CROQUE, NL. – Elizabeth Kearney, 67, has dedicated her life to keeping the Town of Croque together.
And for her hard work through the years, she has been recognized provincially as the Lamb’s Local Hero for Newfoundland.
This contest was started this past summer, as Lamb’s Rum sought “to find Newfoundland’s most deserving Local Hero.”
Per a Lamb’s press release, the contest invited Newfoundlanders to nominate someone who has gone above and beyond to make their community a better place.
There were over 600 applicants but, when the dust cleared, Kearney was named the winner.
“What we’ve learned from the results of this contest is that Newfoundland is truly full of heroes. But no one is more deserving of the prize than Elizabeth,” said Alice Carroll, Lamb’s Rum brand manager, Corby Spirit and Wine, in a press release. “She’s a true hero who just wants to keep the spirit of the community alive, and does it all herself without expecting anything in return.”
Kearney’s daughter, Sandra McGrath, submitted the letter nominating her mother, who she felt was worthy of the distinction.
“(I thought) mom definitely fit the description because she does everything for the community of Croque,” said McGrath.
But she had no idea she could actually win.
“There are times it’s nice to be appreciated,” said Kearney on winning the award.
Croque is a village of just 51 people located off the main highway between Main Brook and Roddickton.
Without a town council or local service district committee, over the years Kearney has picked up the ball.
Whether it’s looking after the church or the hall, making sure the community has enough money for streetlights, planning the 2010 and 2016 Come Home Years, garden parties, bingos, or complaining about the condition of the roads, Kearney is always in the thick of things.
“I don’t see myself as a hero, I just love doing what I do,” said Kearney. “I don’t want to see Croque die.”
During the Come Home Year, she says she was so busy she never spent much time with her own family.
“But when you like doing those things, you don’t mind,” she said.
This year, she’s helping organize the town’s first-ever Christmas Eve Memory Tree lighting.
However, Kearney’s work hasn’t come easy.
She’s a two-time cancer survivor and has dealt with a bad back in recent years.
“Sometimes you wonder what it’s all about,” she said. “I really believe that God has taken care of it all for a reason.”
Both Kearney and McGrath will share a $20,000-grand prize.
Lamb’s presented them a cheque in St. John’s on Tuesday, Dec. 12.
A party will be held for Kearney in the New Year with local folk band Rum Ragged slated to perform.
They’re not yet sure when the celebration will take place but McGrath is hoping for next summer.
Rum Ragged has also written a song in Kearney’s honour. This can be heard at www.lambslocalhero.ca.