Executive Council
Children, Seniors and Social Development
October 1, 2019 

Premier Ball and Minister Dempster Present 2019 Seniors of Distinction Awards

As part of the Provincial Government’s celebration of October 1 as National Seniors Day, the Honourable Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Honourable Lisa Dempster, Minister of Children, Seniors and Social Development, presented awards today to the 2019 Seniors of Distinction.

The Seniors of Distinction Awards celebrate the contributions, achievements and diversity of older persons throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. There were 19 nominations for this year’s awards.

This year’s recipients are Lorraine Best of Paradise, Annie Brennan of Marystown, Noreen Careen of Labrador City, Olga Kinden of Green Island Cove, and John W. McGrath of St. John’s. Further information on each of this year's recipients is available in the backgrounder below.

Today also marks International Day of Older Persons as declared by the United Nations. The United Nations flag was raised at Confederation Building this morning.

“Seniors give so much of themselves to their families, their communities and our province. We truly appreciate the many contributions of all seniors. Through their volunteerism and their genuine care for others, the five recipients of this year’s Seniors of Distinction Awards enrich our society by creating opportunities for others to thrive. I offer them my sincere congratulations on receiving this honour.”
Honourable Dwight Ball
Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador 

"I am always honoured to be in the presence of the seniors in our province, as they make such important contributions to society every day. These five deserving individuals represent the kind and generous spirit of our province and they enrich the lives of everyone around them. I congratulate them on being chosen as the 2019 Newfoundland and Labrador Seniors of Distinction.”
Honourable Lisa Dempster
Minister of Children, Seniors and Social Development 

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Learn more
Minister Dempster Announces Recipients of 2019 Seniors of Distinction Awards

Seniors of Distinction Awards

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Media contacts
Geoff Higdon
Office of the Premier

Gina MacArthur
Children, Seniors and Social Development
709-729-3768, 730-2977


Lorraine Best, Paradise
Born in 1933 and now living in Paradise, Ms. Best has been a long standing seniors advocate, volunteering her time to make the province a safer and more welcoming place. She believes in celebrating age, while she strongly opposes any hint or action that promotes "ageism." Ms. Best is an outspoken advocate and a well-recognized educator, speaker and presenter on ageism and elder abuse. Using her experience as an educator, she has developed curriculum on elder abuse, worked jointly with crime prevention committees and policing agencies, served as a consultant and spokesperson on issues impacting aging persons and has travelled and continues to travel the province presenting on these topics. In addition to serving as a member of the St. John’s Citizens’ Crime Prevention committee for 10 years, Ms. Best has served on the City of St. John’s Seniors Advisory Committee as an Organization Representative for SeniorsNL since 2009. This committee works with city staff and members of council to provide information and advice on a variety of city business. 

Annie Brennan, Marystown
Annie Brennan was born in Marystown in 1930. She is known throughout Marystown and is admired for her humbleness and ongoing commitment to volunteering. At 89, Ms. Brennan still volunteers with the Mercy Associates, a group that maintains a formal relationship to the Sisters of Mercy and assists them in their work. She has previously been involved with the Marystown Family Aid Committee, Canadian Cancer Society, and Catholic Women’s League. In recognition of decades of volunteer work, Ms. Brennan has been named Citizen of the Year by the Marystown Lions Club and has also received citations from the Red Cross and Canadian Cancer Society. 

Noreen Careen, Labrador City
Noreen Careen was born in 1955 and currently resides in Labrador City, Labrador. An active volunteer, Noreen has been involved in community organizations throughout Labrador, including the Status of Women Council, Hope Haven Shelter, Newfoundland and Labrador 50+ Federation, IOC-Labrador West Community Advisory Panel, Labrador West Housing and Homelessness Coalition, and Seniors Pioneer Living. Noreen is a member of the Provincial Advisory Council on Aging and Seniors and is known by the residents of Labrador West as someone who can always be approached to assist and advocate for seniors. 

Olga Kinden, Green Island Cove
Olga Kinden was born in Green Island Cove in 1949 and is an integral member of her community as a regular volunteer. As a Girl Guide leader on the Northern Peninsula for over 30 years, she provided options for young people in an area with limited opportunities for recreation. In addition to her work in guiding, Ms. Kinden served on the Board of Directors of personal care homes in Flowers Cove. Through her work with the Green Island Cove Lions Club, she donated time filling out grant applications for projects to allow people to qualify for employment insurance. She also took the lead in organizing the town’s first Come Home Year – which successfully drew over 1,000 people to the area. These activities are in addition to her roles with the community’s Anglican Church which included Sunday school teacher, treasurer, and co-chair of the Parish Council. 

John McGrath, St. John’s
Born in 1949 and residing in the St. John’s area, John McGrath has a long history of volunteering with various sporting groups across the province. His expertise and services led him to a reputation as honest, dedicated and hard working. In addition to being an active member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Soccer Association (including serving as President from 1979 to 1981), Mr. McGrath established the Masters Soccer Division for players 30 years and older. He also supported increased opportunities for women in the sport. Mr. McGrath brought international sport to the province with the Canada vs. Honduras World Cup soccer qualifier in 1985, as well as the FIFA U18 World Championship. He also served as an executive member of both Sport Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Newfoundland and Labrador Sports Hall of Fame. Mr. McGrath was elected as a member of the Commonwealth Games Association of Canada. In addition to his time volunteering with various sport initiatives, he had a 40-year career as a lawyer and also served as a member of the Mental Health Care and Treatment Review Board and Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC) Complaints Commission. 

2019 10 01                                                    1:25 p.m.