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Newfoundland and Labrador government announces Seniors of Distinction for 2018

Children, Seniors and Social Development Minister Lisa Dempster speaks Tuesday about changes in legislation aimed at improving conditions for youth in government care.
Children, Seniors and Social Development Minister Lisa Dempster - David Maher

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Five more residents of the province have been honoured with Seniors of Distinction Awards.

Children, Seniors and Social Development Minister Lisa Dempster announced this year’s recipients on Friday, June 29.

They are Harrison Campbell of Pinsent’s Arm, Catherine M. Williams Kleinwort of Spaniard’s Bay, Zita Muise of South Branch, and Capt. Joseph Prim and Yamuna Kutty, both of St. John’s.

The Seniors of Distinction Awards, first awarded in 2009, identify and celebrate the contributions, achievements and diversity of older persons throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.

In a news release, Dempster said the recipients are all deserving individuals who demonstrate the “community spirit, dedication, good work and altruistic living” the awards are meant to celebrate.

“Our Seniors of Distinction have helped shape, and continue to shape, our province and the lives of everyone around them,” Dempster said.

A formal awards ceremony will be held on Oct. 1.

Recipient bios

Harrison Campbell, Pinsent’s Arm

Harrison Campbell was born in the tiny community of Pinsent’s Arm in 1950 where he grew up and made a home for his family. Harrison is most certainly a family man, wanting the best for them and always concerned for their safety. For over 50 years, Harrison has been making a living working as a fishermen, catching many different species of fish throughout the summer, including crab, whelk, herring, and cod. Harrison has passed his traditional skills and knowledge on to many others including his two sons and young grandson. The sea and fishing industry has always been a passion of Harrison’s and in the past few years he has joined the NunatuKavut Governing Council as a senior member and has been catching salmon and codfish to supply the senior community. This council represents the territory of the southern Inuit people of Labrador. Harrison has always been a big volunteer in his area, serving on many associations and committees to help better his surrounding communities. These committees date back as far as 1972 when he was a member on the East Shore Development Association. He also served on the Labrador Development Association, Fishermen’s Committee, Canadian Rangers, and Local Service District for which he has been the chair for the past 20 years. He continues to volunteer his time helping fishermen by working on the Small Crafts Harbour Authority and he has been the director on the Labrador Fishermen's Union Shrimp Company for the past 30 years. He is also a past recipient of both the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and Golden Jubilee Medal and more recently he was awarded with the Labradorians of Distinction Medal. Harrison is well known all along Labrador and he enjoys spending his time volunteering and helping out anyone and anywhere he can.

Catherine M. Williams Kleinwort, Spaniard’s Bay

Born in 1940 in St. John’s and having moved to Ontario in 1959, Catherine Kleinwort moved to Spaniard’s Bay in 2001 and quickly became a well-known volunteer in the community, serving on a number of permanent committees and implementing new ones. She is volunteer chair of the Spaniard’s Bay Environment Committee and, as such, has been instrumental in obtaining funding for three new community parks and beautification projects. Since 2002 Catherine has been the elected chairperson of the Joint Management Committee Inc. which has custodial responsibility for the shared wetlands of the Shearstown Estuary between Spaniard’s Bay and Bay Roberts. As a member of the Mariner Resource Opportunities Network, she was a team player in establishing the Baccalieu Trail Seniors’ Outreach Satellite Office in Spaniard’s Bay, setting up a walk-in office for seniors and obtaining funding for staffing and programs. Catherine has extensive volunteer experience spanning the period from 1965 to 2000 in Ontario and has demonstrated a commitment to enriching the lives of citizens and visitors in her adopted community of Spaniard’s Bay.

Yamuna Kutty, St. John’s

Born in 1938 in the Indian state of Hyderabad, Yamuna Kutty arrived in St. John’s with her husband and young son in 1968. She began her volunteer career over 45 years ago by assisting at her daughter’s school and volunteering with UNICEF. Since 2006, Yamuna has served on the Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women and she is the Vice-President of the Multicultural Women’s Organization of Newfoundland and Labrador (MWONL). She has been a volunteer member of MWONL for the past 22 years. Yamuna has also contributed her time and knowledge to the Wellness Coalition Avalon East, the Violence Prevention Avalon East group, the St. John’s Status of Women Council, the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, the National Organization of Immigrant and Visible Minority Women of Canada, YWCA and SeniorsNL, among many others. Her motto in life is to be the change you expect to see in the world (a quote from Gandhi). In 2015, she wrote an article entitled “My Canadian Life: Recalling Some Memories”, which was featured in a book, Resilience and Triumph: Immigrant Women Tell Their Stories. She lost her beloved husband in 2011, but is grateful to have her two wonderful children.

Zita Muise, South Branch (Codroy Valley)

Born in South Branch in 1935, Zita Muise started her volunteer work at her church as a child, and began her teaching career in that community at the age of 17. Shortly after her marriage in 1955 she left work to start a family, and raised 12 children while continuing to volunteer her time with the local Altar Society, South Branch Recreation Committee, Codroy Valley Co-op and Credit Union, the Codroy Valley Area Development Association, and many others. From 1976 to 1982, Zita lived with her family in Cormack, where she both returned to the work force and served on the Humber Valley Development Association, the Cormack Library Board, and others. Zita is an avid square dancer, continuing to organize the square dancing activities for both the Winter Carnival and the Codroy Valley Folk Festival. Zita is a strong advocate of always learning new things, having taken up the accordion and teaching herself to play in her late 70s. She keeps physically fit with bicycling, walking, and, of course, square dancing.

Captain Joseph Prim, St. John’s

Born in 1927, Captain Joseph Prim joined the British Merchant Marine at the age of 16, beginning what would become a lifetime of work in the marine industry in various capacities. Captain Prim served for two years on the North Atlantic during World War II and spent 10 years as a ship’s Master running to Labrador with fishermen and supplies for coastal communities. He also served as Captain of numerous vessels and his career culminated in the position of the last Marine Coastal Superintendent for Newfoundland and Labrador with Marine Atlantic. After his retirement, Captain Prim focused on volunteer efforts, particularly in areas which contribute to the preservation of the province’s marine history, more specifically the contribution of the 333 Newfoundland and Labrador men and women who lost their lives as part of the Merchant Marine. He co-chaired a committee to design, raise funding for, and complete a monument to the Merchant Marine Navy in 1997. The Merchant Navy Memorial, developed with the late Fred Adams and Paul Johnson, is located at the Marine Institute and displays the names of those 333 Newfoundland merchant seamen and 435 Navy ratings who lost their lives during World War II. Captain Prim is also involved with the Kiwanis Club, the Coastal Railway Museum, and is the Director of the CN Pensioners Association. Along with the late Michael McCarthy, he is the co-author of three books about the province’s maritime history which are intended to preserve our seafaring heritage, and has done a great deal of research to document shipwrecks along the east coast of the province and preserve this information in map format.

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