1999 Recipients of the Medal of Merit
In 1991, Edith V. Eldershaw received one of only 25 National Citation for Citizenship Awards. At that time it was noted that her “...outstanding achievements have exemplified Canadian values and the principles of Canadian citizenship contributing greatly to the richness and strength of our Country.” The same may be said of Mrs. Eldershaw’s contributions to Prince Edward Island and it’s people. She has displayed exemplary leadership in her home Community of Tignish since 1949 when, as President of the Home and School Association, she Chaired the local Red Cross Swimming Program and, shortly thereafter, became a volunteer with the P.E.I. Division, Red Cross and established a Red Cross First Aid Post in her home. She has been helping people in need ever since.
There are many examples of this commitment to help others; in 1960, her concern for better health services for her community led to the establishment of a health committee whose efforts resulted in the creation of the Tignish Health Centre Cooperative. In 1966, Mrs. Eldershaw joined the P.E.I. Emergency Measures Organization to better serve others in need. Many examples of this commitment exist including, in 1967, contributions during a search for a missing handicapped youth and during forest fires in Leoville and North Cape.
In 1968, Mrs. Eldershaw was integral to the establishment of the regional water safety program in 23 outlying districts and, through continued work with the Home and School Association oversaw the use of school buses to transport children to and from swimming classes. These efforts to provide positive channels for the expression of youthfulness led her in 1962 to participate in the building of a covered rink in Tignish and to participate as the only woman on the Tignish Sports Recreation Association.
Youth were not the only recipients of Mrs. Eldershaw’s tireless energies. In 1967 she worked with community development programs to obtain parish lands for the construction of the first senior citizens home in Tignish. Other areas receiving the benefit of Mrs. Eldershaw’s devotion to public service include; Chief Observer for the RCAF Ground Observer Corps (1951), Member and Secretary of the Tignish Historical Preservation Foundation, work with the mentally and physically challenged, 10 years on the Board of the Western Hospital, work with Girl Guides, 10 years as regional chair of the United Fund Campaign, 10 years with the Western Christian Council, Charter and life Member of the Ladies Auxiliary of Royal Canadian Legion, Tignish (serving as President at the local and Provincial levels) and, in 1980, receiving the Certificate of Merit in recognition of these exemplary contributions. In 1995, her local auxiliary presented her with the Member of the Year Award and in 1999, she was appointed Honorary President of the Ladies Auxiliary, Provincial Command, Royal Canadian Legion.
All of these efforts have not gone unnoticed. In 1967 she received the prestigious Centennial Medal on Canada’s 100th Anniversary. In 1972 she was named P.E.I.’s Woman of the Year by the Women’s Institute. In 1973 Centennial Citizen of P.E.I., in 1962 Red Cross Badge of Service, 1972 Distinguished Service Bar for 20 years of service and in 1987 Order of Red Cross, a National Award and the highest honour the Society can bestow on a divisional volunteer. She also received what she deems to be her proudest award, the 1987 Tignish Citizen of the Year. In addition, her contributions have been acknowledged by the Co-operative movement of Tignish and the Journal Pioneer for her work with the paper.
Whether being asked to participate in constitutional renewal or to assist in fundraising for the QEH, Mrs. Eldershaw has been up to the task. In the words of her nominator, “Through poverty, sickness, accidents, fires and all other emergencies, this spirited lady was there for the people.”
Dr. Hubert O'Hanley
Dr. John Hubert O’Hanley has dedicated his life to children and to his community. His unselfishness is highlighted by an exemplary medical career spanning five decades, featured by a reputation of making himself available to those in need, by special healing skills and by a unyielding willingness to give attention to the most severely distressed. He has made a significant difference in the lives of all Prince Edward Islanders, especially those of children and their parents.
Born in St. Peter’s Bay, Dr. O’Hanley displayed an early interest in the medical profession . In addition, even as a young man, his call for public service was strong as demonstrated by his joining the Prince Edward Island Highlanders during WWII. Transferring to the Canadian Parachute Corp., Dr. O’Hanley went overseas to England in 1945. Upon coming home from the War, he returned to St. Dunstan’s and McGill Universities receiving his Medical Doctorate in 1950, setting the stage for a long and distinguished medical career.
In 1954, Dr. O’Hanley decided to return to Prince Edward Island and apply his skills as the Island’s only pediatrician. He knew that this career choice would represent long hours and many sacrifices for he and his new family, yet he undertook the challenge without hesitation. The Island Community has been the beneficiary of that decision ever since.
