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October 1, 2015
For immediate release

Senior Islanders of the Year recognized on National Seniors Day

Family and Human Services

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National Seniors Day provides an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the achievements of Island Seniors, says Doug Currie, Minister of Family and Human Services.

“It is important to acknowledge the valuable contributions that Island seniors have made and continue to make,” said Minister Currie. “National Seniors Day is celebrated each year on October 1 and is a perfect time to recognize some extraordinary Islanders who have really made a difference in their communities by honoring them with the Senior Islander of the Year Award.”

“The Prince Edward Island Seniors’ Secretariat is pleased to recognize the important contributions that seniors make in improving our way of life,” said Mary Hughes, Chair of the PEI Seniors’ Secretariat. “The recipients are remarkable examples of what is possible at any age or stage in life.”

Minister Currie will join Mary Hughes, Chair of the PEI Seniors’ Secretariat on Friday, October 2, to honour six Islanders with 2015 PEI Senior Islanders of the Year Awards:

• Wilfred Driscoll of Charlottetown

• Barbara Langille of Charlottetown

• Louise MacLeod of Uigg

• Helen Marsh of Kensington

• Aldine Richard of Wellington

• Marilyn Sark of Lennox Island

“The Seniors’ Secretariat received many excellent nominations for Senior Island of the Year and selected six exemplary Islanders to receive this recognition,” said Minister Currie. “As Minister Responsible for Seniors, I would like to thank everyone who took the time to nominate someone and for recognizing the unique role that Island seniors play in enhancing our Island communities.”

The Senior Islanders of the Year awards celebrate the significant contributions of Island seniors in many areas of community life including volunteer work, artistic achievement, leadership, mentorship, fundraising, community participation, career achievements and other activities.

For more information about the Senior Islanders of the Year awards or the award recipients, visit www.gov.pe.ca/seniors.

Backgrounder

Senior Islander of the Year Awards

Wilfred Driscoll

Mr. Wilfred Driscoll of Charlottetown, husband, father of five and grandfather of seven is described as a “true builder of Island communities”. Mr. Driscoll was born in Mt. Herbert as the oldest of five children. He assumed the responsibility of managing the family dairy and guiding his four younger brothers at age 17 when his father died suddenly. In 1952 he became the first co-op agent in PEI and continued along a professional career path dedicated to the ideals of the co-operative movement.

Mr. Driscoll has taken an active role in supporting Meals on Wheels for over 34 years as a volunteer delivering meals since the inception of the group in Queens County. He is a lifelong Honourary member of the Knights of Columbus and the most senior knight in the organization. Mr. Driscoll also led a campaign in the late 1990s to raise major funds for the restoration of St. Dunstans Basilica Cathedral, has held an active role with Birthright for a number of years and served as a past chairperson and volunteer with the Queens County Music Festival Association.

Described as “actively carving his legacy of life-long service to others”, “Mr Co-Op”, Wilfred Driscoll is recognized as a Senior Islander of the Year for being a role model who has successfully aligned his personal and professional values to create a legacy of service to the community.

Barbara Langille

Mrs. Barbara Langille of Charlottetown is described as an individual of true “grace and compassion and a stand out volunteer.” Mrs. Langille has many roles - as a committed wife, mother, grandmother, volunteer and friend. She has a keen interest in music, theatre, culture and maintains a healthy active lifestyle by swimming three times a week and cycling. She is an active supporter of the Women’s Institute and her local church, Park Royal United as a member of the church choir, serving at church events and providing pastoral care to people in hospital and nursing homes.

A former nurse, she has been a mentor to many professionals and has been a dedicated volunteer with Hospice PEI for over 25 years. Colleagues at Hospice describe how Mrs. Langille generously lends support to projects. She is recognized for her special ability to know what palliative care patients and staff members need the most – be it a cool drink of water or a hug. In her role as a Hospice PEI volunteer she has touched the lives of hundreds of patients and family members over the years. Mrs. Barbara Langille is recognized as a PEI Senior Islander of the Year for her outstanding dedication, caring and support to Island families in palliative care and Hospice PEI.

Louise MacLeod

Mrs. Louise MacLeod of Uigg is recognized for her significant contributions to the community and to those with special needs. Mrs. MacLeod is a life member of the Uigg Kinross Grandview Women’s Institute, where she has held a variety of executive positions. She is also a dedicated member of St. Andrews United Church Women’s Group. As noted by a nominator, “who would be able to count the dozens of sweets and sandwiches this fine lady has prepared for different functions at the Church?” Mrs MacLeod’s attention is drawn towards the needs of the individuals in her community. As noted by a nominator, “she makes a point of keeping in touch and knowing the well-being of neighbours being first at the door when someone is ill or in need”.

