Twelve new members will be inducted into the Order of Manitoba this year, Lt. Gov. Philip S. Lee, chancellor of the order, announced Monday, May 11.
The Order of Manitoba, the province's highest honour, recognizes individuals who have demonstrated excellence and achievement in any field of endeavour, benefi ting the social, cultural
or economic wellbeing of Manitoba and its residents.
"As my term as lieutenant- governor and chancellor comes to a close, I have been honoured to oversee the induction of 63 new members to the order. When I include those selected in 2015, it
brings to 75 the number of exceptional women and men recommended for investiture during my time as chancellor."
"While the individual accomplishments of the 12 women and men recommended this year for investiture are wide ranging, they share the giving spirit and commitment to community for which Manitobans are known. Whether their impact is felt at the local or international levels, they are each a credit to our province and our country."
Among those to be invested in 2015 is Elkhorn’s Sheldon Kennedy. Born in Brandon, Sheldon Kennedy was raised on hockey in Thompson and Elkhorn.
Well-known for his NHL career (1988 to 1998), he is perhaps better known for turning the tragedy of a history of sexual abuse into awareness, hope and help for other victims around
Sheldon Kennedy played professionally for the Detroit Red Wings, the Calgary Flames, the Boston Bruins and the Manitoba Moose.
He was also a member of Canada's gold-medal winning team at the 1988 World Junior Hockey Championship in Moscow.
In 1996, his junior hockey league coach, Graham James, was charged and convicted of sexual assault for the abuse Sheldon Kennedy suffered over a five-year period while a
teenager under his care.
He detailed the traumatic effects of the abuse in his 2006 autobiography Why I Didn't Say Anything, and for close to 20 years, has been a tireless advocate for abuse survivors and for programs
and legislation that better protects youth from abuse.
In 1998 his cross-Canada in-line skate raised $1 million for the Canadian Red Cross abuse-prevention programs. A former ambassador for Sport Manitoba's Respect in Sport
online coaching tool, he co-founded Respect Group Inc. in 2004, which provides online education for the prevention of abuse, bullying and harassment.
In recognition of his courageous advocacy, Sheldon Kennedy was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2014.
Also being inducted are:
• Rachel Alao, founding executive director and program director of Winnipeg's Helping Hands Resource Centre for Immigrants Inc.;
• Chad Allan, a rock music icon, for his contributions to the Canadian music industry including the pivotal role he played in the creation of two legendary Winnipeg rock bands: The Guess
Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive;
• Karen Beaudin, a community resource co-ordinator and proud Manitoba Métis, for increasing support, understanding and respect for Indigenous people in the workforce and her ongoing
service to the community;
• Tom Cochrane, a multi Juno Award-winning musician, for his accomplishments as a member of Red Ryder and as a solo performer, and his far-reaching humanitarian efforts;
• Dian Cohen, economist, broadcaster and author;
• Wilma L. Derksen, artist, author and internationally respected expert on the unique needs of victims of serious crime, for her long-standing support and advocacy following the
abduction and murder of her daughter Candace in 1984;
• Dan Johnson, the founding executive director of the Manitoba Special Olympics;
• Donald R. J. Mackey, much-honoured Métis veteran, for ensuring the sacrifices of First Nations and Métis veterans are never forgotten;
• Mitch Podolak, founding artistic director of the Winnipeg Folk Festival, for his contributions to the folk music community, and establishing and promoting music festivals and artistic
• Khhem Kamarie (Monica) Singh, a member of the Manitoba Ethnocultural Advocacy and Advisory Council, for actively supporting recent immigrants to
Manitoba, especially in areas that help to improve the quality of life of women, their families and communities; and
• Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks captain, Stanley Cup victor, and gold-medal winning Olympian, for his tremendous contributions to sport and the community while serving as
an exemplary model for Canadian youth.
Recipients are selected by an independent advisory council that evaluates all nominations received and then recommends up to 12 candidates each year to the chancellor. Once inducted
into the order, members may use the initials O.M. after their names for life. This year's investiture will take place at a ceremony to be held in July at the Manitoba Legislative Building.