Hay River’s Russell King has been honoured by being named to the Order of the Northwest Territories.
“I was pretty shocked when they called me, that’s for certain,” said the well-known businessperson of when he found out about the prestigious honour two weeks ago.
“I don’t really know why they nominated me, but anyway I was taken aback about it.”
King said he appreciates being nominated and chosen to receive the Order of the Northwest Territories.
Paul Delorey, chair of the Northwest Territories’ Honours Advisory Council, announced the 2017 recipients of the Order of the Northwest Territories on May 23.
Along with King, five other people were named – Paul Andrew of Yellowknife, Fred Carmichael of Inuvik, Lynda Koe of Yellowknife, Jeff Phillip of Yellowknife and Tom Zubko of Inuvik.
“These six recipients deserve to be granted this honour,” said Delorey. “They are passionate Northerners who greatly inspire residents of the NWT to persevere, share our knowledge and wisdom, and give back to our people and communities.”
The induction ceremony was set for May 30 in the Chamber of the Legislative Assembly. The NWT Deputy Commissioner Gerald W. Kisoun was to lead the ceremony in his role as chancellor of the order.
“The Order of the Northwest Territories, established in 2013 by the Territorial Emblems and Honours Act, recognizes individuals who have served with the greatest distinction and excelled in any field of endeavour benefiting the people of the NWT or elsewhere.
It is the highest honour awarded by the Northwest Territories,” states the legislative assembly website.
In brief explanations of why the six recipients were chosen to be honoured, King was described as someone who moved to the North as a young man, worked as a welder and later owned and operated along with his wife the Hay River Esso service station, which later turned into the industry-leading Kingland Ford automotive dealership.
“For many, this would have been enough for a living, but for Russell and his wife they saw an opportunity to grow their business and added a body shop, tire shop, King Manufacturing and mining service division,” the explanation reads. “Mr. King over the years has contributed back to many organizations and communities across the NWT, and helped support local events and people. Russell’s drive and loyalty to the North gave employment and economic opportunities to the people.”
King, who noted he was in business one month short of 50 years, said his businesses trained and apprenticed many people.
“I don’t know how many we apprenticed over the years,” he said. “A lot of them have carried on in their own businesses.”
In 2015, the King family sold Kingland Ford and most of its affiliated companies to Go Auto of Edmonton. The auto dealership once known as Kingland Ford now operates under the name Aurora Ford.