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Cancer survivor, musicians receive national volunteer awards

Bishop’s Cove’s Enid Barrett (left) and Herman (centre) and Marina Harris of Harbour Grace were recognized for their significant volunteer contributions to their communities through volunteering with the Sovereign’s Medal For Volunteers.
Bishop’s Cove’s Enid Barrett (left) and Herman (centre) and Marina Harris of Harbour Grace were recognized for their significant volunteer contributions to their communities through volunteering with the Sovereign’s Medal For Volunteers.

Bishop’s Cove’s Enid Barrett had just walked through the door of Pam Parsons’ office in Bay Roberts last Tuesday when she struck up a conversation with the couple on her left.

Bishop’s Cove’s Enid Barrett had just walked through the door of Pam Parsons’ office in Bay Roberts last Tuesday when she struck up a conversation with the couple on her left.

Dressed to the nines, Barrett and her husband Jack wasted little time getting acquainted with Herman and Marina Harris of Harbour Grace.

Rain pelted the windows as the trio chatted like they’d known each other for years.

They spoke of children, health ailments and the weather.

Eventually the conversation turned to something they’ve shared in common for some time.

Enid, Herman and Marina were there for the same purpose – to receive the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers in recognition of their outstanding work in the community. It replaced the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award earlier this year.

Bishop’s Cove’s Enid Barrett had just walked through the door of Pam Parsons’ office in Bay Roberts last Tuesday when she struck up a conversation with the couple on her left.

Dressed to the nines, Barrett and her husband Jack wasted little time getting acquainted with Herman and Marina Harris of Harbour Grace.

Rain pelted the windows as the trio chatted like they’d known each other for years.

They spoke of children, health ailments and the weather.

Eventually the conversation turned to something they’ve shared in common for some time.

Enid, Herman and Marina were there for the same purpose – to receive the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers in recognition of their outstanding work in the community. It replaced the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award earlier this year.

Their stories are different, but they were in the same place last week.

For more than 30 years, Enid and the Harris’ have been donating their time and energy to help others in a variety of ways.

Barrett started volunteering after her first battle with cancer when she was 54-years-old.

She wanted to help the people who helped her. Barrett started selling cookbooks and other items to help the local hospital and the doctors, which she calls her ‘angels.’

Over the years, she’s sold more than $50,000 worth of cookbooks. Jack did the driving and everywhere they went they had copies of the book in the vehicle with them.

In that time, Barrett has persevered through four more cancer surgeries with the latest being in 2012.

“That’s what spurred me to start doing good. I do it for God and the doctors, the nurses, and anyone else who has helped me,” she told The Compass. “I’ve had wonderful friends. I try to do the best I can to help everything.”

Herman Harris is also a longtime member of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 15 in Harbour Grace. Earlier this year he helped open its new home inside a former school. He's seen here cutting a cake with Beothic Sea Cadets Able Seaman Dominic Mansfield.

Now 89, Barrett is still heavily involved in fundraising. Just last week, she brought in $500 for the church.

Herman and Marina have spent years helping organizations in and around Harbour Grace.

Whether it was playing a few tunes at a fundraiser or carving out a wooden loon and selling tickets on it, the pair of them have been steady in their volunteerism for the last three decades.

A staple on local television, the Harris’ started out of a simple need to give back. If a phone call came in the middle of the night looking for some help, Herman was there to lend a hand.

In her time, Marina has sold tickets on numerous items for a variety of charities.

They’ve won numerous awards as a result of that desire.

“Those plaques don’t mean anything,” said Marina. “We did it because we wanted to do it.”

Even though they’ve been recognized in the past, it’s always nice to know your work is being appreciated.

“Getting an award like that is appeasing to anyone,” said Herman.

nmercer@cbncompass.ca

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