Nine more people have been invested into the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador after a ceremony at Government House in St. John's on Wednesday morning.
The award is the province's highest honour, given for demonstrated excellence and achievement in any field of endeavour benefiting in an outstanding manner Newfoundland and Labrador and its residents.
John "Jackie" Barrett has been involved with Special Olympics since 1987 and became the first Special Olympian to be inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame after setting world records in powerlifting. Barrett says the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador tops all the medals and awards he's won as an athlete.
"For a person with a disability to be invested into the Order of Newfoundland, especially a Special Olympics athlete, it's not just a victory for me, but it's a victory of inclusion regardless of their differences," he said after the ceremony Wednesday.
David Bradley has worked for more than 25 years to help preserve and develop rural Newfoundland and Labrador, particularly in Bonavista. David is also one of the founders and current chair of the Bonavista Historic Townscape Foundation. He says it's nice to be recognized, but it takes lots of volunteers to make a difference.
"The thing about doing volunteer work in any capacity, it always involves a lot of people. So it feels a little bit unusual in a way to be singled out because the work that I've been involved in has gone on for 25 years and many, many people [have been] involved," he said.
Louise Bradley oversaw the development of Canada's first mental health strategy and has been a leader and advocate for mental health since beginning her career as a nurse in Corner Brook. Louise now serves on the board of The Gathering Place in St. John's and was also invested into the Order of Canada in 2019. After recently moving back home from Ottawa, she said it was a privilege and an honour to receive an award like this from her home province.
"I've received many different awards which I'm quite proud of and feel very honoured, but I think this is probably the most special because it is from here," she said.
Fred Budgell has been a tireless volunteer in his community since the 1950s. Budgell served as mayor of Norris Arm for 15 years, as a director with the Lewisporte Area Development Association, as Lion's Club executive member and in various roles with the United Church in Central Newfoundland. He also received the Seniors of Distinction Award in 2012.
"I've had quite a bit of experience and I'm really pleased with how some of the work, most of the work, that I've helped do has gone," Budgell said.
Alice Collins is the former dean of the Faculty of Education at Memorial University and was a driving force behind the development of a PhD program in the Department of Education at Memorial. Collins has also worked on curriculum outcomes and teacher education policy with the province's Department of Education. She says it takes many people to accomplish work in education.
"I share this with so many people, so many talented and dedicated people that I've had the opportunity to work with over the years, and though they don't know it, they do share part of this with me," Collins said.
Marlene Creates is an environmental artist and poet whose work has been presented in more than 350 exhibitions and screenings across Canada and internationally. Creates says it was emotional to be honoured by the province for her work.
"It's not something you aim for, it's not something you try, you just do your best at whatever you can do," she said.
Donald Dingwell is a geoscientist and researcher who grew up in Corner Brook and was later recruited to Germany where he founded, and is currently director of, the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Dingwell has published more than 450 peer-reviewed scientific papers in his field and has received numerous awards, including three honourary degrees and the Order of Canada.
"For somebody like myself who did his education here and then left and made it on the world stage out there, so to speak, it's certainly a special honour that people here and structures here are willing to recognize what I did there as a Newfoundlander," he said.
Lester Powell is a pilot who spent more than 45,000 hours flying in Labrador during his more than 50-year career. Powell delivered mail and ensured there was medical support in some of the most remote areas of the province. He says he was excited to receive the award, but he'll have to consider the weight of the medal when he flies.
"I'm going to take good care of [it], but if I got a big load I'm going to have to leave it home, it's going affect the payload," he laughed.
Dr. Ted Rosales has spent more than 50 years as a pediatrician and geneticist after moving to Newfoundland and Labrador from the Philippines in 1969. Dr. Rosales was the only pediatrician in the province specializing in genetics until the late 1990s. He is an expert in fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and has travelled widely around rural parts of the province.
He says he simply stepped up to fill a need, and to be awarded is a bonus.
"It's nice to be recognized for the things that I love to do, but the things I did just needed to be done," he said.
With Wednesday's recipients, there is now a select group of just 127 Newfoundlanders and Labradorians invested to the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador.