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This article was published 14/5/2019 (811 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A pair of this year’s 12 recipients of the Order of Manitoba will be well-known to northeast Winnipeggers.
On May 12, the Order of Manitoba advisory council announced this year’s 12 inductees, which included former MLA and MP Joy Smith and ultra-marathon cyclist Arvid Loewen.
"I’m just very humbled by it and filled with gratitude for the people who put my name in — I don’t know who they are," said Smith, an East St. Paul resident who represented Kildonan-St. Paul as a Member of Parliament from 2004 to 2015. "I was overwhelmed with gratitude."
As an MP, Smith was an advocate for reforms to the Criminal Code, enacting laws to protect victims of human trafficking and punish those guilty of the crime. She has continued that work since leaving politics.
"We’ve developed school programs to prevent human trafficking, and we go to schools across the country," she said of her work with the Joy Smith Foundation. "The important thing about this honour is it raises the profile of the work, the fact that human trafficking happens every day. Hopefully it will bring a spotlight to the issue here that is so important here in our province and our country."
For more information on Smith’s work, visit www.joysmithfoundation.com
North Kildonan’s Arvid Loewen, a 62-year-old grandfather of 12, is also set to receive the Order of Manitoba in recognition of his work with Mully Children’s Family, a Christian charity that provides housing and education for orphans in Kenya.
"Its humbling," said Loewen. "It’s an honour, and of course I’m deeply thrilled. Any kind of exposure is very helpful in the ongoing ministry work we’re doing."
Over the past 15 years, Loewen has cycled thousands of kilometers while raising over $6 million for Mully Children’s Family. In 2011, he set a Guinness World Record after cycling from Vancouver to Halifax in 13 days, six hours and 13 minutes.
"The only thing that gets easier with age, is napping," Loewen said. "I don’t plan to slow down."
This year, to celebrate Mully Children’s Family’s 30th anniversary, Loewen plans to cycle 15,000 kilometres this summer.
"In that time, over 15,000 people who have been through their care," Loewen said. "I will be riding one kilometre in celebration of each life that has been changed."
Six days a week, with some exceptions, Loewen will depart from his North Kildonan home early each morning and cycle to Lockport and back multiple times, for an average of 330 kilometres a day until Aug. 8.
"If we really truly value a child’s life, there are no sacrifices that exceed that value of their life," Loewen said. "So for me, there’s no consideration given to slowing down."
For more information on Loewen’s work, visit www.grandpascan.com
Smith and Loewen will enter the Order of Manitoba alongside Steven Schipper, James Ehnes, Trudy Schroeder, Kathy Hildebrand, Vivian Bruce, Marcel Desautels, Barbara Nepinak, Clarence Nepinak, Harvey Secter, and Dr. Michael West.