Dr. O’Hanley’s special ability to care for others, especially children did not stop with the practice of medicine. He took a personal interest in each and every child under his care and his dedication to those patients was unwavering. Illustrations of this commitment include 25 years of service on the Board of the Catholic Family Services Bureau during which time he was instrumental in establishing a home for single mothers and the Oak Acres Camp for underprivileged children. He also played a key role in the establishment of the Sherwood Home for the mentally challenged where he still visits his friends to this day. Other areas which have received the benefits of Dr. O’Hanley’s boundless energy and talents include the establishment of Island Hospice, Ronald MacDonald House in Halifax and the creation of unified hospital for Charlottetown.
Other awards and accomplishments include:
- Papal Medal (Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice) (1979)
- Canada 125 Medal
- Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Prince Edward Island in 1995
- Mentor Award, Charlottetown Rotary Club
- Senior Membership in the Canadian Medical Association
- Canadian Pediatric Society, Emeritus Fellow
- Life Member of the Medical Society of Prince Edward Island
- Honorary Chair of the P.E.I. Wish Foundation and the Haviland Club
In acknowledgement of these exemplary contributions, the J.H. O’Hanley Award of Excellence was established in 1996 to recognize those who have made exceptional contributions to the care of children and have demonstrated outstanding dedication and loyal service in their career. These are hallmarks of Dr. O’Hanley’s own career. His devotion as a medical professional is obvious. His contributions in other areas are commendable and outstanding and have unquestionably strengthened Prince Edward Island as a society.
Paul H. Schurman
After a 33 year broadcasting career, Paul H. Schurman retired in 1992 as President and General Manager of Gulf Broadcasting Co. Ltd. During his broadcasting career, and since retirement, Mr. Schurman has given unselfishly of himself in contributing positively to his Island Community.
Mr. Schurman’s record of voluntarism is lengthy. Working at the community, provincial, regional and national levels, he has done a great deal to contribute to the social, economic and cultural life of our Province and its people. His many areas of involvement are proof of this and include; Charter President of the Prince County Branch Red Cross, Past President of Summerside Christian Council and Summerside Meals on Wheels, Past Vice-Chair of the P.E.I. Special Olympics, Immediate Past Chair of the Museum and Heritage Foundation, Past Director of the QEH Foundation, Past Director of the P.E.I. Division of the Canadian Paraplegic Association, President of the Kay Reynolds Independent Living Centre, Member at Large, Provincial Canada Games Committee Inc., past Director of Sport P.E.I. and Summerside and Area Minor Hockey Association. Other areas of involvement include; the P.E.I. Music Festival Association, Barb McNeil English Channel Swim, CNIB Visions Luncheon, United Way, Community Foundations of P.E.I. and Canada and Provincial Governor of Heritage Canada.
In addition to this impressive registry of participation, Mr. Schurman has found other unique ways of contributing to the betterment of our Island society. In 1973, he was instrumental in establishing the requirement for safety enclosures on prescription bottles, a founding Member of the Lowell Phillips Scholastic Award for handicapped persons, administrator of the Schurman Family Scholarship Foundation, founding Chair of the Regional/Cultural Events Centre Inc. (playing an integral role in the construction of the Wyatt Centre), Chair of the Organizing Committee for the Canadian Museum Association Annual Conference, coordinator of a successful fundraising campaign for the Prince Edward Island Sports Hall of Fame, Vice-Chair of the Parkside School Alumni and coordinator of a citizens committee concerning Prince County Addition Services.
In acknowledgement of these outstanding contributions, Mr. Schurman has been recognized by the following:
- 1982 Summerside Citizen of the Year
- Order of Red Cross, 1984
- Inducted in the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Broadcast Hall of Fame
- Paul Mulvihill Heart Award (1991)
- Inducted into the P.E.I. Sports Hall of Fame (1992)
- Recipient of the Order of Canada (1992)
- Recipient of the Canada 125 Commemorative Medal (1993)
- Honorary Member of Sport P.E.I.
- Honorary Member George R. Pearkes VC Branch Royal Canadian Legion
- Honorary Member of the Atlantic Association of Broadcasters
As clearly demonstrated by the foregoing, Mr. Schurman is a most worthy recipient of this honour and serves to personify the qualities for which the Order of Prince Edward Island was established to honour.