Recognizing River Heights residents
In December 2022 and January 2023, I was honoured to present Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee medals to 10 deserving River Heights residents chosen by a panel from about 30 nominations.
The recipients must have made a meaningful contribution to community growth or volunteerism, to reconciliation; to Manitoba’s cultural fabric and diversity, to our provincial pandemic response or to service in the military.
Shelley Sweeney, champion in the preservation of Manitoba’s history was chosen for her contribution to the promotion of Manitoba’s cultural fabric and diversity by expanding the acquisition of private archives at the University of Manitoba Archives and through her work in preserving records related to reconciliation.
Architect George Cibinel, was chosen for his contribution and innovative design for various Manitoba buildings, including the Inuit art centre, Qaumajuq, a first-of-its-kind innovative new museum, home of the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art in the world.
Dr. Hanka Hulsbosch, a long-time physician with Ongomiizwin Health Services, was chosen for her contributions to health care in northern communities including at Garden Hill First Nation (Kistiganwacheeng). She was an integral part of the incredibly successful public education campaign that saw 81 per cent of Garden Hill First Nation’s adult population vaccinated for COVID-19 by April 2021.
Brian Scarfstein, a pedorthist, philanthropist, entrepreneur and businessman, has for many years volunteered his time at the Health Sciences Centre diabetic foot clinic and has provided boots and shoes to thousands of people in need.
Carolyn Trono was recognized for being the founder of the Winnipeg Newcomer Sport Academy, which offers newcomer families developmentally appropriate and culturally safe quality sports programs, connecting children with an incredible community of people through sport and recreation opportunities.
Justin Baraniuk is a talented musician who composes, records, and produces original classical guitar compositions. He has also been very effective in sharing his own mental health challenges to help others while actively volunteering for various local charitable organizations such as Westworth United Church, Siloam Mission, and the Winnipeg Foundation.
Roger Tam, a “Quiet hero in uncertain times” was recognized for his 25 years of service as a pharmacist to vulnerable members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community. He is board member of Pharmacists Manitoba and Own Health Centre. His role at the centre is to provide expertise in tobacco reduction, addictions counselling and diabetes care.
Wendy Martin-White, a tireless advocate in the community and as a criminal defence lawyer has made meaningful contributions to reconciliation by working with many northern Manitoba Indigenous communities and in helping to establish terms of reference to help with the adoption of a self-governing Cree court and Cree-based justice system.
Niece DeGagne, was chosen for her dedication towards helping her community and improving our environment, as head of St. Mary’s Academy’s environmental club. She started up a very successful compost program within the school preventing hundreds of kilograms of food waste from going to the landfill.
Dr. Niigaanwewidam (Niigaan) Sinclair, professor and head of native studies at the University of Manitoba, is an Anishinaabe academic and writer whose essays, articles, and short stories have appeared in books journals and newspapers and have greatly influenced the path toward reconciliation in Manitoba and Canada.
These are special people who are making a difference in our province and are helping to improve the lives of others through their various skills and talents. Congratulations to all.
River Heights constituency report
Jon Gerrard is Liberal MLA for River Heights.