Hay River North
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yesterday Mr. Joe McBryan of Hay River, known to many as Buffalo Joe, was awarded the Order of the Northwest Territories. The Order recognizes those who have served with great distinction and excellence in any field of work benefiting the people of the Northwest Territories or elsewhere. It is the highest official honour that the Northwest Territories can bestow upon a current or former resident.
To many of the people I spoke with, Buffalo Joe's induction into the Order came as a surprise: not because they thought he was undeserving; they were surprised that he hadn't already been inducted long ago.
Joe McBryan founded Buffalo Airways in 1970. As with any business that's been around nearly 50 years, there have been ups and downs. After spending the first decade building the company, the downturn in the mining industry hit Buffalo hard, and its fleet was reduced to a single aircraft. That single plane, a DC-3, of course, was all that Buffalo Joe needed to get back on track. Today Buffalo Airways has a fleet of 52 registered aircraft; bases in Hay River, Yellowknife, and Red Deer; is the largest courier service in the NWT; has a successful line of merchandise; and has gained international notoriety and legions of fans with Ice Pilots NWT, the TV series that featured the day-to-day operations of Buffalo and ran for six seasons.
Of course, Mr. Speaker, he had some help along the way, notably his children who have been, and still are, instrumental in the business.
However, Buffalo Joe is the heart of Buffalo Airways, and he's the reason that Buffalo has become part of the very fabric of the Northwest Territories. We can't talk about the history of the NWT without talking about Buffalo Joe, and not just because of what he did, but also because of how he did it.
When people talk about Buffalo Joe, people in Hay River, at least, they speak most often about his kindness and his humility. It's pretty ironic that he's become world-famous, because he has never sought the limelight, and he doesn't even like receiving accolades for the good he has done, and he has done more than most, Mr. Speaker. For buffalo Joe, a community resupply is not just a contract; it's a way to help people, and stories about the lengths he has gone to to ensure people have gotten what they needed are legendary. He has helped out countless people and families in need. If you really needed to get somewhere but did not have the money, he would make sure you got to your destination. That was especially true for elders. Even if an elder showed up with a ticket, there is a good chance he would tell them to hold onto it and use it another time. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.
---Unanimous consent granted