A handful of Northern Manitobans were among 150 people recognized by Canada Life through its Honour 150 program, including Mervin Reibin from Gillam and Hilda Anderson-Pyrz of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO).
A Junior Canadian Ranger leader since 2014 who taught scuba diving before that, Reibin was supposed to take over the program for just a short period.
“I wanted to make sure the program continued … other than hockey and skating there wasn’t much to do in Gillam,” says Reibin, who took youth on a snowmobile trip to Churchill after developing their skills over three years to prepare them to camp in the harsh winter weather.
“My hope is that later in life, these kids will look back at what I did with them and they will volunteer in some capacity as well,” said Reibin, who works full-time for Manitoba Hydro. “I’m only able to commit the time and energy that I do because of the support for the program by the Canadian Armed Forces, my employer and most of all my family and friends that aid me in providing the program.”
Delanie Allan of Gillam says Reibin is a high-energy individual who sets a high standard for the youth in the program.
“He takes pride in seeing the youth develop skills and knowledge they may not have received if not for this program and his time commitment,” Allan said.
Anderson-Pyrz is manager of MKO’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) Liaison Unit and chair fo the MMIWG National Family and Survivors Circle and previously served as co-chair of the Manitoba MMIWG Coalition.
"Everyone who works with Hilda knows she is a tireless and passionate advocate on the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, Two Spirit, and gender-diverse people,” said MKO Grand Chief Garrison Settee. “Hilda is a shining example to people right across the entire province of Manitoba of the positive impact one person can have when it comes to creating positive changes for others. She is a leader who is guided by her own life experience. Hilda, her family, and her community have all been impacted by the devastating loss of Hilda’s sister Dawn nearly 10 years ago. Hilda honours the memory of her sister and others who have been lost to violence through the essential work of impacting changes on the issue of MMIWG. I thank Hilda for her ongoing commitment and determination to creating a safer world for Indigenous women, girls, Two Spirit, and gender-diverse people.”
Honour 150 recipients were nominated by people from their communities and photos and biographies of all of them are posted on the Honour 150 website. Each recipient also has $500 donated to a charity of their choice.
“In these unprecedented times, the stories of these 150 Manitobans demonstrates the resilience, hopes and selflessness that make our province strong,” said Manitoba 150 co-chairs Monique LaCoste and Stuart Murray. “The achievements reflect the amazing deeds that have contributed to Manitoba’s reputation as one of the most generous provinces in Canada. We have never been prouder to call ourselves Manitobans.”