The following is being distributed at the request of Her Honour, the Honourable Judy M. Foote P.C., O.N.L, Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador.
During a ceremony held today at Government House, the Honourable Judy M. Foote, Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Honourable Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador congratulated eight remarkable individuals who were invested into the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador.
This year’s recipients are Jim Burton, Elaine Dobbin, Robert Lyall, Helen Murphy, Myles Murphy, Susan Rose, Gordon Slade and Bruce Templeton. Six of the individuals were present at today’s ceremony, and presentations will be made to Ms. Dobbin and Mr. Lyall at a later date. The recipients are being honoured for their decades of work in ‘a field of endeavour benefiting in an outstanding manner Newfoundland and Labrador and its residents.’
Biographies for each individual can be found in the backgrounder below.
Recipients of the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador are nominated for the award and presented with a medal bearing the shield of Newfoundland and Labrador surmounted by the Crown. The shield and crown are surrounded by a stylized pitcher plant – Newfoundland and Labrador’s floral emblem – with petals crafted with the provincial mineral Labradorite, making each medal unique. Members receive a certificate signed by the Lieutenant Governor, who is Chancellor of the Order, sealed with the seal of the Order, as well as a miniature medal and a lapel pin. Members of the Order are entitled to employ O.N.L. as a post-nominal.
More information on the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador can be found at www.gov.nl.ca/onl.
“The Order of Newfoundland and Labrador, first approved by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II in 2003, is our province’s highest honour and a part of the official honours system of Canada. The eight exemplary Newfoundlanders and Labradorians invested today join a prestigious group of 110 individuals who have received the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador since the honour was first bestowed in 2004. These eight individuals demonstrate deep commitment and dedication to our province. The impact of their work resonates not only within Newfoundland and Labrador, but our country, and internationally. It is my honour to recognize these deserving individuals with this honour.”
Honourable Judy M. Foote
Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador
“These eight individuals represent the best of Newfoundland and Labrador. They are selfless, dedicated, caring, innovative and visionary. They have each spent decades of their lives in making this a better province and their work continues to benefit people locally, nationally and in some instances, internationally. As role models, they exemplify the Newfoundland and Labrador spirit and I congratulate them for receiving the province’s highest honour.”
Honourable Dwight Ball
Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador
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Office of the Premier
Biographies of those invested into the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador
Jim Burton is an accomplished entrepreneur, a passionate humanitarian and an environmental enthusiast. Mr. Burton has been working as a real estate professional for 30 years and is the President/Owner of RE/MAX Infinity Realty Inc., one of the province’s progressively growing Real Estate companies. In addition to his real estate business, Jim also owns and operates a season airline, North Eastern Sky Services Ltd. as well as one of the province’s top outfitting sites, Igloo Lake Lodge.
Outside of his business accomplishments, Jim continues to serve as an ambassador for Newfoundland and Labrador as an outfitter, works to protect the province’s salmon populations, and volunteers for numerous organizations including the Rotary Club, Hope Air, the Salvation Army and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. His work with Hope Air has helped remove financial barriers for thousands of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to travel for healthcare and he has helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for the fight against cancer.
Jim is the recipient of many community awards including the Church Lad’s Brigade 2016 “Governor and Commandants Medallion”, Canadian Red Cross’ 2015 “Humanitarian of the Year – Newfoundland and Labrador” and St. John’s Board of Trade’s 2014 “Community Builder Volunteer of the Year”.
Elaine Dobbin is a long-time philanthropist whose work has helped to advance healthcare and medical research in Newfoundland and Labrador. She is particularly focused on improving the lives of those affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder serving as a strong advocate and working to ensure there is constant support and education surrounding this disorder. Ms. Dobbin played a key role in the creation of the Opportunity Centre for Autism, leading fundraising efforts and promoting the cause publicly.
Ms. Dobbin is committed to strengthening higher education in Newfoundland and Labrador through funding support for Memorial University that has contributed to significant advancements in genetic research. She makes an annual contribution for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Research and in 2012 provided a gift for the university to establish five research funds. In recognition, Memorial University named the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Human Genetics after her late husband, and is now known as the Craig L. Dobbin Genetics Research Centre.
Ms. Dobbin’s volunteer work has benefited countless Newfoundlanders and Labradorians as she has spent time working with organizations such as the Iris Kirby House, the Newfoundland and Labrador Lung Association, the Janeway Children’s Hospital, among many others. She is a huge supporter of cultural and educational endeavours including the Art Gallery of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, Shalloway Choir and the Battle Harbour Historic Trust. In 2015, Ms. Dobbin was awarded the Order of Canada and in 2019, she received an Honorary Doctorate from Memorial University.
Robert Lyall has spent decades working to make Labrador a better place and strengthening services for Indigenous people in the province. For more than 35 years he worked as a maintenance supervisor for the regional health authority and despite helping to raise eight children, he still found time to serve with a number of community organizations. Mr. Lyall was involved with Okalakatiget Society, the Labrador Inuit Association, Labrador Legal Services, the Lion’s Club, the Moravian Church and the Melville Native Housing Association. He was also instrumental in the establishment of the Labrador Correctional Centre.
One of Mr. Lyall’s greatest achievements was being a founder of the Labrador Friendship Centre. This important organization continues to provide a hostel, senior’s transportation, a facility for training and education and a community food bank. In recognition, he was made a lifetime honorary member of the National Association of Friendship Centres. He received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002 and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2013.
Today, at the age of 86, Mr. Lyall continues to be involved with the Moravian Church.
