Executive Council
Children, Seniors and Social Development
October 4, 2016

Celebrating the Diversity and Contributions of Seniors

Premier Ball Presents Seniors of Distinction Awards

The Honourable Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and the Honourable Sherry Gambin-Walsh, Minister of Children, Seniors and Social Development, presented the Seniors of Distinction Awards to five seniors at a ceremony earlier today in St. John’s. The awards celebrate the contributions, achievements and diversity of older persons throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.

"Each individual honoured today has made special contributions to their communities and their province. Older adults in Newfoundland and Labrador have a lot to offer. They are experienced and knowledgeable, and they are staying involved in their communities for longer than ever before. I congratulate this year’s recipients as well as all those who were nominated for the difference they make in the lives of others.”
- The Honourable Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador

This year’s recipients were announced in June and are Gerald Andrews of Carbonear, Alice Blundon of Carbonear, Russ Murphy of Marystown, David Rex of Stephenville and Reginald White of Mount Pearl.

“Today was our opportunity to applaud and thank five older adults for their contribution to our communities. The individuals honoured today are shining examples of how older adults contribute and shape our province every day. Whether acting as leaders in paid or volunteer roles, or continuing as members of the workforce, older adults help to keep our communities strong and vibrant. It is more than fitting to recognize their efforts through this annual awards program.”
-The Honourable Sherry Gambin Walsh, Minister of Children, Seniors and Social Development

More information on this year’s Seniors of Distinction Award recipients is contained in the backgrounder below.


  • The Seniors of Distinction Awards program was designed to identify and celebrate the contributions, achievements and diversity of older persons throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • This year's recipients are Gerald Andrews of Carbonear, Alice Blundon of Carbonear, Russ Murphy of Marystown, David Rex of Stephenville and Reginald White of Mount Pearl.
  • Recipients were chosen by a three-member selection committee tasked with reviewing the nominations received and recommending five individuals for the award.
  • More information on the Seniors of Distinction awards is available at: www.cssd.gov.nl.ca/seniors/sda/.

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The Honourable Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Honourable Sherry Gambin-Walsh, Minister of Children, Seniors and Social Development, presented the 2016 Seniors of Distinction Awards October 4, 2016 in St. John’s. Seated: Gerald W. Andrews, Carbonear. Standing (left to right): Minister Gambin-Walsh; Russ Murphy, Marystown; David M. Rex, Stephenville; Alice Blundon, Carbonear; Reg White, Mount Pearl; Premier Ball.

Media contacts:

Michelle Cannizzaro
Media Relations Manager
Office of the Premier

Roger Scaplen
Director of Communications (Seniors and
Department of Children, Seniors and Social
709-729-0928, 697-5267

Recipients of the 2016 Seniors of Distinction Awards

Gerald Andrews - Carbonear
Born in 1946, Gerald Andrews resides in Carbonear; but grew up in Port de Grave and never forgot his roots. Mr. Andrews has been described as an educator, community leader, volunteer, author/historian, visionary and devoted father. As an educator, he was knowledgeable, talented, caring and professional. Mr. Andrews was a leading advocate and force behind the design and redevelopment of the port of Port de Grave. The present safe-harbour structure exists today due, in no small part, to Mr. Andrews' vision. His book, Heritage of a Newfoundland Outport: The Story of Port de Grave, is a chronicle of community engagement and determination. But Mr. Andrews’ dedication to community reaches far beyond his Newfoundland and Labrador home. In partnership with his son, he worked to support the development of a school in Ghana and initiated a scholarship fund – to cover 80 per cent of expenses – for two students each year to attend high school outside of the village. This school has presented a world of opportunity for these students; one of whom is presently preparing to start a PhD in Microbiology and Immunology in the United States. No stranger to adversity and challenges, Gerald Andrews is the epitome of commitment, strength and resilience.

