December 14, 2018

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A dozen of the province's brightest honoured

Order of Manitoba 2018 inductees welcomed in legislature building ceremony

TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Ken Opaleke, executive director of the West Broadway Youth Outreach organization, is mobbed after he, and 11 others, received the Order of Manitoba at the legislature on Thursday.</p>

TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Ken Opaleke, executive director of the West Broadway Youth Outreach organization, is mobbed after he, and 11 others, received the Order of Manitoba at the legislature on Thursday.

A dozen distinguished Manitobans received the province’s top honour Thursday, in the opulent legislature building’s chandelier room, which is reserved for only the most important ceremonies.

The Order of Manitoba is meant to recognize residents who have demonstrated excellence and achievement, enriching the social, cultural or economic fabric of the province.

Among the 12 who received the award Thursday afternoon was David Barnard, the president and vice-chancellor of the University of Manitoba since 2008.

During his tenure, the university was invited to join U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities, was selected as the site of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and now holds a highly competitive Canada Excellence Research Chair, which gives the university millions to fund research centres.

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A dozen distinguished Manitobans received the province’s top honour Thursday, in the opulent legislature building’s chandelier room, which is reserved for only the most important ceremonies.

The Order of Manitoba is meant to recognize residents who have demonstrated excellence and achievement, enriching the social, cultural or economic fabric of the province.

Among the 12 who received the award Thursday afternoon was David Barnard, the president and vice-chancellor of the University of Manitoba since 2008.

During his tenure, the university was invited to join U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities, was selected as the site of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and now holds a highly competitive Canada Excellence Research Chair, which gives the university millions to fund research centres.

Also among the inductees:

Ken Opaleke, executive director of West Broadway Youth Outreach (WBYO). When the master of ceremonies called his name, the back corner of the room erupted into cheers and whoops. Outside of the legislature, a group of youth from WBYO were cheering and waving signs, celebrating Opaleke’s award.

Michael P.B. Belhumeur, a Métis elder and veteran who established a volunteer organization meant to support homeless veterans. He couldn’t make it to Thursday’s ceremony.

Jacqueline Blay, an award-winning francophone historian, honoured for her work documenting French culture and history.

Barbara Bruce, a Métis two-spirit elder who was directly involved in the planning of Truth and Reconciliation Commission national events.

Sara J. Israels, a world-renowned pediatric hematologist and oncologist who spearheaded a dedicated space for children at CancerCare Manitoba.

Robert T. Kristjanson, a lifelong Gimli resident and fisherman who brought attention to Lake Winnipeg’s algae problem. He also led the implementation of the Canadian Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.

William Loewen, a businessman and community booster.

Bernice Marmel, 90-year-old advocate for seniors, housing and low-income people.

Robb Nash, a musician who, after surviving a near-fatal accident, began speaking to youth and playing his songs in an attempt to inspire discussion about suicide, bullying and self-harm. Since he began, more than 800 students have sent him their rescinded suicide notes.

Grant Pierce, a cardiovascular medicine researcher who helped develop the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and the Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine at St. Boniface Hospital.

Cheryl Rockman-Greenberg, a physician and researcher renowned for her expertise in metabolic disorders and genetic diseases. This past April, she was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.

The Order of Manitoba was established in 1999.

Lt.-Gov. Janice Filmon, the chancellor of the order, inducted the honourees at Thursday’s ceremony. Former premier Gary Filmon was also in attendance, shaking hands with the honourees.

erik.pindera@freepress.mb.ca

 

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