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Labrador West Pioneers: Bernie Denief

Bernie Denief.
Bernie Denief. - Gary Shaw

LABRADOR CITY, N.L.

There are few folks in Labrador West that don’t know Bernie Denief. The 75-year-old is out and about in the community every day. He seems to have more energy than many people half his age. He has a constant smile on his face. He is usually on his way to, or on his way from, lending someone a helping hand.

Bernie arrived in Labrador West from St. John’s in 1975 and has never looked back. He came here, like so many before him, looking for work and the opportunity raise a family and enjoy a fulfilling, good, and productive life. He has sure done just that. His wife arrived a few months later and they raised two children.


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Bernie worked for a short time with Bailey’s Contracting, doing service work on their equipment. He then worked for 20 years as manager of Wabush’s Legion Branch 57.

He was also superintendent of the Tamarack Golf Club for six years. During this time, Bernie also served as the president of Golf Newfoundland and Labrador.

After Bernie had all of this completed, he says that he retired. Bernie’s definition of retirement must clearly be different than what most people call retirement. He hasn’t slowed down a bit.

The body of work that Bernie devoted himself to was the catalyst that saw him ultimately give his life to the many services and volunteer initiatives within Labrador West.

Bernie represents all that defines a community volunteer. He has been active with Boy Scouts, Cadets and Girl Guides for many years.

Although Bernie is a humble man who deflects attention away from himself, his smile is just a bit bigger when he is asked about where his biggest wheelhouse is.

Bernie speaks with pride, as he sure should, when asked to talk about the Legion telethon. He has been solidly attached to this incredible community effort since its beginning 33 years ago. He has given his heart and soul to this event in their efforts to raise funds for the local hospital and the Janeway. So many people have benefited over the years because of the ongoing efforts with this telethon.

When Bernie was asked where he got the energy to keep his constant pace at 75, he smiled and said that he has a can of Pepsi for breakfast and sticks another can in his pocket for later in the day. He says that as long as he doesn’t run out of Pepsi and people can still use his helping hands, there is no sign of him slowing down.

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