By his own admission, it’s not often that Burnley (Rocky) Jones is short of words.

But minutes after receiving the Order of Nova Scotia yesterday, Dr. Jones had trouble expressing just what the honour meant to him. “It’s awesome. It’s absolutely awesome,” said the 69-year old lawyer and activist.

Jones has spent years fighting for racial equality and justice, playing an integral role in the creation of two Dalhousie University programs — the Transition Year Program and the Indigenous Black and Mi’kmaq Initiative.

Jim Hill, one of the two founders of the Christmas Daddies Telethon, joined Jones and three others in receiving the prestigious honour.

Hill, an award-winning television producer and news director, started the telethon after helping an eight-year-old panhandler buy food for his family. Hill passed away earlier this year, and his award was accepted by his son.

Chalmers Doane, a longtime music educator and former director of Symphony Nova Scotia, was also honoured yesterday.

Doane’s method of employing a ukulele as an entry-level instrument was adopted in schools across North America and contributed to a significant increase in the number of students in school bands.

St. Peter’s native Eva Landry became the first female superintendent of schools in 1979 and the first female inspector of schools a year later. She has spent 50-years as a 4-H leader, 25 as a volunteer with hearing and speech centres.

Rev. William Pope rounds out the distinguished group. A minister and care-facility manager, Pope wrote a book about his son Robert’s battle with cancer. The book, Illness and Healing, is given to first-year medical students.

Pope’s award was accepted by his widow, Isabel.

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