Nfld. & Labrador

8 receive Order of Newfoundland and Labrador, including youngest ever Katarina Roxon

A Paralympian, an advocate for people with disabilities, and the founder of Academy Canada are among this year's inductees.

Arts advocate David Smallwood, former St. John's deputy mayor Marie Ryan among recipients

In the front row, from left to right, the recipients; Terence Goodyear, Dr. Falah Maroun, Robert Mellin, Wayne Miller, Kathleen Pratt LeGrow, Katarina Roxon, Marie E. Ryan and David Smallwood. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

A Paralympian, an advocate for people with disabilities and the founder of Academy Canada are among the new inductees to the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Eight people were invested into the order at a ceremony Wednesday afternoon at Government House in St. John's.

One of them is also the youngest to ever receive the award. 

"It's a humongous honour," Katarina Roxon said. "I was listening to all the bios of my fellow recipients and it's just phenomenal to think that I am part of that group. It's an exciting day."

Paralympian Katarina Roxon speaks to reporters after accepting the Order of Newfoundland on Wednesday. (CBC)

Marie Ryan recovered from a viral illness that left her with paralysis, unable to walk for 10 years, and became a St. John's city councillor and, in 1997, the deputy mayor. She chaired a committee on homelessness and has worked to improve awareness, action and public policy 

She said she'll treasure the honour forever.

"When I acquired my disability I was very ill, and it seemed like at that time my life was probably going to be over and my opportunity be very limited. But because of many around me, including my peers and my community, I was able to rise above that and continue to contribute," she said.

"It is overwhelming to think about what you can do in your life when you have the needed support."

To date, 99 people have be invested into the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

Corner Brook's David Smallwood was also among the eight honoured on Wednesday. The educator is the creator of Academy Canada, but is probably best known for his many contributions to the arts community. He said his medal is also a big win for the west coast arts scene. 

"It's a wonderful honour. To be among the eight that got the award is very humbling. Just to be here today among them is really an honour for me," he said.

Marie Ryan, who fought back from devastating illness to become deputy mayor of St. John's and advocate for the homeless, accepts her Order of N.L. on Wednesday. (CBC)

The other recipients include; Terence Goodyear, for significant work advancing and promoting the engineering and construction industries in the province. A former deputy mayor of Grand Falls-Windsor, Goodyear is a longtime volunteer and a supporter of Big Brothers and Big Sisters Canada.

Dr. Falah Maroun, originally from Lebanon, arrived in this province in 1967 for a short locum but he never left. He was honoured for his work in the field of neuroscience, a division which he led for almost 40 years. For a long time Dr. Maroun was the only neuroscientist in Newfoundland and Labrador. 

Robert Mellin received the honour for his contributions as an architect, author and heritage conservation; most notably for his efforts in Tilting, on Fogo Island, trying preserve the community's houses, stages, flakes and root cellars there.

Corner Brook's David Smallwood was recognized for his contributions to the arts community in western Newfoundland. (CBC)

Recepient Wayne Miller was born in St. John's but joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1961 until his honourable retirement in 1991. He continues to work as a dedicated volunteer and as an advocate for veterans, including working with the the IceCaps to incorporate military traditions into the teams's home games. 

Kathleen Pratt LeGrow was recognized for her work as a social worker, educator and philanthropist. LeGrow is also a well known business person and has served on numerous boards. 

The deadline to nominate someone for next year's Order of N.L. is March 2, 2018. 

With files from Jeremy Eaton