From Ebola fighter to hockey player, Order of Manitoba recipients named


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Their career achievements are as varied as fighting Ebola, raising awareness of murdered indigenous women, and slapping a puck into a net. Their common bond is geographical: they're Manitobans.

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This article was published 12/05/2016 (2339 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Their career achievements are as varied as fighting Ebola, raising awareness of murdered indigenous women, and slapping a puck into a net. Their common bond is geographical: they’re Manitobans.

Lt.-Gov. Janice Filmon announced on Thursday the names of 11 people who are the best of Manitoba. They will be honoured with the Order of Manitoba on July 7 at the Manitoba Legislative Building.

The Order recognizes individuals who excellent in fields that have benefitted the social, cultural and economic well-being of Manitoba and its residents.

DAVID LIPNOWSKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Reggie Leach, a.k.a. 'The Riverton Rifle'

Leading the 2016 recipients are cancer researcher Dr. Dhali Dhaliwal, ebola researcher Dr. Gary Kobinger, former NHL player Reggie Leach and community activist Bernadette Smith.

Dhaliwal, the past president and CEO of CancerCare Manitoba (2003 to 2013), introduced many leading-edge advancements in the prevention, rapid diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

One of the world’s leading researchers in the global fight against Ebola, Kobinger served as chief of the special pathogens program at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg and worked in Africa numerous times as part of a mobile lab team to fight Ebola at its origin and reduce the risk of it spreading to Canada.

Leach, known in his professional hockey career as The Riverton Rifle, endured racism and poverty as a child but played 13 NHL seasons and represented Canada in the 1976 Canada Cup tournament.

Smith, whose sister Claudette Osborne has been missing since 2008, has played a lead role in pursuing justice for Canada’s missing and murdered indigenous girls and women.

The recipients are selected by an independent advisory council that evaluates all nominations received and then recommends up to 12 candidates each year to the chancellor.

Once inducted into the order, members may use the initials O.M. after their names for life.

“While the individual accomplishments of the women and men recommended this year for investiture are wide ranging, they share a common spirit of giving and commitment to community for which Manitobans are known,” Filmon stated in a press release. “Whether their impact is felt at the local, national or international levels, they are each a credit to our province and our country.”

Also receiving the Order of Manitoba are:

• Paul Albrechtsen, a trucking magnate, business leader and philanthropist. Founder of one of the leading bulk transport services in Western Canada, the Paul Albrechtsen Foundation has benefited many organizations including the St. Boniface Hospital Research Centre, which now bears his family name.

• Marileen Bartlett, a Métis woman, community leader and entrepreneur, she has dedicated more than 30 years to leadership in the field of Indigenous employment and training. She is also a firm believer that equitable access to education and training are essential to equitable participation by Indigenous people in the economy.

• Maria De Nardi, the daughter of Italian immigrants, has contributed to the enrichment of Italian culture in Manitoba and was a founder of the Lupa di Roma Sons of Italy organization. She was instrumental in creating the Manitoba chapter of the Italian Chamber of Commerce and also co-founded a wholesale food distribution business serving Western Canada.

• Chief Betsy Kennedy, the longest-serving female chief in Manitoba, became chief of the War Lake First Nation in 2006. She has overseen the development of many health, environmental and economic additions to her community.

• Wanda Koop, one of Canada’s pre-eminent contemporary artists and community activists, who, for more than 40 years, has made a substantial contribution to Canadian art. With more than 50 solo exhibits worldwide, she also founded Art City, offering free art programs for inner-city youth.

• Susan Thompson, the first and only woman mayor of Winnipeg who saw the city through its largest crisis in 100 years, the flood of 1997. She was also the first woman consul general at the Canadian Consulate in Minneapolis and the founding president and CEO of the University of Winnipeg Foundation.

• Wanbdi Wakita, a Dakota spiritual leader, residential school survivor and a veteran of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry peacekeeping mission in Europe. Most recently, he has spent more than 30 years working as an elder in federal, provincial and territorial prisons, and has devoted his life to teaching and healing the relationship between First Nations and non-First Nations people.

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