Mrs. MacLeod has been engaged in a number of community projects – as a board member of the Sir Andrew MacPhail Homestead, Orwell Corner Heritage Project, as a community school instructor and with PEI Volunteers for Literacy. A leader in the development of the Uigg Community Centre, Mrs MacLeod worked to secure the purchase of the Uigg school in 1970 as a centennial project. Over time this has involved the development of a memorial wall honouring veterans, a youth summer employment program and projects to ensure the sustainability of this important community site. Mrs. Louise MacLeod is recognized as a Senior Islander of the Year for her community spirit which has led to significant improvements in the lives of local residents and other Islanders.

Helen Marsh

Mrs. Helen Marsh of Kensington increased an already active volunteer role after her retirement as a licensed practical nurse from Prince County Hospital (PCH) in 2003. Since her retirement she has been a valued member of the volunteer team at PCH accumulating over 800 hours of service in the Surgical/Restorative care unit and as a volunteer at the Summerset Manor’s day program (Chapman Centre). Described as a person of “humility and kindness” who “makes a difference in the lives of patients, because she truly cares”, she helps to make “everyone feel better with her encouraging words, great sense of humor and pleasant manner”.

Mrs. Marsh has also helped to prepare meals at Camp Triumph during the summer, assisted with activities at a local community care home and was a volunteer at the 2009 Summer Games. In her parish, she is a keen supporter of the out-reach ministry in aid of those who are ill and an active Catholic Women’s League member preparing luncheons and offering support during funerals and other functions.

Part of her energy comes from pursuing an active lifestyle of golfing and walking six kilometers a day. The PEI Seniors’ Secretariat is pleased to recognize Mrs. Helen Marsh as a Senior Islander of the Year for her exemplary volunteerism in support of Islanders of all generations.

Aldine Richard

Mrs. Aldine Richard of Wellington has developed a remarkable connection to her family and the community. The eldest of 16 children, she is described as “well loved and very well respected by all in the Evangeline area…always being available with love and support for her family and siblings.”

Mrs. Richard was a school teacher for 35 years, teaching in seven different schools and dedicated the last 15 years of her career to special education students. This love of learning continued with her involvement with community schools as local president for four years and as an instructor. She is strong supporter of the local parish – organizing banquets and receptions, securing funding for repairs to the parish community hall, as a member of the choir and Parish Church Council, sharing the beauty of Our Lady of Mont-Carmel Church with visitors and offering marriage preparation courses with her husband of 50 years, Alyre. Good humor may be a key to Aldine’s success as she has written six comedy plays in the last five years for fund-raising events.

Mrs. Richard was one of the founding members of the Coopérative de développement culturel et partrimonial de Mont-Carmel, a cooperative dedicated to developing, promoting and enhancing the rich culture and heritage of Mont-Carmel. Mrs. Richard played an important leadership role as vice-president and a board member during the founding years of the co-operative.

In 2003 she began a significant project to beautify and restore the Our Lady of Mont-Carmel Cemetery. Along with a team of dedicated volunteers, she worked to secure funding for the project and then diligently repaired and repainted 163 monuments, including all the lettering on the stones. Aldine recognized that wooden monuments had deteriorated and been lost over the years and so she spent many weeks researching archives and church registries to identify people buried in the ceremony since 1812. With this information two signs, containing the names of the 164 children and 414 adults buried in the cemetery, were created and placed in honour of those lost graves.

Mrs. Aldine Richard is recognized as a Senior Islander of the Year for her dedication to her family, community and cultural heritage.

Marilyn Sark

In the words of her nominators, this resident of Lennox Island has “provided a lifetime of support to a grateful community and province.” Born and raised on Lennox Island Mrs. Sark knew from an early age that she wanted to be a nurse and so she attended Mount St. Vincent University and achieved her goal of becoming a registered nurse. Her career as a Community Health Nurse spanned 25 years during which time she dedicated herself to long hours of service – days spent in community health nursing, offering home visits and evening programs – Women’s Groups, Men’s Groups, Groups for Children and Youth and time spent with elders. It was not unusual, after a full day, to receive a call during the night to accompany a young family to the hospital for delivery of a baby and then starting another busy day, regardless of what had occurred the night before. Marilyn created Child Development Teams within each of the First Nations communities which, in the words of one of her nominators, provided “amazing opportunities for families, children and service providers to connect on a deeper level to develop best practice solutions for families”.

Her work as a nurse specialist in the area of addictions led her to establish a provincial board to bring awareness to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. This board brought together representatives from education, medical and government to raise awareness and change Islanders’ understanding of this important issue.

Mrs. Sark has held leadership positions in the Aboriginal Nurses’ Association of Canada, serving as president and on the board of directors for over 20 years and President of the Aboriginal Women’s Association of PEI. She has been recognized with a Queen’s Jubilee Medal, Foster Parent Award, Elder of the Year in Lennox Island and Citizen of the Year in Tyne Valley and Servicing Sister of the Order of St John amongst many other awards.

An Elder full of compassion, loyalty and encouragement , Marilyn Sark is recognized as a Senior Islander of the Year for her deep caring about people in her home community and the larger community of Prince Edward Island.

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Media Contact: Maureen Flanagan-LeClair
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