Burgeo’s Donna War­ren rec­og­nized for ef­forts in the com­mu­nity

Awarded the Sov­er­eign’s Medal for Vol­un­teers

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - Front Page - BY ROS­ALYN ROY

Two years after Burgeo Academy Staff sub­mit­ted her name for con­sid­er­a­tion, Donna War­ren has re­ceived the Sov­er­eign’s Medal for Vol­un­teers. The medal rec­og­nizes ex­cep­tional vol­un­teers across Canada who have made sig­nif­i­cant, un­paid and sus­tained con­tri­bu­tions to their com­mu­nity.

At first War­ren ad­mits she thought the email ad­vis­ing her of the nom­i­na­tion and win was a scam, but a quick Google search of Julie Payette, the for­mer as­tro­naut and cur­rent Gover­nor Gen­eral of Canada, soon al­layed that fear.

“I said, ‘ Well, this must be real,’” re­calls War­ren, who picked up the phone and even­tu­ally spoke di­rectly with Payette who told her that she had been nom­i­nated two years ear­lier. “She said, ‘I can­not tell you where this came from, but if that per­son wants to come for­ward and tell you they can.’”

Given Burgeo’s close- knit com­mu­nity, it didn’t take long be­fore War­ren dis­cov­ered who had nom­i­nated her.

“The prin­ci­pal’s wife – she was the one who nom­i­nated me – Ruby Penney,” War­ren said.

War­ren de­clined a trip to St. John’s to re­ceive the award – she says she isn’t one for any fuss. In­stead it was awarded to her dur­ing the school’s an­nual Award Night. Burgeo – La Poile MHA and Jus­tice Min­is­ter An­drew Par­sons made the pre­sen­ta­tion.

War­ren has a long his­tory of vol­un­teer­ing, par­tic­u­larly with chil­dren.

That legacy be­gan when she first joined the tourism com­mit­tee and the mu­seum com­mit­tee in 1990. Since then she has also vol­un­teered for Story Hour, served as a li­brary board mem­ber, a Sun­day School teacher and con­fir­ma­tion leader, and still serves as a vol­un­teer for the school Snack Pro­gram, Break­fast Pro­gram and Ap­ple Day.

War­ren has also vol­un­teered with Girl Guides and mi­nor hockey, and is cur­rently a mem­ber of the Messieurs Bridge Com­mit­tee, which is fundrais­ing to re­store the his­toric bridge that was swept away by a tidal surge last win­ter.

Girl Guides folded in 2017, a re­sult of chil­dren get­ting older and mov­ing into dif­fer­ent groups and in­ter­ests, with too few younger chil­dren to re­place them.

“That was very, very sad when Girl Guides went. I ab­so­lutely loved it,” says War­ren. “Times have changed. Noth­ing you can do about it.”

Burgeo’s de­mo­graph­ics, trend­ing to­wards an older pop­u­la­tion with­out much in­flux of youth, are noth­ing new to coastal com­mu­ni­ties. War­ren es­ti­mates a lit­tle over 80 stu­dents are in the area now.

“The en­roll­ment has dwin­dled to hardly any­thing. There’s no kids here now,” says War­ren. “We’ve only got a half a dozen ( to) a dozen left in hockey.”

De­spite that, War­ren shows no signs of slow­ing down any­time soon.

Only last year she joined the ladies’ vol­un­teer group, the Bur­nettes, which as­sists with fundrais­ing for the fire depart­ment’s new truck.

“No, no,” laughs War­ren at the sug­ges­tion she has earned some rest. “I try to get out­doors more. As you get older you need ex­er­cise.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Sov­er­eign Award win­ner Donna War­ren.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

The sov­er­eign medal.

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