Five Island seniors recognized for community leadership

Her Honour Lieutenant Governor Antoinette Perry, Paul H. Schurman, Eileen Chiasson-Pendergast, Wanda MacLean, Isabel Yuill, Patrick Curley and Social Development and Housing Minister Ernie Hudson.

The accomplishments and contributions of five Island seniors have helped build stronger communities across the province. That is why they’ve been named Prince Edward Island’s 2019 Senior Islanders of the Year. 

Eileen Chiasson-Pendergast, Patrick Curley, Wanda MacLean, Paul H. Schurman and Isabel Yuill were recognized for their community leadership, spirit, and commitment to making Prince Edward Island great. 

“Through their tireless volunteer efforts, mentorship, community activities, fund-raising, advocacy and overall positive attitude towards life, these Islanders have made a sustained and lasting impact on Prince Edward Island for the benefit of us all,” said Isabelle Christian, Chair of the PEI Seniors’ Secretariat.

The Senior Islanders of the Year award are given out annually to recognize the significant contribution of Island seniors in community life including volunteerism, artistic achievement, fund raising, community participation, fitness and recreation, and other activities.  The recognition program is overseen by the PEI Seniors’ Secretariat. 

To be eligible for the award, nominees must be:

  • a current resident of Prince Edward Island;
  • 65 years of age or older; and
  • willing to be nominated

“The lives of Islanders have been improved greatly because of the service work and dedication to community by this year’s recipients. Eileen, Patrick, Wanda, Paul and Isabel demonstrate that at any age, Islanders can make a significant impact on community life. I thank them for their continued work, experience and knowledge.”

- Minister of Social Development and Housing, Ernie Hudson

Ann Sherman, Evelyn Jenkins, Fairley Yeo, Grace Blackette and Kaye Larkin were honoured with the award in 2018. 

Media contact:
April Gallant
Department of Social Development and Housing


Eileen Chiasson-Pendergast
A resident of Tignish, Eileen is an active, life-long volunteer and educator as well as a proud advocate for the Francophone language and Acadian culture. She was a leader in the establishment of the West Prince Acadian Centre and establishing French immersion programming in the area. Eileen is also involved in theatre and has written and directed numerous productions including a recent performance during the Congres Mondial des Acadian event in Tignish. An active parish member and head of the French mass choir at Immaculate Conception Church, Eileen is also the founder and instructor of the West Prince square dancers.

From her nominator:
 “Eileen is known to all as a vivacious, passionate, meticulously detailed woman who puts her ‘all’ into each task and challenge.  She has been a mentor, teacher, and leader and – as active now as she was in her 20’s - shows no signs of slowing down.”

Patrick Curley
Patrick, a resident of St. Peters, is the President of the Souris Silver Threads Seniors Club. Patrick, who is in his second term as President, has taken an active role in the Club’s success including securing financial supports, maintenance of the Club’s building, and providing entertainment at their weekly ceilidhs. An active member of St. Peters Church, Patrick also serves as the Kings County Representative on the Board of the PEI Senior Citizen’s Federation. Described as an advocate for those who are less fortunate, Patrick demonstrates exemplary volunteerism and community spirit. 

From his nominator:
“Patrick is an honest, sincere, hard-working social activist who strives to make working and living conditions better for all Islanders.”

Wanda MacLean
Described as a “professional volunteer” and “human dynamo”, Wanda MacLean of Charlottetown, volunteers her time with several groups including the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Auxiliary, Habitat for Humanity, Bible for Missions, St. Paul’s church, Shriners and the Oak Tree Singers choir.  Through her own personal commitment to wellbeing, Wanda inspires others to live healthy, active lives. 

From her nominator:
“Wanda has a very positive attitude and always tries to encourage others to keep going and get going.”

Paul H. Schurman
A longtime resident of Summerside, Paul is well-known to Islanders as a pioneer in radio and broadcasting, significant contributor to the development of sports, arts, culture and heritage in Prince Edward Island and a community leader and volunteer. A member of the Order of Canada and PEI Sports Hall of Fame, Paul has more recently focused his efforts to helping improve the life of older adults and raise public awareness of seniors’ issues. The founder of the Seniors United Network, Paul is also a member of the PEI Seniors Secretariat. 

From his nominator:
“Paul continues to serve his community and province to this day and in doing so has made the City of Summerside and the Island a better place to live for its residents, especially for seniors.”

Isabel Yuill
Originally from Nova Scotia, Isabel has embraced community life and volunteerism in her community of O’Leary. Isabel is well-known and respected in the Island’s farming community and was the first female member of the O’Leary Lions Club. Isabel has also served as a board member of the Potato Blossom Festival, the PEI Land Use Commission (now IRAC), and O’Leary Farmer’s Cooperative. The Town of O’Leary acknowledged her community leadership with its Volunteer of the Year Award in 2011. 

From her nominator:
“All have benefitted from Isabel’s involvement in the life of this community, province and beyond, and she is not done yet.”

General Inquiries

Department of Social Development and Housing
2nd Floor, Jones Building
11 Kent Street
PO Box 2000
Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8

Phone: 902-620-3777
Toll-free: 1-866-594-3777
Fax: 902-368-4740