MLA for La Verendrye Dennis Smook had the opportunity to nominate 10 individuals for the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal. 

MLA Smook says quite of few of the individuals came to mind quickly. 

“Most of them weren't hard to pick because, in the 11 years that I've been on as an MLA, you know who calls you and who's always advocating for their community.” 

He also sought advice from other people in the area. 

“I talked to a couple of the different councils and just other people in the communities and asked who they thought would be a good person for these nominations.” 

Doris Hovorka 

“Doris is from Sprague and she's just been an incredible part of the Sprague community. She taught school, she was a principal there for many years, and she advocated all their different sports programs for the kids. For a small school like that to do the things they've done. She's been working hard at the Sprague Museum. She's just a mover and a shaker in her community.” 

Jean Gushulak 

“Jean is from Piney and she's been involved. Whenever there's a grant needed in the community, she usually fills out that. She's been on the local recreation committee. And most of my people (the nominees) are all the same people that have really dedicated themselves to the community.” 

Adrian Grenier 

“Adrian Grenier from St. Labre. He's been a trustee of the Francophone School Division for many years. His family started the St. Labre 200. I know Adrian was involved in the Stuartburn/Piney Agricultural Development Association for many years and he did a lot of stuff in the community.”  

Harold Penner  

“Harold Penner from Saint-Malo, originally from Arnott. He too was a school trustee and the chairman of the board for many years. And he's been chair of the Foodgrains Bank where all the different farmers donate grain for different projects they have.” 

Anita Gagne 

“She has a lot of things she's done with seniors and just a bunch of different projects.”  

Bruno Hebert 

“Bruno Hebert from Saint Malo. He's been a counselor in the RM a number of times, and he's also been a very strong advocate for the wildlife association. He built a rental property there that he rents out, but he's always done things in the community.” 

Curtis Dawydiuk  

“Curtis Dawydiuk from the Hanover AG society. He's been promoting the ag fair that they have in August and all the other events. And they have built a lot of projects on those grounds and Curtis has been the chair for a few years, and I know that he’s a strong and upcoming worker.” 

David Machula 

“David Machula is from Vita. He is one of those guys who's sort of in the background, you don't hear much about him, but he did a lot of work with the Vita Curling Club. He was on the board of directors for the credit union for many years. He's been on the local church executive for many years. And again, he makes things happen in the community, but from the background. He doesn't like any limelight or whatever. He's just a great guy.”  

JC Normandeau 

“Mr. Normandeau, he's been involved in a lot in the fire department and a number of different projects and stuff. So again, somebody who's part of the community.” 

Roland Gagne 

“Roland Gagne has been involved with culture and tourism. He had a lot to do with the Festival de Voyageur, and he's been on a number of different boards promoting culture and tourism.” 


Smook encourages everybody to volunteer. 

“Volunteering is the secret to making a community grow, and it's proven itself,” he says. “Things come from volunteering. Different types of social activities and things like the Hanover Ag Society. If it wasn't for volunteers, what would you have?”

He says Manitoba is one of the best provinces per capita for volunteers. 

"I think because we're maybe a little bit smaller that we all need to work harder to provide our community, whether it be in the recreation side of things, the cultural side of things, tourism, it's important that we all work together to make our communities grow.” 


With files from Adi Loewen