I was stunned to discover that I have been nominated for a Women of Distinction Award; these annual awards are given out to women each year that are determined to be inspiring to other women. Imagine my shock when I received the email stating that my nomination has been accepted in the category of Media and Communications.
When one of our Dawson Trail-Dispatch readers asked if I would allow her to nominate me for the Women of Distinction Awards I hesitated. When I look at what I have done with my life, I don’t think I really did that great. Sure, I’ve come very far – i am no longer suffered from post traumatic stress syndrome, , but look how low I once was! It is embarrassing and shameful.
I’ve been a journalist for 15 years, for a monthly paper, that most people have never heard of (Outside of southern MB). Yet, I have met so many amazing people, written some amazing stories. I take being media very seriously and while our paper is small, it matters, and the region matters. That is what keeps me writing.
The people in the southeast are my inspiration. I went back to school, instead of just covering local graduations, I gradated from high school in the process. At one point, I saw a need in health care, so I went to school, became an aide and medic, and spent several enjoyable years working partime for South Eastman Health. If it has been in my ability to help, I have. And when my hands have been tied, I’ve at least tried to get the right resources in place to help people.
When I had cancer, I didn’t miss a deadline. I even attended council meetings with two broken arms and a busted tailbone (complete with hermeroid ring); I’ve stuck my foot in my mouth, I’ve humbly apologized for making a mistake; I’ve had to apologize publicly, even though I knew I was right (along with all our readers) but he had $ for a good lawyer; I have cried with parents of sick children and laughed when those babies got healthy; I went from hiding in the back of the room, to sticking my camera in Steven Harper’s face. Even suggested that an MLA drop his pants to an NHL’er could sign his butt because he didnt have a paper for an autograph (talk about a brain-fart LOL but funny as hell if you know the MLA was Jack Penner).
Maybe that is the blessing of working freelance. Having over 7,000 FREELANCE articles published, printed and read is a HUGE achievement when you really think about it. Most media work on salary, have expense accounts, and millions of resources. I do my own research, take my own photos, do my own writing. I do make mistakes but I try to fix them.
I get to touch base with residents in 52 uniquely amazing communities.Worked with some great municipalities, MLA’s, MP’s, met a few premiers, famous hockey players, and movie stars. I do it because I love it. I do it because I love this region.
Then there is the book – that is a whole new ballgame that has brought its share of joy and sorrow. My biggest thing is knowing people are changed for reading it. It was my voice and has become the voice for many. Yesterday, I had a social worker tell me that she read my book twice and believes that it should be adopted in the schools as part of the studies, when the students read April Raintree. This is quite an honour. To go from a nobody to someone that people credit for encouraging them to change their lives, who gives them hope; that is humbling. Once upon a time, I thought I was better off dead. Now, I see my life has a purpose and that is to spread my story and encourage others to share theirs.
To be nominated for this work, for the Women of Distinction Awards really is an honor. I am grateful to everyone!