Barbara B. Barrett
Since arriving in Newfoundland and Labrador from England as a war bride
in 1946, Barbara Barrett has devoted the past 61 years to volunteering
and sharing her expertise in the realm of theatre arts. She is
considered by many as the matriarch of Newfoundland and Labrador
Ms. Barrett’s work is well known throughout the province, and she has
participated in the production of more than 1,000 theatrical
performances. Her efforts have inspired the creation of various theatre
groups and introduced many young Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to the
world of theatre. Under her mentorship, countless young artists have
learned to build sets, read scripts, display and control emotions and
communicate with large groups. As a direct result of her encouragement
and influence, many emerging actors have also been empowered with
valuable life skills.
Her life-long relationship with theatre has been a driving force in the
development of the vibrant acting community this province boasts today.
In 2003, in recognition of her dedication, she was made an honourary
life member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Drama Society.
As a writer, she has compiled a syllabus on public speaking for Air
Cadets; written and illustrated a textbook on drama for the 4-H
movement; and was commissioned, in 1985, to write and direct a
performance marking the 75th anniversary of Guiding in Canada. She has
also published a book entitled, "Theatre – My Other Love Affair."
In addition to her pursuits in the arts community, Ms. Barrett has
served the Girl Guide movement as captain of the first Air Ranger
Company in the province and as Area Commissioner for Western
Newfoundland and Provincial Ranger Advisor. She has also found time to
teach English as a second language for the Association for New
In 1996, she was invested as a member of the Order of Canada. She has
presided at 21 citizenship ceremonies and has administered the Oath of
Citizenship to more than 500 new Canadian citizens.
Elsa Helen Flack
Newfoundlanders and Labradorians’ awareness and appreciation of the
wealth of historical resources in this province have been greatly
augmented by the tireless efforts of Elsa Flack.
Ms. Flack’s great passion for family history and her desire to inspire
others to learn about their ancestry, led her, in 1984, to found the
Newfoundland and Labrador Genealogical Society. Due to Ms. Flack
volunteering an exceptional number of hours to the development of the
society, it grew significantly to more than simple monthly gatherings of
Along with other members, Ms. Flack began the arduous task of recording
cemetery inscriptions from all over Newfoundland and Labrador. Her
exceptional organizational skills have resulted in approximately one
million entries into the database of cemetery records, and her attention
to historical accuracy has raised the quality of family history
publications in recent years.
Building on the efforts of the society, she encouraged communities
throughout the province to apply for student summer grants from the
federal government. These students, along with local community
supervisors, have mapped cemeteries and transcribed inscriptions on
headstones which now constitute the permanent records of communities,
and have led people to discover the history that exists in their own
backyards. She has become a force for community spirit throughout the
As editor of the society’s quarterly publication, The Newfoundland
Ancestor, for 10 years, she has reached a reading audience of more than
1,500 people. Many of these subscribers were from out of the province
and have been inspired to make pilgrimages to Newfoundland and Labrador
to research their respective ancestries.
With enormous enthusiasm, Ms. Flack has taught family history classes to
countless researchers. She has encouraged and promoted the development
of resources and tools enabling anyone in search of their Newfoundland
and Labrador roots to do so in an effective manner. The citizens of this
province, as well as the descendants of former residents, have been
challenged by Ms. Flack to delve into our long history as a people.
Elinor Gill Ratcliffe
Elinor Gill Ratcliffe is known as a humanist, builder, dreamer,
visionary and philanthropist. First and foremost, however, she is a
proud descendant of generations of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.
She grew up in St. John’s where she continues to maintain a home. In
1974, she moved to Ontario where she met and married Edward Ratcliffe,
founder of Arriscraft International. They shared a passion for helping
the disadvantaged and, through their company, funded numerous projects
in Canada and other parts of the world. She continues to do so since her
husband’s death in 2002.
Ms. Gill Ratcliffe graduated from Bishop Spencer College and continued
her education in various institutions over the years. In honour of her
alma mater and her classmates, she donated a bronze statue of a
schoolgirl to commemorate the history of Bishop Spencer College and
other girls’ schools of that era. Since then, she has also donated a
sculpture "The Rower," located at Quidi Vidi Lake, which honours the
Royal St. John’s Regatta.
Ms. Gill Ratcliffe has also been involved with, and supported, various
organizations and projects within the province. She has provided
start-up funding for the Send Them Back Smiling Project of the Single
Parent Association of Newfoundland and Labrador for the purchase of
school supplies and has donated to The Bowring Park Foundation for the
reconstruction of the duck pond. She is also a benefactor to The Rooms,
the reconstruction of Fort Amherst, as well as the George Street United
Church soup kitchen project, just to highlight a few.
She has gained distinction by her genuine interest in and support of
local initiatives, as well as her constant efforts to enrich the
cultural heritage of her birthplace.
Paul O’Neill is familiar to many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians
through his work as a CBC radio and television Executive Producer.
