CORNER BROOK — Hope Wiseman was standing in her kitchen last Monday when she got a phone call from Finance Minister Tom Marshall’s office.
The 78-year-old Corner Brook woman was told that Marshall wanted to talk to her.
Wiseman has known Marshall for years, so she said the request “didn’t mean anything to me. I figured he probably wanted to know something.”
Marshall asked her what she was doing the next morning and if she could drop over to his office at 11 a.m.
She told him that she had to attend the announcement that Corner Brook would be hosting the 2016 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games, but that she would drop over.
It was then that Marshall told Wiseman he had nominated her for a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.
“Which I thought was a great honour. I mean for the minister to nominate you.”
But that wasn’t all.
Marshall also told her that she had been selected to receive one of the commemorative medals marking the 2012 celebrations of the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II.
The news took Wiseman off guard.
“Well my dear, I tell ya, if I had a seat I would have sat down. It was a shock,” Wiseman said.
But if you look at Wiseman’s volunteer history, the nomination and the win come as no surprise.
Wiseman is originally from St. John’s and it is there she started volunteering at the age of 12 by selling peanuts for a war effort program.
“And the slogan was ‘nuts to you, smokes to them,’” she said of the organization that used to raise money and knit mitts and hats for soldiers.
She would continue to volunteer as she went through nursing school and then after she moved to Corner Brook in 1958 and went to work at Western Memorial Regional Hospital.
“Most of my charitable work centres around health,” she said.
Over the years that has included working with the Canadian Diabetes Association, serving as president of the VON in Corner Brook and being a member on the fundraising committees for the Cancer Centre Western Region and the palliative care unit at Western Memorial.
And she’s still volunteering today.
Wiseman is treasurer of the Western Memorial Regional Hospital Ladies Auxiliary, a board member with the Humber Valley Community Employment Corporation and a volunteer coach with the Special Olympics.
“I enjoy it,” is the reason she gives for helping out when and where she can. I get satisfaction out of it. I don’t want any big awards or rewards. I enjoy what I’m doing,” she said.
She said the organizations need the help.
“When I was working and I used to see the ladies in the auxiliary and the work that they did I used to say when I retire I’m going to be one of you. And I did,” said Wiseman.
“Our hospital auxiliary is the oldest auxiliary on the island and at one time we had 50, 60 members. Do you know we only have 10 now?” said Wiseman to demonstrate the need.
Still receiving the medal was a proud moment for her.
“I felt that it was a great honour.”