Minister Announces 2015 Seniors of Distinction Honourees

by ahnationtalk on June 30, 20151291 Views

June 30, 2015

Minister Announces 2015 Seniors of Distinction Honourees

As Seniors Month draws to an end, the Honourable Clyde Jackman, Minister of Seniors, Wellness and Social Development, today announced the recipients of the 2015 Seniors of Distinction Awards. The annual awards are presented to individuals in recognition of their significant achievements and the contributions they have made to their communities, regions and the province as a whole.

“The Seniors of Distinction Awards provide an opportunity to show our appreciation to older adults from all walks of life who have made, and continue to make, a valuable contribution to our communities. I offer my sincere congratulations and thanks to this year’s recipients who have shared their time, talents and expertise over the course of their lives in order to build a better Newfoundland and Labrador.”
– The Honourable Clyde Jackman, Minister of Seniors, Wellness and Social Development

This year’s recipients of the Seniors of Distinction Awards are Rita Andersen of Nain, Arthur Daye of Grand Falls-Windsor, Theresa Hann of Port au Port East, Goward Heath of St. John’s, and Petrinella Hodder of St. Lawrence. A formal awards ceremony and reception will take place in October.

For more information on this year’s recipients, see the backgrounder below.

The awards program was initiated in 2009 as an initiative of the Provincial Healthy Aging Policy Framework. The framework provides key directions for government to prepare for the needs of an older population under six priority directions: recognition of older adults, celebrating diversity, supportive communities, financial well-being, health and well-being, and employment, education and research.

For more information on the Seniors of Distinction awards, visit:


The Honourable Clyde Jackman, Minister of Seniors, Wellness and Social Development today announced the recipients of the 2015 Seniors of Distinction Awards.
This year’s recipients are Rita Andersen of Nain, Arthur Daye of Grand Falls-Windsor, Theresa Hann of Port au Port East, Goward Heath of St. John’s, and Petrinella Hodder of St. Lawrence.
A formal awards ceremony and reception will take place in October.
The award recipients were selected by a three-person committee comprising a previous Seniors of Distinction Awards recipient, a member of the Provincial Advisory Council on Aging and Seniors and a member of the Provincial Government’s Interdepartmental Working Group on Aging and Seniors.
Nominees must be 50 years of age or older and be a current or past resident of Newfoundland and Labrador. Posthumous awards may also be given.

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Media contact:
Heather May
Director of Communications
Department of Seniors, Wellness and Social Development
709-729-0928, 697-5061

BACKGROUNDER Recipients of the 2015 Seniors of Distinction Awards

Rita Andersen – Nain
Born in 1950, Rita Andersen is a much-respected and well-known Inuit Elder. She is the longest serving employee of the Labrador Inuit Association/Nunatsiavut Government and currently holds the position of Interpreter/Translator Coordinator. With plans to retire later in 2015, Ms. Andersen has had a nearly 40-year career working tirelessly in preserving, protecting and enhancing Labrador Inuktitut. Ms. Andersen is very passionate about the need to ensure that the Inuktitut language survives and flourishes. She takes time to teach the language to as many people as possible, including training all new interpreter/translators hired by the Nunatsiavut Government. The Inuit culture is very communal, and people work together effectively as a group; however, there are always those individuals whose talents and contributions are deemed remarkable, and Rita Andersen is one of those people.

Although she is Inummagik, a traditional Inuk, strong in culture and language, she has been the key person in harnessing modern technology to the goals of the community, through publishing and the latest technical software.

Arthur Daye – Grand Falls-Windsor
Arthur Daye was born in 1938 and raised in North Sydney, Nova Scotia. In 1957 he joined the RCMP and spent his entire 25-year career in Newfoundland and Labrador. Later, Mr. Daye worked with Abitibi- Price (1981-1990) as Chief of Security and Fire Chief and from 1991-1997 as Security Crew Chief at the Bull Arm Hibernia Construction Site. He has been a long-standing member and volunteer with the Kiwanis Club of Grand Falls-Windsor, and particularly active with the annual music festival. In addition, Mr. Daye has been a member of the Canadian Red Cross, Exploit’s Valley Branch, for many years during which time he has supported several humanitarian programs and services including Water Safety, Disaster Relief and Response and Fund Development.