Helen Murphy spent years as a beloved music teacher in Newfoundland and Labrador before working as a Community Educator with several First Nations communities in northern Canada. She returned to her home province in 1987 and started working with community groups such as the Rabbittown Community Association and the Naskapi Montagnais Innu Association. Ms. Murphy was also actively involved with the Social Action Commission of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese bringing her analytic skills and strong work ethic to advocate for the need to care for our planet and focusing on issues such as low-level flying in Labrador, capital punishment, refugee legislation, fisheries and women’s equality issues.
Ms. Murphy is focused on preventing violence against women and children, working with organizations such as the Provincial Association Against Family Violence, the Public Health Agency of Canada and Stella’s Circle. She has placed a particular emphasis on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and was instrumental in coordinating gender and FASD training in Newfoundland and Labrador. Mr. Murphy is also a supporter for increased food security within the province and has helped the Food Security Network of Newfoundland and Labrador secure millions of dollars in funding.
Despite being retired from the workforce, Ms. Murphy continues to be an active participant in the local music scene as a choir member with the St. John’s Choir and as a volunteer director with the Inclusion Choir of Stella’s Circle. She has been honoured with a Woman of Distinction Award by the YWCA.
Myles Murphy has been an advocate for the Deaf community in Newfoundland and Labrador for decades. He was one of the first Deaf students from the province to study at the Gallaudet University for the Deaf in Washington, DC and went on to teach American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf Studies at Saint Mary’s University, Memorial University, and College of the North Atlantic. In 2005 he established, coordinated and instructed the first literacy program for Deaf adults in St. John’s.
Mr. Murphy was a key player in the development of the Canadian Dictionary of ASL and in 1991, he successfully collaborated with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to bring telephone relay services for the Deaf in the Atlantic provinces. He was also a leader in lobbying the CRTC to provide closed captioning on CBC television’s evening news program in 1995.
Mr. Murphy provides an essential connection between the Deaf community and the healthcare system in Newfoundland and Labrador and recently collaborated with Memorial’s University’s School of Medicine on two ground breaking research studies: one focused on palliative care for Deaf people, the other explored how Deaf people express physical pain.
Mr. Murphy is heavily involved with local and national disability organizations including the Provincial Advisory Council for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities, as well as advisory councils on inclusion and accessibility with Marine Atlantic and the City of St. John’s. He received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of the Deaf Leadership Award and Award of Merit from the Canadian Association of the Deaf and a National Award from the Council of Canadians with Disabilities.
Susan Rose has been an outspoken advocate for vulnerable people in Newfoundland and Labrador for the past 40 years. Upon becoming a teacher in 1985, she recognized a lack of understanding and support for LGBTQ2S children and youth. At a time when the stigma and discrimination against this group was prevalent, Ms. Rose risked her career by becoming a voice to challenge the status quo and began a lifelong journey of education and training in the hope of building a more inclusive province.
She developed the Newfoundland Amazon Network, a support group and free call-in service for lesbians, at her own expense. Ms. Rose has assisted numerous individuals, families, communities, government departments, community organizations and businesses to help build more supportive environments for members of the LGBTQ2S community. She was instrumental in assisting the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development in a providing a province-wide training initiative in the K-12 public school system – making Newfoundland and Labrador a national leader when it comes to training related to LGBTQ2S in schools.
Ms. Rose continues to be a strong advocate for human rights locally and nationally. She is an active member of EGALE Canada and Canada’s Human Rights Trust.
Gordon Slade had a long and prominent career in the public service with the Provincial and Federal Governments, including time as Deputy Minister of Fisheries with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and as Vice-President, Newfoundland and Labrador Division of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.
After leaving the public sector in 1996, Mr. Slade was appointed to the joint roles of Executive Director of the International Centre and Executive Director of the Opportunity Fund at Memorial University where his leadership was pivotal in helping to secure over $60 million in philanthropic and sponsorship funding for the university.
Mr. Slade is a long-time champion of preserving, protecting and presenting significant cultural and natural heritage resources of Newfoundland and Labrador. In 1998 he founded the Battle Harbour Historic Trust to preserve this culturally and historically important region of Labrador. His other voluntary heritage work includes the preservation and restoration of Port Union, chairing advisory committees for the Ryan Premises National Historic Site at Bonavista, and the Red Bay National Historic Site (now a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Mr. Slade has also been actively involved with the Shorefast Foundation on Fogo Island and helped develop key partnerships with governments, academia and local residents to preserve local traditions and knowledge while developing an innovative model of sustainable development and growth of coastal communities.
Mr. Slade has received numerous awards including the Gold Medal of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society in 2002, and the Order of Canada in 2005. He received an Honorary Doctorate from Memorial University in 2014.
For decades, Bruce Templeton has brought smiles to the faces of young and old alike by assisting Santa Claus in spreading messages of cheer and goodwill. He has made more than 1,500 visits to children and families in community centres, hospitals and senior complexes. He was a fixture in the Downtown St. John’s Santa Claus Parade for 40 years, and directed each new version of the Santa Claus float, seen by thousands of people. He was key to the parade becoming a venue for people to donate goods for local food banks, which today is the largest single gathering of food in the province each year.
Mr. Templeton is also a nationally best selling author of a number of books including ‘The Man in the Red Suit’, ‘The Man with the White Beard’, ‘Twenty-Four Teddy Bears: A Christmas Journey’, and ‘In Search of St. Nicholas’. Author proceeds from these books have gone to Rotary International’s Polio Plus campaign and by accessing matching grants, Mr. Templeton’s works have led to over 350,000 children receiving polio vaccinations.
Mr. Templeton volunteers his time to numerous other organizations including the St. John’s Rotary Club, Scouts Canada, the United Way, the John Howard Society, the Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Bowring Park Foundation and the Presbyterian Church. He has won numerous awards for his efforts including an International Santa Claus Hall of Fame induction, being named as a Knight of St. Nicholas, and being named as St. John’s Citizen of the Year in 1997.