Earlier this month, hundreds of citizens, from all walks of life, gathered for the annual Women of Distinction Awards, held by the YWCA, at the RBC Convention Centre in Winnipeg.
Some were new to this, as it’s never the same crowd at this yearly celebration. People who nominated their peers, nominated women and various others came to take a stand on such things as women’s equality and those who cannot speak for themselves, to name a couple of examples.
While there, I caught up to past winner, Nancy Chippendale, who is usually in attendance at this gala, which she has helped organize in the past..
For the 2017 celebration, Chippendale nominated Trudy Lavallee, awarded for her work on “Jordan’s Principle“.
Jordan’s Principle is a child-first principle named in memory of Jordan River Anderson, a First Nations child from Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba. Born with complex medical needs, Jordan spent more than two years unnecessarily in hospital while the Province of Manitoba and the federal government argued over who should pay for his home care.
Jordan died in the hospital at the age of five-years-old, never having spent a day in his family home. Jordan’s Principle aims to make sure First Nations children can access public services ordinarily available to other Canadian children without experiencing any service denials, delays or disruptions related to their First Nations status.
Plenty of women and men took to the podium in support of the event, to host it and to announce nominees and winners. Of course, there were the winners up there for all to see.
Dazzled by sparkles and lighting, and mostly by smiles, this production showed the courage many women have. Across Canada, many women are recognized by events like this, putting the spotlight on their great works and giving our community role models to look up to.
Jo Write was awarded the Eira “Babs” Friesen Lifetime Achievement Award. The award, named after community activist Eira Friesen, recognizes a life long commitment to improving the lives of women in our community.
Sporting themed T shirts, Community Champion Sharon Redsky and family stood proud with her award.
Redsky was instrumental in addressing the issue of access to clean water at Shoal Lake 40 First Nation. She took the fight to three levels of government so the community will eventually have an all weather road and clean drinking water, just as many of us have.
Redsky said she looks to the Medicine Wheel when it comes to healthy teens in her Sacred Seven Teen Relationships program.
Mayor Brian Bowman took to the podium to show his support for the Women of Distinction Awards Ceremony and to represent the community he was elected to govern.
Listen to Julien Cooper’s audio report on this special evening: