At a recent meeting of council, the town was informed that the Values-In-Action Foundation, a non-profit organization based in the U.S., had chosen Gander to receive the Rescuer of Humanity award.
It is the foundation’s most prominent and internationally acclaimed award.
The award recognizes individuals who have committed themselves to improving humanity and inspires others to make a positive difference in their own lives as well as others.
The effort put forward by the people of Gander and the surrounding area in the aftermath of the 9-11 terrorist attacks in the United States in 2001, align with those values, stated the foundation’s president and CEO Stuart Muszynski, in a letter to the town.
“The awesome community effort of Gander during the 9-11 tragedy, prompting a chain reaction of simultaneous acts of kindness to those who were stranded, was nothing short of amazing and inspiring,” he said. “If others would only follow Gander’s example, the world would be a significantly better place!”
Past recipients of the Rescuer of Humanity include Stephen Spielberg, Tom Cruise, Christopher Reeve, U.S President Jimmy Carter, His Majesty King Hussein I of Jordan, Paul Rusesabagina (“Hotel Rwanda”), Dr. Bennett Omalu (the “Concussion” doctor), Doctors Without Borders, Rosa Parks, Dr. Jeffrey Wigand (tobacco whistleblower), the New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project and numerous others.
To be offered such an award all these years later is very humbling, said Deputy Mayor Cyril Abbott.
“It’s an award that isn’t lightly given, and from my understanding, it’s never been given to a municipality, so it’s a great honour for the town to have been selected,” said Abbott.
“The people of Gander and area responded out of the goodness of their hearts, and it amazes me that the world is still so entranced by the story all these years later. But it is a story that is just a wonderful, wonderful, affirmation of goodness, and it brings hope to a world that you don’t always see a lot of hope in sometimes.”
The Rescuer of Humanity Awards Dinner will take place on Jan. 18, 2018, in Cleveland, Ohio.
Values-In-Action (along with its operating divisions Project Love and Purple America) is a U.S.-based non-profit organization. Its mission is to empower teens and adults to build cultures of kindness, caring and respect by putting their values-in-action wherever they go. Founded in 1994, Project Love school-based programming has trained more than 170,000 students throughout the U.S.