During his time at the CBC, countless local writers, musicians, actors
and producers were provided with an outlet for their talent. In numerous
radio plays, musical shows and documentaries under his expert guidance,
he introduced our rich culture, arts and history to a national audience.
On a local level, for 25 years, he created daily radio and TV school
broadcasts, in addition to such popular entertainment series as Reach
for the Top and Skipper and Company.
Mr. O’Neill also found time to make a remarkable contribution to more
than 40 volunteer organizations, mainly as president or chair of such
groups as the John Howard Society, the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts
Council, and the Irish Newfoundland Association. He is also well known
in the community for his achievements as an actor, writer, historian and
He has been extremely active in professional and amateur acting circles
and in the arts community as a whole. He founded the Corner Brook
Playmakers Company, co-founded the St. John’s Theatre Arts Club, and ran
the Buckmaster’s Players.
A trailblazer in Newfoundland’s literary movement, Mr. O’Neill has been
published in Canada, the U.S.A., Ireland and Scotland. In addition to
his popular work, The Oldest City - The Story of St. John’s,
Newfoundland, for which he was awarded The Freedom of the City, he has
11 other publications in print. He was also the founding president of
the Newfoundland Writer’s Guild.
He was a coordinator for the Viking Millennium International Symposium
and the 2001 Marconi celebrations, as well as the popular Historic Sites
Association exhibit, A Place Called Home. His membership on the board of
the association has left a lasting mark, which was recognized when the
association instituted a scholarship in his name at Memorial University.
Mr. O’Neill has cultivated and promoted the province’s culture and arts,
having developed the careers of some of Newfoundland and Labrador’s
finest actors, singers and writers, providing them with a forum to grow
and express their talent. His contributions extend beyond a half
century, and he continues to volunteer, lecture and write about the
place he proudly calls home.
Dr. Nigel Francis S. Rusted
Born in 1907 in Salvage, Dr. Nigel Rusted is well-known throughout
Newfoundland and Labrador for his distinguished medical career.
His career began during the summers of 1930 and 1931 as a medical
student onboard the S. S. Kyle. He was the first medical student to be
the health officer traveling along the coast of Labrador. During his
postgraduate training, his experience at the Tuberculosis Sanatorium in
Kentville, Nova Scotia, proved exceptionally valuable as he became an
expert in the diagnosis of tuberculosis without the aid of X-rays.
Aboard the MV Lady Anderson during 1935-1936, the inaugural year of the
traveling medical clinic on Newfoundland’s southwest coast, Dr. Rusted
was the physician responsible for the health care of 80 communities from
Burnt Islands to Coombs Cove. In 1936, he opened a private practice
clinic and was appointed junior surgeon at St. John’s General Hospital.
One of Dr. Rusted’s most notable contributions to healthcare in our
province was his work in the reconstructive surgery of harelip and cleft
palate. Hundreds of Newfoundland and Labrador children benefited from
the skilled hands of Dr. Rusted. His expertise was sought even after his
Dr. Rusted’s career has included such prominent positions as: Secretary
of the Newfoundland Medical Association; Chairman of the St. John’s
Clinical Society; Medical Director, Chief of Staff and Chief of Surgery
of the Grace General Hospital; Chief of the Division of Surgery at St.
John’s General Hospital; Senior Consultant at the St. John’s General
Hospital, St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital, the Grace General Hospital and the
Janeway Child Health Centre; and the Clinical Professor of Surgery at
Memorial University of Newfoundland’s Medical School. Dr. Rusted was
elected to the first Board of Regents of Memorial University.
Dr. Rusted’s commitment to his profession has not wavered in his
retirement, having founded an organization for retired physicians and
surgeons during his 90s. At 100 years of age, his legacy is that of a
long career dedicated to a profession he loves in the place to which he
is devoted and a daily diary he has kept since 1925.
Frances J. Sweetland
Librarian, Girl Guide and Brownie organizer, news correspondent,
organist, choir director, Red Cross member, Bonavista Peninsula Health
Care Auxillary member and currently on the Executive of the N.L.A.H.A. –
these are but a few of the titles which can be attributed to Frances
Sweetland of Bonavista. She has profoundly touched the lives of many
people in the various roles she has taken on throughout her years of
service to the community.
Ms. Sweetland is renowned for her dedication to the youth of the
Bonavista area. Many young girls have benefited from her enthusiasm and
tireless efforts as a leader in the Girl Guide movement. One of her most
notable achievements within this organization was a major paper
recycling project through which she instilled the importance of
conservation and awareness of the environment into numerous Girl Guides.
