top of page

Mel Hebb Hourglass Award Winners 2016


Encore Award - Scott Jones, Chase Valiant

Access Award - The Prince George Hotel

Exceptional Service Award - Louise Gillis

Andre McConnell Award - Anne Black

About our 2016 winners...

Encore Award 2016:

Scott Jones

Scott Jones has made exceptional contributions to our community by encouraging people to overcome their fears, to not be afraid to overcome barriers, and to pursue full participation in the face of adversity. Scott has exhibited tremendous leadership by using his voice and story to advocate for inclusion, diversity, and acceptance to our differences. Scott was the victim of a hate crime in 2013, a crime which left him paralyzed. Scott has used his experience to create a movement called Don’t Be Afraid, and to lend his time and talent to other like-minded organizations such as Easter Seals Nova Scotia and Phoneix Yourth programs. Scott is an inspiration to all of us, and notably to youth, persons with disabilities, and the LGBTQ community.

Chase Valiant

This September Chase Valiant will be attending his final year in NSCCs Social Services program. Volunteering in his community for different organizations has been something he has done throughout his entire life starting with volunteering in a nursing home at age 12. Since his attendance at NSCC, chase has thrived in not only the classroom but also outside the classroom in volunteering for his community. The biggest tool chase has thrived on is turning his struggles into action and advocacy. Struggling with ADHD entering post secondary chase not only got on his feet with the help of ADHD coach Keith Gelhorn but also begun advocating along side him. Chase’s interview last year on CTV News on adult ADHD and his success after meeting Keith was only the start of his journey towards the advocacy of others. Chase’s more recent activities’ include building and leading a team of social services students and local musicians to Guatemala to work with children in orphanages. Film crew and director Wanda Taylor will be accompanying them to include his team as part of their documentary for the Red Carpet Film Festival.


Chase has shown great initiative in his first years of college not only learning to advocate for him but also the diversity of others. Through his first years in college he has walked many paths touching many organizations and people along his way. He is a natural born leader who views success as meaningless without bringing the positive change of others along with him. Chase hopes to one day become an ADHD coach with Keith while pursuing his passion and career of psychology in university. Chase has shown initiative and creativity in becoming a leader. He is a published writer in Teens Now Talk and Adotpion today. In these articles he reflects his life, experiences and how his diversity has help build him. In this way Chase has proven how his disability has become his ability.

Access Award 2016:

The Prince George Hotel

Scott Travis, General Manager will receive the award on behalf of The Prince George Hotel

This nomination was given by a wheelchair user that travels to Halifax often.

'The Prince George is the only hotel within the Halifax area where I have found that I can stay safely and independently. This is in large part due to the staff who continuously go above and beyond to make me feel welcome and safe. I know if I run into any problems or have any accommodation needs they are more than willing to do whatever they can. They are truly knowledgeable about disabilities and always willing to learn in the areas that are unknown to them. When I had a group staying at the hotel for an event, their comment was it was like they were coming home and were instantly accepted despite their varying disabilities.'

Exceptional Service Award 2016:


Louise Gillis

Louise has spoken about her life experiences regarding having lived with more that one disability since the age of two. As a polio survivor, she was told that she could not attend nursing school or go to university; she defied this advice and became a nurse, graduating in the top ten in the province, working for 25 years in that career.  She attended university while working full time and graduated on the Deans’ list only to lose her career as well as her independence six months later.  She then found herself having to start over in a volunteer position

Louise joined the Canadian Council of the Blind in 1997 and organized many activities for other CCB members, led workshops, mentorship groups, served at grassroots, local, provincial and national board levels, as well as on an international level with the World Blind Union (WBU) and served on national advocacy committees such as Marine Atlantic Accessibility Advisory Committee, Consumer Access Group (CAG), Best Medicine Coalition (BMO), Society for Accessible Transportation for Cape Breton, Canadian Medical Association (CMA), Canadian Transport Agency (CTA), Canadian Ophthalmology Association (COA) and attended annual meetings, Seeing Beyond Horizons conference, among others.

She was instrumental in working with the provincial government to get approval in Nova Scotia for treatment for wet AMD and in establishing more clinics throughout the province to provide improved eye care.

She also worked with CNIB nationally as well as other experts to develop an education pamphlet for persons with diabetes living with vision loss. Louise assisted with the development of the Patient Charter for Persons with Vision Loss and developed, though CCB, programs for persons with vision loss such as exercise, curling, Getting Together with Technology (GTT) and the Eye Van.  She recently returned from a ten day stay in China with several eye care experts to advise people working at the Norman Bethune International Peace Hospital re the delivery of mobile eye care to outlying villages and continuing that care on an ongoing basis. 


The work which Louise has done, and continues to do, impacts all those living with vision loss locally, provincially, nationally and internationally.

Andre McConnell Award:

Anne Black


Anne Black has been employed in the field of community services since 1979. During this time she has worked in Newfoundland, New Brunswick, and in Nova Scotia, with both municipal and provincial governments. Her experience in the field of disability support spans more than 28 years, with her first job in this province, with Dartmouth City Social Services. Anne worked for many years as a front line Care Coordinator, where she was highly regarded by individuals with disabilities, their family members and community based disability organizations. Anne loved this work, most especially the interaction her clients, who have left her with many fond and happy memories.

Anne was recruited to work with the Nova Scotia Department of Community Services Head Office during the Community Supports for Adults Renewal Project in 2004. She has remained with the head office program team since this time. Anne currently works as a Program Coordinator for the Disability Support Program, where she has been instrumental in developing both the Independent Living Support and Alternative Family Support programs. These are both very successful and well utilized programs in our province. She is a "roll up the sleeves" person with a "can do attitude". Always with a smile on her face, and a commitment and self-described stubbornness in making sure that the "right thing" is achieved on behalf of persons with disabilities.

Anne supports every piece of work that happens in the Disability Support Program. Her combination of analytical skills and strategic thinking make her a huge asset to the Department of Community Services and the people served through the Disability Support Program.

Outside of work, Anne lives with her husband Grant in Fall River where she spends much of her spare time in her gardens. Anne and Grant are the parents of two wonderful daughters, Sarah and Amy and are the proud grandparents of two beautiful granddaughters Greta and Bridget.

We are so pleased that Anne is being recognized with the Andre McConnell Award, for her exemplary work. A sincere thank you Anne, for your many years of dedicated support and service to persons with disabilities in our province.


bottom of page