New Har­bour woman re­ceives com­mu­nity en­gage­ment award

An­nette Hig­don pledges to con­tinue vol­un­teer­ing with the Ron­ald McDon­ald House

The Compass - - SPORTS - BYMELISSA JENK­INS Melissa.jenk­

An­nette Hig­don of New Har­bour, Trin­ity Bay was “hon­oured and hum­bled” on April 11 when she re­ceived an award from the Ron­ald McDon­ald House (RMH) in St. John’s dur­ing an event for vol­un­teers called, “strength in num­bers.”

Hig­don earned the com­mu­nity en­gage­ment des­ig­na­tion from a list of awards in hon­our of the late Dr. Jack Hand, an ad­vo­cate for the fa­cil­ity.

RMH is a home that gives fam­i­lies the op­por­tu­nity to stay near their chil­dren when they are hos­pi­tal­ized or un­der­go­ing treat­ment.

The Help­ing “Hand” Awards were given to sev­eral in­di­vid­u­als for their ac­tive and ded­i­cated in­volve­ment with RMH. And Hig­don was one of them.

The avid vol­un­teer was rec­og­nized for her in­volve­ment in com­mu­nity en­gage­ment for fundrais­ing and as­sist­ing with the de­vel­op­ment of the fa­cil­ity for sev­eral years.

“I give freely of my time and talent, and never ex­pect any­thing in re­turn, other than the smile on a child’s face, or to see a fam­ily that can be to­gether in a com­fort­able set­ting dur­ing some­times a very try­ing time in their lives,” Hig­don told The Com­pass in an email.

Hig­don and her hus­band Chris, who is also a vol­un­teer, at­tended the con­fer­ence in St. John’s, which in­cluded train­ing, guest speak­ers and the awards gala.

The cou­ple re­ceived two-year ser­vice pins at the event, some­thing they are very proud of.

As people were re­ceiv­ing awards, Hid­gon said it was heart­warm­ing to see those in­volved in the house get recog­ni­tion.

Hig­don’s in­volve­ment

Hig­don is al­ways in­volved with fundrais­ers for the house, in­clud­ing the Red Shoe Crew walk from Whit­bourne to Heart’s De­sire.

As one of the largest groups in 2013, with some 200 people, Hig­don’s event raised some $20,000 for the house.

She has also helped gather house­hold items for the house.

Hid­gon told The Com­pass last year she ac­cepts do­na­tions of all kinds for the house, in­clud­ing toi­letries and other items a fam­ily may need dur­ing a stay there.

She is not done help­ing the RMH, and will keep or­ga­niz­ing and as­sist­ing events in her area.

“I trust I will con­tinue to re­ceive that sup­port from all of you in the fu­ture as I con­tinue to stand proud in (Dr. Jack Hand’s) hon­our,” Hig­don said.

Hon­our­ing Dr. Hand

Dr. Hand was a pe­di­atric on­col­o­gist and hema­tol­o­gist, and was a driv­ing force be­hind RMH.

The house opened in Septem­ber 2012, but Hand passed away from a brain tu­mour in June that same year. He didn’t get to see it open.

“(Dr. Hand) was an ex­cep­tional man with bound­less en­ergy,” de­scribed Hig­don. “A man that had a very busy pro­fes­sional life was an ex­cep­tional fa­ther and a lov­ing hus­band.

While he was all of (these things), he still gave freely of his time and com­mit­ment to see­ing RMH a re­al­ity.”

Dur­ing the awards cer­e­mony, Hand’s wife Tina helped dis­trib­ute the awards, some­thing Hig­don be­lieved helps hon­our his legacy.

“As Tina … ap­proached the stage, I be­gan to think to my­self the per­sons that will ac­cept these awards will have to feel the hon­our and ex­cite­ment to know they are keep­ing (Dr. Hand’s) mem­ory alive,” she said.

Hig­don was one of the first to re­ceive her award, and she ad­mit­ted she was emo­tional over the ex­pe­ri­ence.

Other award win­ners in­cluded Jackie Fur­long (house op­er­a­tions), Lorna King (lead­er­ship), Chat­ters Sa­lon (house pro­gram) and New­found­land Hy­dro (out­stand­ing phi­lan­thropist). Vol­un­teers ac­knowl­edged were Gerry Beres­ford, Cathy Ben­nett, Theresa Ra­hal, Rod MacDon­ald, Brad Wicks, Rod Legge, Cathy Dorhan, Bill Budgell, Peggy Bartlett, John Hen­ley and the late Dr. Jack Hand.

Sub­mit­ted photo

An­nette Hig­don (right) stands next to Ron­ald McDon­ald dur­ing a vol­un­teer event in St. John’s April 11, where she won an award for com­mu­nity en­gage­ment for her fundrais­ing ef­forts for the Ron­ald McDon­ald House.

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