WINNIPEG, MB - Each month we take a moment to feature and thank unsung hero's in our community. These are everyday people who make a difference in Winnipeg and Manitoba.
Kevin and Brian Twomey
The Twomey family have been an integral part of the Winnipeg mosaic for as long as anyone can remember. Owners of T&T Seeds, brothers Kevin and Brian, are both much loved, having helped many people in many, many ways, from providing employment to endless generous donations of plants and plant materials for a whole list of worthy causes. Requests are seldom turned away. Their Uncle Jerry Twomey’s face adorned the T&T Seed catalogue for many years. Jerry Twomey was a rose breeder of note who also made a sizable donation to the collection of Inuit art that will be housed in the new addition to the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Over the past 15 years, Kevin has become a household name for his generous assistance to Dorothy Dobbie in taking on the duties for her garden show on the Sunday mornings when she has had to be out of town. Thank you Kevin and Brian, for all the wonderful things you have done for so many over the years. Now that you have sold the business and will be retiring a few years, it is important to let you know how much you are loved in this community.
Winnipeg and Manitoba have a reputation as being home to friendly people, and one of these would have to be Ian Hamelin of Charleswood, who routinely shovels the snow from his neighbours’ driveways. A former federal public servant, Ian started out early earning his reputation as a very nice guy, according to long time friend and acquaintance, former councillor Grant Nordman. “He was just one of those guys who was a very good friend to all those who knew him,” says Grant. As for his driveway shoveling, he got away with doing Dorothy Dobbie’s driveway for a whole year after her husband passed away before she discovered him at work one Sunday morning. “You caught me,” Ian said with a grin. Hats off to a neighbourhood good man.
The Aboriginal Centre of Winnipeg, now Neeginan Centre, has prospered under the excellent guidance of Marileen McCormick, the tiny, unassuming woman who packs a powerful lot of clout into her diminutive frame. Thanks to her careful management and guidance, the former down-at-the-heels, passenger station of the Canadian Pacific Railway gradually became a throbbing centre of education and activity for young and advancing Indigenous people, the home to many autonomously run Indigenous agencies and the focal point for the communities in Winnipeg. Marileen would be the first to tell you that there were many others who made the enterprise work, but without her quiet management, many or the efforts would have failed. She deserves our respect and heartfelt thanks for the services she has so unassumingly rendered the community for the past 20-plus years.
Tom Dercola is the hardworking president of Nostalgia Radio, 93.7 FM radio, a volunteer position. Tom spends most of his waking hours thinking and worrying about and working for the station, which is largely manned by volunteers. A former school teacher, Tom puts many of his widespread network of former students to work on behalf of CJNU in one form or another. There are few volunteer board members who would donate as much time to an organization as Tom does. Winnipeg as a community is a better place thanks to Tom and his efforts to keep this co-op station on the air and serving the 55-plus crowd.
The Perrin name will be known to many as belonging to the family that once owned a gold mine, a professional hockey team and later the Hotel Fort Garry, but it is not for those histories John is being recognized. He has also worked tirelessly for a good many excellent causes in Winnipeg, including his support of the St. Andrews Society and his battle to allow women to become members; his work to have the Scottish community recognized at Upper Fort Garry, his work as a board member the Children’s Hospital Foundation along with the many other volunteer roles he has played over the years. But it is for his work as co-chair with Bill Shead in leading the celebrations of the 200th anniversary of the signing of the Peguis-Selkirk Treaty that we tip our hat to him today. John called upon his personal friendship with the current Lord Selkirk, and his and Bill’s many community contacts, to bring together the descendants of the original Selkirk settlers and the those of the five First Nations communities who were signatory to the Treaty. Together, under his and Bill Shead’s leadership, they launched a very successful commemoration of the first Treaty ever signed in Western Canada, predating Confederation by more than 50 years.