Oct
21
2022

Seniors recognized for outstanding contributions to Island communities

(l-r) Sharda Gupta, Candy Gallant, Rosaleen Mahoney, Warren Ellis, Honourable Matthew MacKay, Pieter Valkennueg, Audrey Morris, chair of the PEI Seniors Secretariat. Missing: Beverly Harris.

Six Island Seniors have been awarded the Senior Islander of the Year for 2022.

The Senior Islanders of the Year Awards celebrate the work of Island seniors in areas like volunteering, artistic achievement, leadership, mentorship, fundraising, community participation and career achievement. 

"These awards are about recognizing and celebrating the significant contributions of Island seniors, through employment, volunteerism and community activities. I cannot think of a more deserving group of Islanders to receive this honour.” 

- Social Development and Housing Minister Matthew Mackay


“The seniors being recognized this year are exemplary individuals who promote a positive image of aging” said Audrey Morris, Chair of the PEI Seniors’ Secretariat. 

The 2022 Senior Islander of the Year Awards go to: 

  • Candy Gallant of Miscouche;
  • Pieter Valkenburg of North Tryon;
  • Rosaleen Mahoney of Summerside;
  • Warren Ellis of Summerside; 
  • Beverley Harris of Souris; and
  • Sharda Gupta of Charlottetown.
For more information, visit: PEI Senior Islanders of the Year Award.

Media contact:
Rebecca Gass
Senior Communications Officer 
Social Development and Housing 
rjgass@gov.pe.ca

Backgrounder 

2022 Senior Islanders of the Year 
Candy Gallant
Candy has volunteered in the wildlife field for over 45 years. She launched PEI Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Inc. and became the first person in PEI to hold a permit to rehabilitate and re-release wildlife to their natural environments. Candy has organized and facilitated wildlife rescues, led fundraising events and initiatives and has a large community following that supports her work in wildlife rehabilitation, working closely with AVC’s Wildlife Services department.

Candy has spent countless hours coordinating and facilitating public education about the rehabilitation of wildlife and personal health and safety while engaging with wildlife. Candy’s peers describe her as tremendous source of inspiration and a beacon of love towards all living things. 

Pieter Valkenburg
Pieter is described by his peers as an active senior who has infectious enthusiasm. Pieter moved to PEI in 2008 and became an active member in the community right away. A historian at heart, Pieter has taken a keen interest in sharing the legacies of PEI veterans. 

In 2013 he joined the Royal Canadian Legion and took an active role in helping researchers in the Netherlands at the Canadian War cemeteries find photos of families of Island soldiers buried there. 

In 2015, he began researching 48 names on the cenotaph outside of Borden-Carleton to learn their life stories, find photos, and to link their families together. This led to the creation of a dedicated research blog, which is still active.  His research has expanded to soldiers in other areas of Canada. 
Pieter has also volunteered with Hear PEI, to create videos for the organization’s YouTube channel.

Rosaleen Mahoney
Rosaleen has volunteered with Meals on Wheels for 34 years and continues to serve the organization as a Board member. She has been instrumental in securing two $10,000 grants for Meals on Wheels Summerside through 100 Women Who Care presentations. 

She has served the PEI Catholic Women’s League for over 40 years and advocates for both the PEI Cancer Society and the Heart and Stroke Society of PEI by coordinating and participating in awareness and fundraising campaigns. 

Rosaleen has won notable awards including the 2011 George Key Senior Memorial Award for Summerside, the Citizen of the Year Award and the Della Rowledge Murphy Memorial Award for Volunteerism through the Canadian Cancer Society. 

Warren Ellis 
In 2009, Warren initiated the largest annual fundraiser for the Prince County Hospital called Grass Roots and Cowboy Boots. To date, this fundraiser has raised over $12 million dollars. Warren has dedicated countless hours to fundraising and campaigning for a variety of causes over the years, including the Prince County Hospital Foundation, The Terry Fox Foundation, the Canadian Cancer Society, the PEI Heart and Stroke Foundation, the PEI Autism Society, and the Salvation Army. 

Peers describe Warren as embodying “citizenship.” He has won many notable awards including the Golden Jubilee Medal, the City of Summerside’s Volunteer of the Year, the Harry T. Holman Award, the House of Commons Award for Cancer Research, the Good Neighbor Award, and the Paul Harris Fellow Award. 

Beverley Harris
For over 30 years, Beverly worked as a Resident Care Worker at both Colville Manor and McIntyre House. A lover of music, Beverly dedicates her time and musical talents to Kingsboro Baptist Church Choir and local events. She is a valued member of the Souris Silver Threads Club, often volunteering her musical talents to perform in local Ceilidhs. 
Beverly’s peers describe her as friend to everyone, modeling compassion and care. 

Sharda Gupta 
Sharda moved to Canada in 1963. For over 31 years Sharda supported her community as a committee member, instructor and chairperson at Stonepark Community School. From 1993 to 2007 Sharda was a member of the Celebrate Canada Committee, a group that provides funding to community-based activities celebrating and promoting National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21, Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day on June 24, Canadian Multiculturalism Day on June 27 and Canada Day on July 1.

From 1966 to 2019 Sharda served as a member of Dorcas Women’s Association at the Kirk of St. James Presbyterian Church in various fundraising activities through volunteering her time at the church and in cooking various items of food for sale to generate funds for the church. 

Sharda has received numerous awards including the Olympic Year Awards, IRRC Citizenship Award, the Canada 125 Award, Volunteer of the Year in 2001 and the Citizen Recognition Award by the City of Charlottetown.

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

DeptSDH@gov.pe.ca