Five women, including one from Hay River, have been recognized with 2016 Wise Women Awards.
The awards have been handed out annually by the Status of Women Council NWT since 1992, honouring women who serve as role models in their community.
Every year, women from all five regions of the territory are recognized.
Recipients this year include:
- Emily Saunders of Lutsel K’e
- Denise McDonald of Inuvik
- Dora Grandjambe of Norman Wells
- Martina Norwegian of Fort Simpson
- Edna Dow of Hay River
Dow, a mother of seven, was still trying to process the honour when she spoke to Moose FM.
“Basically I’m representing the women who all do a little bit in the South Slave and that little bit goes a long way,” she said.
For more than 20 years, Dow has organized Secret Santa hampers for needy families in Hay River and beyond. She’s run the operation out of several locations during that time, including her own home.
Dow says she tries to be grateful every day, and give back at every opportunity.
“I just learned to appreciate what you have for today,” she said. “I learned by example from my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Everyone did their part.
“No matter what happens, we can’t sit and dwell in these little things or bumps in the road as we live. You just have to pull up your socks and keep going.
“That’s the way I live. I tell my children, ‘tomorrow will be a better day. You’ll forget about it all tomorrow so don’t dwell on yesterday.’”
To the amazement of doctors at the time, Dow survived two brain aneurysms in 1998 when she was told she didn’t have much of a chance. She even recovered in time to organize a Secret Santa that year.
Dow told Moose FM she’s always taught her children to be versatile and to enjoy all of life’s little moments.
“If you’re passionate for something, just do it,” she said. “I get excited for life, I really do, and I can barely walk some mornings.”
Dow and other 2016 recipients will be honoured during an awards ceremony at the Explorer Hotel on Tuesday, March 8, which also marks International Women’s Day.
Lorraine Phaneuf, executive director of the Status of Women Council NWT, says it will be an evening to remember.
“It really is a way to celebrate the lives of women,” she said. “This year, we’ll also be celebrating music and art so it will be a complete celebration of women.”
The ceremony, which is open to the public, will be held between 6 and 9pm.