Couples celebrated at Carnegie gala

By RON FANFAIR

Herb Carnegie’s wife, Audrey, was an integral part of his life for 63 years before she passed away in 2003. During his induction ceremony into the Order of Ontario in 1996, the mild-mannered Carnegie politely turned down a journalist’s request for him to be photographed alone. He felt his wife played a major part in his accomplishment and should be by his side in the picture.

The reporter acceded to the request. Audrey, however, was cropped out of the photo when it was published.

Carnegie said he was deeply hurt and disappointed.

“When I was on the road playing hockey, she took care of the home and the family,” he said at the Herb Carnegie Future Aces Foundation’s Amazing Aces awards gala recently which recognizes couples for courage, service, educational excellence and exceptional achievement. “The wives play a tremendous role in the lives of their husbands and I feel they often don’t get the recognition they deserve.”

This is the second year that the foundation has honoured couples at its main fundraiser.

“Although my father received all of those accolades and awards, my mother was right there with him every step of the way,” said Carnegie’s daughter, Bernice, who is the foundation’s executive director. “We feel this is an opportunity for us to actually show that we need each other and we need these relationships to help us find our way. It’s so good to focus on the other individual helping to make a difference.”

This year’s Harry Jerome Business award winner, Wayne Isaacs and his wife Winsome, were presented with the Achievement award. Isaacs is the chairman and chief executive officer of Delta Uranium which is a TSX-listed Canadian exploration company based in Toronto. Delta owns the Kenora and Timmins Uranium Projects which have more than 3,000 claims, and Isaacs, who helped raise nearly $ 9 million in a non-brokered private placement, is the largest shareholder.

Before co-founding Delta, Isaacs owned and operated Acadia Capital Corporation and he was the president and director of Forsys Metals Corporation, which has uranium properties in Namibia. The couple has been married for 16 years and have three sons, Jeremy, 10, Zachary, 8 and Noah, 5.

Nigerian-born Daniel Igali and his partner Franca Gbodo have assumed leadership roles and opened doors for young people in their adopted British Columbia community.

Igali won Canada’s first world amateur wrestling title, won a Canadian university record 116 straight contests in a two-year span at Simon Fraser University where he’s pursuing a Masters degree, raised millions of dollars to build a school and community centre in his Nigerian hometown and ran for political office.

Gbodo, who he met at the 2000 Sydney Olympics when she competed in weightlifting for Nigeria, volunteers with many organizations in Surrey, British Columbia, coaches weightlifting and is a rising fashion designer. They were presented with the Courage award.

“This is a great honour for us when you consider where it’s coming from,” said Igali who, like Carnegie, is in Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. “I respect Herb Carnegie and the work his organization does for young people. To get this award from them is quite a privilege.”

Four years ago, Igali won the nomination as the Surrey-Newton candidate for the British Columbia Liberals in the provincial elections, but was defeated by New Democratic Party candidate, Harry Bains.

“I will be back in politics at the right time and with the right issues,” said Igali, who was the Nigerian weightlifting coach at last year’s Beijing Olympics. “I learned a lot from the first experience such as the inner workings of politics and who my real friends are. The next time around, I will have a better idea of who I should surround myself with.”

Family physician and Markham Race Relations Committee co-founder, Dr. Ken Ng and his wife Emily, were recognized with the Service award while brothers Marc and Craig Kielburger were honoured with the Education award. They established Free the Children, a unique international development and youth empowerment organization.

York Regional Police Service officer, Patrick Brown, was presented with this year’s Herbert Carnegie Community award. He migrated from Jamaica at age 10 and worked with the Bank of Montreal before becoming a law enforcement officer in 2001.

A legendary hockey player in the 1940s, Carnegie was denied the opportunity to play in the National Hockey League because of his skin colour. He created the Future Aces creed to instill self-esteem and mutual respect and to enhance the overall development of participants in the Future Aces Hockey School he set up in 1975.

Last year, a school bearing his name was opened in Vaughan.

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