Mr. Daye was awarded the Kiwanis Foundation of Canada Mel Osbourne Fellowship for long and distinguished service in 1997. He has been active with the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Parish since 1975, where he has been a Liturgical Reader and Lector of the Word at Sunday masses for nine years, and is in the first year of a three-year term as Extra Ordinary Minister of Holy Communion. He was named the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor Citizen of the Year in 2004.

Theresa Hann – Port au Port East
Born in 1939, Theresa Hann’s life has been the very definition of volunteerism. Ms. Hann was the Town Clerk in Port au Port East for 27 years before retiring in 1999. Active in the Maria Regina Parish Community, she was a member of the Parish Women’s Groups, is a member of the Bereavement Team, and has been a tireless fundraiser. Ms. Hann has been very active in Girl Guides and Brownies, Firettes, and continues to be active in the Twilight 50+ Club. For more than16 years she has organized the annual “Tree of Love” celebration, which raises funds for the Sir Thomas Roddick Hospital Foundation.

A cancer survivor for more than 21 years, Ms. Hann is also very involved with organizing the Terry Fox Run Marathon of Hope in the Port au Port area. She has taught square dancing to children and seniors and, in 1992, Ms. Hann was awarded the Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada. The Western Regional Health Authority recognized her involvement and participation by including her photo in the 2012 Healthy Aging calendar. It is said that Ms. Hann’s positive energy permeates the Town of Port au Port East.

Goward Heath – St. John’s
Born in 1915, Goward Hatfield Heath grew up on Fogo Island and lived for more than 62 years in the Town of Lewisporte before moving to St. John’s in 2011. Mr. Heath will celebrate his 100th birthday in October, making him one of Newfoundland and Labrador’s oldest Second World War veterans. He joined the Royal Navy in 1940 and served throughout the war. He remained with the military until 1945. During the post-war years Mr. Heath and 15 former servicemen helped form Branch #31 of the Royal Canadian Legion in Lewisporte. For over 60 years Mr. Heath held posts as President, Past President, Secretary and Treasurer. In 1953, Mr. Heath volunteered with Civil Defence and continued with the Canadian Rangers until 1978. He also volunteered with a unit of the Canadian Army in Botwood, 617 Dambuster Air Cadet Squadron, St. Matthew’s Church and many other committees and boards.

Mr. Heath has been active in the Remembrance Day Poppy Campaigns and the July 1 Forget-Me-Not campaigns. He has received many awards, medals and certificates, including the Jubilee Commemorative Medal (2002), the Meritorious Service Award, and Palm Leaf (the highest award from the Dominion Command of the Royal Canadian Legion) and the Year of the Veteran Award (2005). Since moving to Tiffany Village Retirement Home Mr. Heath continues to use his woodworking talent to raise money for charities.

Petrinella Hodder – St. Lawrence
Petrinella (Nella) Hodder was born in 1939 in St. Lawrence where she spent her younger years before moving to St. Bernard’s to teach in 1965. Ms. Hodder and her husband moved back to St. Lawrence in 1987. She began volunteering at the age of 12 and has been active in community, regional and provincial organizations for the past 63 years. Ms. Hodder has been a long time devotee to the Roman Catholic church in the communities in which she has lived, sitting on the Parish Council and Catholic Women’s League. As well, she has been active in Brownies and Girl Guides. A volunteer for more than 20 years with the local long-term care facility, Ms. Hodder prepares tea parties, cooks special meals, takes residents for walks, and provides friendship, companionship and support to residents.

A truly compassionate woman, Ms. Hodder is the person who sits with lonely people during their final days in palliative care, particularly those who have few or no family members around. She has spent endless hours of dedicated service to the Canadian Cancer Society, the Newfoundland and Labrador Lung Association and St. Lawrence Cancer Support group, to name a few. Ms. Hodder’s legacy will be the promotion of her community, her perseverance and persistence in getting things done, and her engagement in volunteer work.


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