Paula Dawe named to Or­der of NL

The Labradorian - - Front Page - BY EVAN CAREEN

Paula Dawe is a fa­mil­iar face to many around Happy Val­ley-Goose Bay. The for­mer teacher is heav­ily in­volved in many vol­un­teer ef­forts in town and is al­ways will­ing to help a hand. Re­cently, Dawe was hon­oured with be­ing cho­sen for her vol­un­teer ef­forts as a mem­ber of the Or­der of New­found­land and Labrador.

“I’m still rather in shock,” Dawe said with a laugh. “It’s blown my mind. I got a call a few weeks ago to in­form me I had been se­lected. It was quite amaz­ing, I never ex­pected any­thing like this.”

The Or­der of New­found­land and Labrador, which has been around since 2004, is the high­est hon­our of the prov­ince. Ac­cord­ing to the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment, the ob­ject of the Or­der is to “rec­og­nize in­di­vid­u­als who have demon­strated ex­cel­lence and achieve­ment in any field of en­deav­our ben­e­fit­ing in an out­stand­ing man­ner New­found­land and Labrador and its res­i­dents.”

Dawe said she never ex­pected any re­ward for vol­un­teer­ing be­yond the en­joy­ment of the work it­self. She said she’s been vol­un­teer­ing since the 1960’s, when her and some other young par­ents set up a co­op­er­a­tive preschool in Por­tu­gal Cove, which has evolved into a day­care and still ex­ists to this day.

In 1975 her and her hus­band moved to Happy Val­ley-Goose Bay and she helped set up a lo­cal Early Child­hood De­vel­op­ment As­so­ci­a­tion, which set up a co-op­er­a­tive day­care in town, which is now Pump­kin House. She was also heav­ily in­volved in recre­ation and coached the Melville Man­tas swim team for 25 years, as well is be­ing in­volved in the or­ga­ni­za­tion at the board level.

“We came her on a two year con­tract and have been here ever since,” she said. “Peo­ple here are so giv­ing, it’s never a prob­lem to get money or goods raised when needed. Where else would I want to go?”

She has also been a vol­un­teer with the Roland Shears Me­mo­rial Ham­per for many years and now is mostly fo­cused on that pro­gram and the Kids Eat Smart pro­gram at Pea­cock Pri­mary.

“I get a lot back from all of these en­deav­ors but my work with kids is my great­est joys,” she said. “I spend about five hours a day at the school right now. I’m re­tired, what else would I do with my time?”

She said want­ing to be out, do­ing some­thing and be­ing a pos­i­tive in­flu­ence on the com­mu­nity is why she con­tin­ues to spend so much time help­ing oth­ers.

“I taught kinder­garten for 28 years, I tell them they just can’t get rid of me,” she said with a laugh. “The joy it gives the kids is one of the main rea­sons why I do it.”

She said the award is such a huge hon­our and has been given to many peo­ple she ad­mire in the past, which makes her hum­bled to be a part of the Or­der of New­found­land and Labrador.

Other re­cip­i­ents this year in­clude Olympic medal­ist Kaet­lyn Os­mond and artist Christo­pher Pratt.

Lt.-Gov. Judy Foote, who presents the award, said in a re­lease this year’s re­cip­i­ents rep­re­sent the di­ver­sity of the prov­ince.

“While they vary in age, gen­der and the na­ture of their ac­com­plish­ments, two things they all have in com­mon are their love for New­found­land and Labrador and their de­sire to make the world a bet­ter place,” Foote wrote.

The re­cip­i­ents will be in­ducted in a cer­e­mony in St. John’s on Jan. 29.

FILE PHOTO

Paula Dawe, who was re­cently named to the Or­der of New­found­land and Labrador, help­ing out at the Roland Shears Me­mo­rial Christ­mas Ham­pers ini­tia­tive.

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