PINSENT’S ARM, N.L. – Harrison Campbell of Pinsent’s Arm is one of five people recently honoured by the provincial government with a Seniors of Distinction Award.
Harrison was humble about the recognition.
“I’m not a very good speaker,” the 68-year-old said, “but I try to help whoever I can. I just love doing that.”
In Harrison’s case, actions really do speak louder than words.
A quick read through information provided in a press release about the award confirms why he is so deserving of the recognition.
Harrison has been a fisherman for over half-a century, catching different species, including crab, whelk, herring and cod.
“Whatever there was to catch we caught,” he said.
Harrison and his wife Sandra have two sons (Garrison and Gavin), a daughter (Genessa) and four grandchildren (Lincoln, Teegan, Carter and Gracie).
Harrison has passed his traditional skills and knowledge on to many others including his sons (both are fishermen) and his 11-year-old grandson Lincoln.
Harrison is a senior member of the NunatuKavut Governing Council which represents Inuit who reside primarily in southern and central Labrador.
As a council elder, he catches, tags and cleans salmon and cod for seniors who cannot get out and catch their own fish.
“Saturday, I had 56,” he said of the salmon he caught on July 14.
Harrison has spent over 45 years volunteering. His efforts have benefitted the East Shore Development Association, 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.
Harrison is also a past recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal and the Labradorians of Distinction Medal.
While it makes him feel good to be recognized with the Seniors of Distinction Award, Harrison said he’s always had great help from other volunteers when serving on committees and in other volunteer capacities.
About the award
The provincial government first presented the Seniors of Distinction Awards in 2009 to identify and celebrate the contributions, achievements and diversity of older people throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.
In a news release on June 29, Children, Seniors and Social Development Minister Lisa Dempster said the recipients are all deserving individuals who exemplify the community spirit, dedication, good work and altruistic living that 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,” she said.
Harrison’s daughter Genessa Campbell is a teacher at Viking Trail Academy in Plum Point.
She recalled how, as a child, her father would fish six days a week, leaving Sunday as a family day.
“We’d go in the boat for boil-ups or go berry picking,” she recalled.
Pinsent's Arm relies on many services at Charlottetown, such as schooling and medical services.
Genessa said her father would take her by boat to William Gillett Academy in Charlottetown so she could go to high school.
“Dad would bring me in on Sunday, I’d stay in there for the week and he would come back and get me on Friday,” she said.
Genessa said her father’s initiative catching salmon for the NunatuKavut elder community freezer takes more effort that just catching the fish.
Her dad spends many hours cleaning the salmon as well, she said.
“We were till after 10 (pm) one night. Dad was cleaning them and I was helping him put them away,” she said.
Her father is a kind-hearted, supportive man, Genessa said.
“Dad is always willing to help our family, friends and strangers,” she said.
Other award recipients are 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.