clark of Campbellton, Ronald Ryan of Flatrock, and, Joan Stamp of Labrador City, are this year’s recipients of the Provincial Government’s Seniors of Distinction Awards. The annual awards celebrate the contributions, achievements and diversity of older women and men in their communities and regions.

“The diversity of this year’s recipients of the Seniors of Distinction Awards puts the spotlight on the vibrant and tremendous contributions of seniors in Newfoundland and Labrador,” said the Honourable Susan Sullivan, Minister of Health and Community Services and Minister Responsible for Aging and Seniors. “On behalf of the Provincial Government, I would like to thank the recipients for their tireless commitment to their communities and congratulate them on their achievements.”

The Seniors of Distinction Awards Program was launched in 2009 as an initiative of the Provincial Healthy Aging Policy Framework. The framework aims to recognize older persons, celebrate diversity, support communities, encourage health and financial well-being, and support employment, education and research.

“Older women and men are highly engaged in all facets of community—they work, they volunteer and they are a critical part of our society,” said Minister Sullivan. “Through these awards, we are able to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions that capture the strength and spirit of a community.”

The ceremony and reception for the Seniors of Distinction Awards will take place on Wednesday, October 2.

The Provincial Government is allocating over $42 million in Budget 2013: A Sounds Plan, A Secure Future to support seniors’ initiatives. This includes $38.5 million to provide a refundable tax credit for low income seniors; $3 million to support a 35 per cent reduction on driver’s license and vehicle registration fees for seniors 65 years and older; and, $1.6 million to expand Community Response Teams, which provide services to support seniors and reduce hospitalization.

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Media contact:
Scott Barfoot
Director of Communications
Department of Health and Community Services
709-729-1377, 690-6290

Recipients of the 2013 Seniors of Distinction Awards

Barbara B. Barrett, C.M., O.N.L. - St. John’s
Born in Yorkshire, England, in 1922, Barbara Barrett came to Newfoundland and Labrador in 1946 as a war bride.

In 1985, Mrs. Barrett was commissioned to write and direct a performance marking the 75th Anniversary of Guiding in Canada. Mrs. Barrett was captain of the province’s first Air Ranger Company, as well as area commissioner for Western Newfoundland and Provincial Ranger Advisor.

Mrs. Barrett has received a number of prestigious awards. For her work in the theatre, she was invested as a Member of the Order of Canada in 1996 and the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2007. In 2012, the Provincial Government named the basement theatre in the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre the Barbara Barrett Theatre.

Ernest Watson Budden - Sop's Arm
Born in 1917, Ernest Budden learned to make snowshoes as a young boy. To help raise funds for the community church, Mr. Budden came up with an idea in the 1980s to create and sell miniature snowshoes as decorations.

As a means of giving back to the staff at Western Memorial Regional Hospital for the care of his wife who received dialysis, Mr. Budden revived his fundraising and has raised nearly $24,000 for the Western Memorial Regional Hospital Foundation.

Since his wife’s passing, Mr. Budden continues his work and has created a network of merchants and others to assist the Foundation earning him the nickname “the Snowshoe Man.”

Maisie Clark - Campbellton
Born in 1938 and raised in Gambo, Maisie Clark spread her wings at an early age to see the world.

Mrs. Clark’s husband served in the Canadian Forces and throughout his career, she did countless hours of volunteer work on military bases and units to help the families of others serving with the Canadian Forces.

As Mayor of Campbellton since 2001, Mrs. Clark works diligently to research municipal infrastructure, ways to improve that infrastructure, and how to maximize the economic benefits of the town.

There is no job too big or small that Mrs. Clark will not tackle. Up until a few years ago, Mrs. Clark was involved with Girl Guides of Canada in an official capacity and continues to be a great inspiration for these young people, teaching them that learning is fun.

Ronald Ryan - Flatrock
Ronald Ryan, born in 1932, is considered to be a "silent, unassuming pioneer" of the Town of Torbay.

His strong sense of volunteerism is rooted in a natural kindness and concern for others. As a young boy, Mr. Ryan visited the sick and helped the older people in his community. As he got older, on Saturdays he helped cut wood for the clergy and do chores for the Presentation Sisters in Torbay. During the 1950s, he helped cut pulpwood from the Torbay woodlands. The money received from the sale of wood helped fund a new school.

Mr. Ryan assisted in the formation of Torbay’s first town council and became its first deputy mayor.

This council of volunteers worked with partners and businesses to construct the first town council building and purchased a fire truck. Mr. Ryan is an example of what it is to be altruistic and a man of genuine integrity.

Joan Stamp - Labrador City
Born in 1926, Joan Stamp is a well-known citizen of Labrador with more than 50 years of volunteerism.

Mrs. Stamp's dedication to her community, church and to other seniors has been a legacy of volunteerism, leadership, dedication and hard work. She is an active member of her church and on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the founding of Labrador City, Mrs. Stamp received the Benemerenti Medal from Pope John Paul II. In September 2012, Mrs. Stamp was awarded the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Award for her outstanding volunteer work.

She has also been involved with the CNIB, Easter Seals and Girl Guides of Canada. As well, Mrs. Stamp is a member of the Status of Women Council, the Wellness Coalition of Labrador, and the local Community Police Committee.

Mrs. Stamp leads by example, staying healthy and active. As a strong supporter of healthy aging, she has been recognized by the Newfoundland and Labrador Pensioners and Senior Citizens 50+ Federation, Seniors Resource Centre and the Labrador West Seniors Group. Mrs. Stamp is referred to as "one of Labrador City's community builders.”

2013 06 28                            11:05 a.m.

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