Senior Islanders of the Year recognized

2016 Senior Islanders of the Year Award Winners, front row (L to R) Maria Bernard; Minister responsible for seniors, Tina Mundy; Alice Taylor. Back row: Mary Hughes, PEI Seniors Secretariat chair; Bill Hogg; Verna Barlow and Annie Lee MacDonald.

Five Island seniors have been named Senior Islanders of the Year for their outstanding contributions to our community.  

The Senior Islanders of the Year awards celebrate the work of Island seniors in such areas as volunteering, artistic achievement, leadership, mentorship, fundraising, community participation, and career achievement. Family and Human Services Minister Tina Mundy and PEI Seniors’ Secretariat Chair Mary Hughes presented the 2016 PEI Senior Islanders of the Year Awards to:

• Verna Barlow of Poplar Grove;
• Maria Bernard of Summerside;
• Alan Stuart William (Bill) Hogg of Cornwall;
• Annie Lee MacDonald of Augustine Cove; and
• Alice Taylor of Stratford.

“These five outstanding senior Islanders are motivated leaders, mentors, and role models and we are privileged to acknowledge the value they bring to the lives of others every day,” Family and Human Services Minister Tina Mundy said. “As minister responsible for seniors, I would like to thank everyone who took the time to nominate someone and for recognizing the unique role that Island seniors play in enhancing our way of life.”

“The Seniors’ Secretariat is excited to recognize the important contributions that seniors make in improving our Island communities,” Mary Hughes said. “The awards celebrate positive images of aging and these recipients lead by example and show us what is possible at any stage in life.”

For more information, visit Senior Islanders of the Year Awards

2016 Senior Islanders of the Year

Verna Barlow
This resident of Poplar Grove is an enthusiastic community volunteer who lends a helping hand to many community organizations.  She is described as “…truly one very remarkable woman whose whole attitude is one of caring, compassion, commitment and dedication to her family, her friends, her church and her community.”

Mrs. Barlow has been a member of the Stewart Memorial Healthcare Auxiliary for over 40 years – continuing to serve within the health care centre where she worked as a lab technician for 37 years. She has held various leadership positions in the Auxiliary and in celebration of her service she has been recognized with life time memberships in the national, provincial and local auxiliary branches.
Mrs. Barlow has also been a member and keen supporter of the Poplar Grove –MacNeill’s Mills Women’s Institute for over 40 years, holding many executive positions.

She was instrumental in starting a ‘Caring Cupboard’ in Tyne Valley where she works diligently with her team to accept donations of food and funds, stock and monitor the shelves and dispense food to visitors to the Caring Cupboard.

Maria Bernard
This resident of Summerside has assumed a leadership role in many organizations, including president of the Evangeline Regional Agricultural Exhibition and Acadian Festival, president of the Société Saint Thoma d’Aquin, president of l’Association des Francophones de l’age d’or de I’Île-du-Prince-Édouard (2010-2016) and volunteer and president of the PEI Rape and Sexual Assault Centre.

A retired teacher, Mrs.Bernard has been instrumental in organizing a number of education sessions within the Federation d’age d’or Francophone de l’age d’or de I’Île-du-Prince-Édouard and her community presenting a number of health and wellness topics. She is noted for the energy, dedication and efficiency that she brings to her work and for her continued devotion to spreading awareness and enjoyment of the Acadian language and culture.

One of her nominators noted that “Maria has a natural, pleasing character that makes anything she attempts become a success.”   

Alan Stuart William (Bill) Hogg
This retired teacher and resident of Cornwall has been described as an individual with a passion for teaching, sport and youth fitness. As an educator Mr. Hogg has always been at the ready with an extracurricular activity that engages students and staff to provide more meaningful educational experiences.

As noted by one of his nominators, “Mr. Hogg is failing retirement badly” in that he continues to fill his days with volunteer activities in support of school breakfast programs “filling each child’s plate and making sure each one leaves with a smile and a giggle,” lending a helping hand at schools and at the university delivering the presentation, Know yourself and Inspire Others.

Mr. Hogg has also been a member of the board of directors for Kids Count, a camp director for the Canadian Diabetes Association for 10 years, and a Certified Canadian Nordic Ski Instructor for the past 20 years. Described as a ‘catalyst for the sport’s progression,’ Mr. Hogg has dedicated hours to introduce youth to the sport.

Cited for his remarkable talent to galvanize others into action, Mr. Hogg and the late Gordon Hermann conceived the idea of an educational trail system and with the support of many community partners the dream of the Terry Fox Trail Enhancement Group became a reality, creating a sanctuary of natural delights for the enjoyment of people of all ages.

Annie Lee MacDonald
This resident of Augustine Cove is the founder and President of the PEI chapter of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association and a 15 year member of the National Hard of Hearing Association board. 

Mrs. MacDonald was born in Stanley Bridge and attended school in Kensington before graduating as a teacher from Prince of Wales College. Her teaching career spanned 34 years during which time she and her husband Elmer were raising their family of three children on their farm.

It was only after marrying that Mrs. MacDonald recognized that she had a hearing loss and began to address this lifelong challenge. Inspired by the information and support that she received, Annie Lee sought instruction on speech reading and began to teach the three levels of speech reading on PEI. A passionate advocate for accessibility issues she has brought hard of hearing issues into the spotlight. She is also lends her substantial expertise as a gardener towards supporting the Crapaud Exhibition and Garden show – by arranging display areas, recording entries and assisting in organizing the event. 

Alice Taylor
This resident of Stratford is a highly respected early childhood and adult educator. Mrs. Taylor retired as the head of the Early Childhood Education Department at Holland College after 35 years as an early childhood educator, college instructor and life coach. Under her leadership the Early Childhood Education program flourished as exemplary program leading in the field.

After retirement she continued her deep commitment to the well-being of children, families and education as a member of the Early Childhood Development Association of PEI, serving as president and current past-president of the organization.  Her unique ability to build and nurture respectful relationships has helped the sector achieve some of the most significant advances in its history. 

She has been widely recognized for her “wisdom and gentle, positive leadership” with the Handle With Care program, a parenting program aimed at supporting the emotional well-being of children and families. As a facilitator, she has trained over 100 educators, supported the design, writing and field testing of revisions to the program and continues to work with the creators of the program and the community of practice of people involved. 

In addition she has served as a member of the executive with the Holland College Retiree Association, is a member of Education 2020, a non-profit organization committed to working towards quality education for all and is an active member of the United Church of Canada Women’s Group at Park Royal United Church. Alice’s remarkable talents extend to interior design and decorating where she is called upon to create restorative environments based on feng shui principles.

Media contact:
Darlene Gillis
Department of Family and Human Services

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