The Honourable Anita Neville, P.C., O.M.
Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba
ST. JOHN AMBULANCE INVESTITURE AND AWARDS CEREMONY
Thursday, November 17, 2022
(please check against delivery)
Supporters of one of Canada’s oldest humanitarian organizations, members of the Order of St. John, protectors of life – welcome to this celebration of caring, compassion and capacity-building. I’m pleased to join you here in Government House, in the heart of Treaty One land, in the traditional lands of the Anishinaabe and the Metis, in the capital of a province that is also home to the Cree, Dakota and Dene peoples. I see this old building as a place of reconciliation and learning, where the principle known as “tikkun olam” — translated as “repair the world” – can find a home
It’s fitting that one of the very first receptions at this official residence during my time as Lieutenant Governor is for the St. John Ambulance.
Construction began on this landmark in 1883, the same year the first branch of the St. John Ambulance was formed in Canada.
For the last almost 140 years, this organization has been bringing Canadians together to help others. And for just as long this building has been a gathering place where that spirit of community is celebrated at events just like this.
By offering first-aid training, first response services, therapy dog programs and other programs and services, St. John Ambulance touches countless lives across Canada – and particularly in the Manitoba, Northwest Territories and Nunavut region.
These programs depend on the commitment of thousands of volunteers who give their time to improve the health and safety of their communities.
Fortunately, many people who receive training from St. John Ambulance will never use it. But when that training is needed, the stakes could not be higher.
The individuals being recognized with Life Saving Awards have found themselves in just such high-stakes situations. They responded with all their knowledge and experience, with all of their compassion and courage, when lives were on the line.
In each of these individuals we see a great truth come to life.
They are walking reminders of a famous saying in the Talmud, the ancient collection of Jewish teachings and commentaries: “Whoever saves a single life is considered to have saved the whole world.”
In each mind, in each soul, there is a world of thoughts, perceptions, feelings, memories – in saving a life, you keep that world alive. Thank you and congratulations on this recognition.
But it’s not just lifesavers whose contributions keep those worlds alive. Everybody who teaches the skills of lifesaving. Everybody who supports a great organization that teaches lifesaving. Everybody who helps to prevent tragedies through workplace safety, mental health and other initiatives. They’re also saving the world, one good action at a time.
To those being recognized tonight for your exemplary service to the St. John Ambulance, congratulations. It’s an honour for me that with my investiture as Vice Prior for Manitoba, I’ll share a connection to the work you do.
Together, we can all do our bit to make a healthy, safe and just community – we can all repair the world.
Thank you, Merci, Meegwich.