News Story

Community Values Awards Presented in Nova Scotia

Family, friends, co-workers and neighbours gathered at the Beacon United Church in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, on May 28, 2016, to celebrate three community leaders at the Community Values Awards. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, hosted the event, which not only recognizes remarkable service but also advances interfaith harmony — Mormon leaders honoured a Muslim couple and a Catholic mother in a United Church facility.

Abir Hussein, Islam Eissa and Mary Coleen Anne Murphy were each honoured with a Community Values Award.

Abir Hussein and Islam Eissa, originally from Cairo, Egypt, moved to the Yarmouth area with their four daughters in 2011. They received the “You Make a Difference” Community Values Award.

Abir, a family physician, was part of the Council of Accountable Physician Practices (CAPP) program for foreign physicians looking to practice in Nova Scotia. After completing the program, she took on a leadership role in the Oceanview Family Practice and now trains others. She is actively involved at her children’s schools, in their extra-curricular activities and at the Yarmouth Refugee Support Group.

Islam is an internal medicine specialist with an interest in respirology. He has responsibilities in the Intensive Care Unit, and he teaches residents and students. He also serves as the local imam. When asked if he would ever move to a larger practice, he responded, “We have been welcomed here and made to feel at home. You can tell when a person is settled into their community when they look around and see if they can make it better.”

Abir, Islam and their children feel an obligation to serve their community. The Yarmouth Refugee Support Group benefits from their collective desire to help unfortunate people from all over the world establish a safe and happy life in Yarmouth.

Mary Coleen Anne Murphy, also known as Dr. Coleen Duggan, arrived in Yarmouth in 1974 when her husband, Dr. Tom Murphy, gained a position as a surgeon at the Yarmouth Regional Hospital and she as a family practitioner.

From 1974 until 1987, Coleen gave birth to 10 children. Her son, Michael, says, “[Mom] jokes that she had so many children because she simply didn’t want to practice medicine full time, but the real truth is that she simply loved her kids. … It takes someone with strong family values, a strong sense of the importance of the family unit in society, to want to have 10 children. It takes an even better person to do such a good job raising them.”

Coleen’s careful nurturing enabled each of her children to find success in a broad spectrum of careers — one is a surgeon, two are lawyers, one is a teacher, one is a university professor, one is a business owner, one is a priest, one is a consecrated woman with the Regnum Christie, one is a lead singer in a rock group (Wintersleep) and one is a gourmet chef and restaurant owner.

While Coleen was busy with her children and home, she was also actively involved in her community. She worked with Hebron Home and School in Yarmouth and Area Right to Life; ran a successful medical practice, providing locums for area physicians; and until her retirement in 2009, worked at the First Nations clinic. Her Catholic faith plays a major part in her life — co-ordinating, teaching and organizing people and programs for St. Ambrose Cathedral parish; nourishing vocations in her children; and supporting the activities of her children within her church.

Presenters of the Community Values Awards were Church members Dr. Brian Moses and Veronica Veinot. Certificates of congratulations for all three honourees were received from Zach Churchill, member of the Yarmouth legislative assembly, and Colin Fraser, member of Parliament, West Nova riding.

Contributed by Anna M. Davison

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