Alice Blundon - Carbonear
Alice Blundon was born in 1938. Ms. Blundon served this province as a registered nurse for 34 years but her contribution to the community really intensified after she retired. In 1995, she founded the Fun and Fitness Group at St. Paul’s Parish Hall in Harbour Grace. This group provided an opportunity for adults (mostly seniors) to come twice-weekly to share in the physical, social and mental health benefits of a no-charge fitness routine, led by Ms. Blundon. Having grown from a small gathering of 10 to more than 90, Ms. Blundon’s group was recognized by the Eastern Regional Health Authority and became a template for the Moving for Health program. In fact, versions of Ms. Blundon’s Fun and Fitness groups have been established throughout the province. In 2015, she received the Harbour Grace Sports Museum's Special Achievement Award in acknowledgement of the community enrichment provided by her fitness group. Ms. Blundon has been an active member of the Hospital Auxiliary in Carbonear for 20 years as well as an integral member of the Carbonear Recreation Commission and the Conception Bay North Skating Club. Ms. Blundon’s life in service to her community has not gone unnoticed; she has received numerous awards including the Leadership Award for Women's Health in Atlantic Canada in 2002 and the Queen's Jubilee Medal in 2012.

Russ Murphy - Marystown
Born in 1943, Russ Murphy has enjoyed a more than 50-year career with VOCM radio where he has spent most of those years as the station manager for CHCM in Marystown. Mr. Murphy has championed many community initiatives such as Communities in Bloom, Adopt-a-Spot, Tidy Towns and the Heritage Run Tourism Association. The Marystown Lions Club named Mr. Murphy Marystown’s Citizen of the Year in 1982, and in 2012 he was honoured with an appreciation award from Newfoundland and Labrador Housing for his contribution to social housing. Mr. Murphy has promoted health and wellness in his community and has been a key force in playground-development in the town. He was also on the planning committees for the 1980 and 2000 Summer Games and in 2008 was inducted into the Burin Peninsula Soccer Hall of Fame. Mr. Murphy was a founding member of the Marystown Kinsmen Manor for Seniors and continues to serve on the board. He is a longstanding member of Sacred Heart’s Parish Pastoral Council and is an active Eucharistic Minister and Lector. Mr. Murphy has shown a keen interest in lobbying for improved economic development opportunities, most notably fishing on the Grand Banks and Flemish Cap. Very active with the Chambers of Commerce, in 1999 he received the Harvey Webber Award for outstanding contributions to the chamber movement in Atlantic Canada. To honour Mr. Murphy’s commitment to the Placentia Regatta, in 2014 the Placentia Rowing Club named him a honorary lifetime member of their Regatta Committee and established the "Russ Murphy Media Room" in its new boathouse.

David Rex - Stephenville
David Rex was born in 1942 and for most of his life has offered his energy, education and experiences to refine the social and cultural life of his community and, indeed, this province. As a church member, cub leader, municipal politician and instructor, Mr. Rex’s dedication and passion are obvious. For more than 40 years he has served as a member of the Newfoundland and Labrador’s Occupational Health and Safety Association and 12 of these years were as President. Under his leadership, in 2013 the Stephenville Lions Club was named a Top Five Club in Canada. As a member of the Indian Head Co-op and the Stephenville Lions Club, Mr. Rex helped establish a partnership to support local non-profit and charitable organizations such as school breakfast programs, sick children's foundations, community garden, search and rescue and emergency food service. Mr. Rex is an active volunteer with the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, longtime member of the Kindale Public Library board, and a volunteer with St. John Ambulance as a first aid instructor. His passion for education and understanding makes him a positive role model for people of all ages. In 1999 and again in 2007, Mr. Rex was named Stephenville's Citizen of the Year

Reginald White - Mount Pearl
Born in 1938, Reginald White is a retiree of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro (Nalcor) and a founding member of the Silver Lights Club which represents Nalcor Retirees and current employees with 25 years of service. With the Silver Lights Club, Mr. White has participated in its semiannual Gushue Highway Clean-up under the Adopt-a-Highway provincial initiative. He began volunteering in 1960 when he was elected Vice President of the Kilbride Softball Association and since that time he has served on many committees and executives. An active and committed volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, he has helped build a number of homes over the years. Mr. White even committed to join the volunteer Fire Department in the community of Terra Nova where he has a summer home. He has been very active in the development of amateur sports and three times (1979, 1986 and 1992) has been recognized by the Newfoundland Amateur Hockey Association. Mr. White is a founding member of the Avalon Hockey Referees Association and a member of the Mount Pearl Baseball Umpires Association. When the Canada Summer Games were held in Mount Pearl in 1988, he acted as the Games Officials Coordinator for all sporting events. He has been named Mount Pearl Citizen of the Year and very recently was inducted into the Mount Pearl Sports Hall of Fame.

2016 10 04                              4:15 p.m.