By JORDAN PARKER
Special to Wreckhouse Press
SOUTHWEST COAST – Six Newfoundland women have been honoured with Long Service Awards for their work as Municipal Administrators. With 90 years of exemplary service between them, Debbie Reid, Valerie House, Lydia Francis, Tammy Farrell, and Yvonne Young were all given accolades.
Young, of Stephenville Crossing, has been in her role for 40 years, and Farrell (Rose Blanche – Harbour Le Cou) and Francis (Isle aux Morts) were recognized for serving in their respective roles for about 15 years. Reid (Rocky Harbour) and House (River of Ponds) were given 10 year awards.
The Professional Municipal Administrators (PMA) Association honoured the women, and Francis says her role as Town Clerk has brought her great personal joy.
“When the last town clerk retired, I applied. I love my town. I went back to school to do Business Administration, and finished in 2006,” said Francis. “I ended up doing my final exam after I had started this role. This was what I went to school for.”
Francis said it felt amazing to get the dedication and it was a great thing to know she’s appreciated.
“There are over 90 years of service between myself and these ladies. It’s amazing to look around the room and realize the connections I’ve made due to the PMA,” said Francis. “I met wonderful ladies who know all about how to do this job and the work we go through every day.”
One of Francis’s favourite things about her role is the people that she’s able to help.
“I am always there for our seniors. There are new challenges every day, and every day is a new day,” shared Francis. “It feels good knowing that what you’re doing helps those who need it. People always call with different things, and I’m always there.”
What made the honour and the night more special was that there’s a bond between all six honourees.
“I personally know them all and it was such a good feeling that we got to enjoy this together. We are able to go to conventions and ensure we can help each other with our talents,” Francis said. “Nothing feels better than knowing if I don’t know the answer, I can pick up the phone and ask.”
Tammy Farrell of Rose Blanche hit 16 years in her role as Town Clerk in March 2021. She is from the community and wanted to stay there.
“I’ve been around all my life. I went away to Port aux Basques for six years, but I came back here and drove back-and-forth,” she said. “I love this area and I was so happy to stay here.”
Like Francis, she is also happy to help seniors in her community.
“Going forward, everything seems to be online and through social media. A lot of seniors don’t have the access to information to even get their driver’s licenses renewed,” noted Farrell. “I help with those sorts of things, and I help under council direction to keep everything in town going. We don’t want to lose services, and we want to keep everything moving forward.”
Farrell was thrilled to be honoured.
“It was so exciting and it’s great to continue in an industry where things are always changing. When I first started, it was about manual ledger cards and typewriters. Now you even apply for funding online,” aid Farrell. “Things are moving in an online direction, and it’s been amazing to see how things change. I was so happy to be honoured next to people like Yvonne Young, who has been doing her job for 40 years.”
Naturally there have been ups and downs, but Farrell said she is proud of her accomplishments.
“It hasn’t always been easy and every day is a learning experience. I’m learning new things every day,” said Farrell. “When you see the community growing, it makes you feel good that you’re a part of it. I work on everything and I’m so happy for this honour.”