In her role as librarian of the town’s public library, she participated
as a supervisor for community service on the Alternative Measures
Committee. Since her retirement, she has continued her volunteer
activities and currently serves as chairperson of the Bonavista Memorial
"Not for oneself, but for others" is the motto that community members
associate with Ms. Sweetland. Many groups and individuals with whom she
volunteers attest to how she gives of herself simply because there are
needs to be met. She is seen as someone who does what needs to be done
for the good of others, keeping the vibrant rural community spirit
For more than 50 years, Ms. Sweetland has tirelessly served her church
and community in a quiet, unselfish and unpretentious manner. She
represents the spirit of volunteerism and has made it a lifetime
commitment. She modestly admits that her true reward is knowing that, at
the end of the day, she has made a difference in her community and to
The art of boat building, as practiced by Henry Vokey of Trinity, brings
together the harvesting of wood from our coastal forest and the skill of
the boat builder to shape and craft a sturdy vessel. For more than 55
years, he has used traditional methods to produce upwards of 1,000 boats
of all types, including two schooners. He is renowned as the builder of
the J&B, the last of the two-masted schooners to be built in the
As a craftsman, Mr. Vokey may now be among the last of the traditional
Newfoundland and Labrador boat builders. He continues to practice his
trade, using wood which he scours the forest to find, fells and limbs
the trees himself, and cuts and planes the planks which shape the boats
As an entrepreneur, having employed 40 people in his shipyard, he has
made a very significant contribution to the ship building industry in
the province. For decades, he was the largest employer in the Trinity
area, and his efforts have influenced two other shipyards which continue
to build fishing vessels in Trinity today, employing up to 100
individuals. Mr. Vokey’s influence on the ship-building industry is also
evidenced through the maintenance of his vision that the end product is
instinctively in the mind’s eye of the builder.
A significant contributor to the cultural traditions of our province,
Mr. Vokey has willingly taught his trade to the subsequent generations
of boat builders in the Trinity area. Known as a kind and gentle man,
humble by nature, his life is a testimony to our great maritime
heritage. The many boats crafted by his hand have kept Newfoundlanders
and Labradorians connected to our coastal community roots, and will live
on in our boat-building history.
Malcolm "Max" Winters
Malcolm "Max" Winters is well-known as a leader in Happy Valley-Goose
Bay, in particular within the realm of sport and recreation. Over the
past 40 years, he has devoted countless hours towards the improvement of
Mr. Winters has introduced, and contributed to, a wide range of
worthwhile projects and events. Organizing, coaching, officiating, and
generally assuming a leadership role in an impressive number of
recreation and sport activities, he has clearly demonstrated dedication
to his community in a very tangible manner. Notably, through Mr.
Winters’ efforts, much needed sport and recreation infrastructure has
In addition to his endeavours in the field of recreation and sport, Mr.
Winters chaired the committee that established the Happy Valley-Goose
Bay Ground Search and Rescue Project and he has participated on the
Melville Hospital In-Service Committee. His efforts as a member of the
Board of Directors of the Labrador Inuit Development Corporation and the
Inuit Land Selection negotiating team culminated in an agreement with
the Government of Canada and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
Mr. Winters’ efforts have been recognized as going well beyond what is
expected of a volunteer by a number of people and organizations. He is
the recipient of the 2001 Newfoundland and Labrador Volunteer Service
Medal, the 2001 Pitcher Plant Award, the 2002 Male Aboriginal Coach, and
first native Labradorian inducted into the Newfoundland and Labrador
Softball Hall of Fame.
Mr. Winters is considered by many to be easy-going but determined. He is
cooperative, considerate and possesses a unique strength of character.
His life is overflowing with numerous good works – works that have
influenced the lives of many athletes, and others, through volunteerism
that is second to none.
When the world came to a virtual standstill on September 11, 2001, as a
result of the terrorist attacks in the United States, approximately
6,000 airline passengers were diverted to Gander, of which about 800
were situated in Lewisporte.
One of those 800 passengers was Shirley Brooks-Jones from Columbus,
Ohio, who settled in at the Lewisporte Lions Centre. Within a relatively
short period of time, Ms. Brooks-Jones began helping other passengers
and volunteers. By the time her plane was able to resume its flight, she
had established many lasting friendships.
When their flight home resumed, Ms. Brooks-Jones, along with the other
passengers on Delta Air Line Flight Number 15, decided to create a
lasting tribute to the people of Lewisporte for their kindness under
such extraordinary circumstances. A scholarship fund for graduates of
Lewisporte Collegiate began that day with donations from Ms.
Brooks-Jones and the other Delta Air Line Flight 15 passengers and crew.
Through her hard work and dedication, people throughout the United
States, Canada, and other countries, have, to date, contributed over
$800,000 in cash and pledges to the scholarship fund which continues to
Since September 11, 2001, Ms. Brooks-Jones has recounted her story on
hundreds of occasions and has returned to Lewisporte to visit friends
and present some of the 84 scholarships to students of Lewisporte
Collegiate. She is held in high esteem throughout the community as
someone who seized an opportunity to generate a positive and lasting
legacy in the midst of a very trying situation.
Ms. Brooks-Jones is a wonderful example of one person with a vision, and
the energy and determination that can turn that vision into reality. To
the people of Lewisporte, she is a remarkable woman who continues to
reaffirm her love and appreciation for the help and hospitality she
received in her hour of need from Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.