'Amazing' volunteers inducted into N.L. Hall of Fame

A retired teacher from Pollard's Point and a Scout leader from St. John's are two individuals recognized for a lifetime in the volunteer movement.

1st female hockey coach, Al-Anon volunteer, advocate for the blind among new inductees

Ed Roberts, chair of the selection committee for the NL Volunteer Hall of Fame, says the calibre of nominees makes it hard to decide who gets inducted. (Mark Cumby/CBC)

Five individuals and one organization are the newest inductees into the Newfoundland and Labrador Volunteer Hall of Fame.

Those honoured include the province's first female minor hockey coach, a long-time volunteer with Al-Anon, and a woman who translated adult basic education materials into Braille.

That's only a fraction of what the inductees have done, free of charge, during hundreds of volunteer hours over the past several decades.

"I am constantly impressed and astonished by the stories we hear about people who've done the most amazing contributions for their communities," said Ed Roberts, chair of the selection committee.

The Volunteer Hall of Fame was established in 2012. This year's inductees will receive their awards in a ceremony November 5.

The Royal St. John's Regatta Committee is also being recognized for the work of its volunteers in maintaining a 198-year-old tradition.

The individuals named are:

Patrick Hayward, St. John's, who has spent 50 years with groups such as the Scouting movement, the Boys and Girls Club, and the Knights of Columbus. He also volunteers with his church, and has been recognized by Canadian Blood Services for his long-time status as a donor. 

Eli Bishop, Pollard's Point, a retired teacher who still provides career guidance to youth. He founded the White Bay South Development Association in 1975, serves on the White Bay South Waste Management Committee and a number of other community organizations including the Evening Breeze 50+ Club, the Humber Winterland Snowmobile Club, the Community Advisory Council for Western Health, the Humber Economic Development Board, the NLTA and the Sop's Arm Pollard's Point Recreation Committee, among others.

Rosemary Marshall, St. John's, began volunteering in 1970 when she became what is believed to be the first female minor hockey coach in Newfoundland and Labrador, and went on to serve as assistant registrar and then chairperson of the St. John's Minor Hockey system. She also volunteered with the 1977 Canada Summer Games and the 1987 Canada Winter Games and has a honourary life membership in the NL Sports Federation (Sport NL).

Margie Stead, St. John's, is a long-time volunteer with Al-Anon, an active member of the MS Society of Canada and a volunteer with Corpus Christi Church. Stead has also raised funds for Matthew 25 Outreach, a local non-profit organization which provides support to a school and orphanage in Kenya.

Patricia Suvak, Conception Bay South, is a retired itinerant teacher who has volunteered with CNIB since 1975, taking the Adult Basic Education program and adapting it for people with vision loss by translating materials into either Braille or large print. She was also an advocate for blind and partially-sighted children as they transitioned into the public school system, helping to change attitudes about the abilities of people with vision loss and improving the quality of life for her students.