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history


Celebrating 60 Years of Achieving…

Since 1946, CPA has been active in Manitoba. The Central Western Division of CPA was formed in 1946 at Deer Lodge Hospital in the form of a 37 member club organized and headed first by Eric Lyle, and then A.T. (Tony) Mann. In August of 1946 the first formal board meeting was held, and over the past 60 years, CPA (Manitoba) Inc. has been hard at work to champion the rights of persons with disabilities while providing holistic rehabilitation services, as well as information and advocacy for the newly injured and their loved ones. Throughout 2006 CPA (Manitoba) Inc. will be celebrating the past 60 years, and looking ahead to 60 more.

TRIBUTE TO TONY MANN
A.T. (TONY) MANN, C.M., L.L.D.
1920-1996
Originally printed in the March 1996 issue of ParaTracks

...For its first 30 years, Tony Mann was CPA in Manitoba...for the past 20 years he’s been its conscience...now he’s gone…

The bare statistics provide milestones, but don’t begin to give the measure of this extraordinary Canadian.

...A. T. (Tony) Mann was born in Poland in 1920, raised in Camp Morton, Manitoba and graduated from St. Paul’s College with a B.A. in 1941...wounded in the liberation of Holland in 1945, Tony became a paraplegic and participated in the founding of the Canadian Paraplegic Association. He served as Executive Director of CPA’s Central Western Division and its successor the Manitoba Division from 1946 until his retirement in 1976...Tony was instrumental in the founding of Manitoba Wheelchair Sports, Ten Ten Sinclair, the SCI Unit at Health Sciences Centre, and in the incorporation of barrier-free design provisions in the National and Manitoba Building Codes...he has been awarded the Canada Centennial Medal, the Order of the Buffalo Hunt, the Order of Canada, Honorary Life Member War Amputations of Canada, Honorary Counsellor CPA (MB) Inc., CRCD Award (first recipient), Honorary Doctor of Laws University of Winnipeg...with Mildred, whom he married in 1952, he has raised two daughters, Michele and Monika…

Tony’s C.V. is certainly impressive, but the man himself was a rare and precious individual.

I was privileged to meet Tony in 1975, to succeed him at CPA (MB) in 1976, and to call him a friend...but he was more than a friend, he was also a hero to me and many others who knew him.

At the end of World War II, when the nation was celebrating the victory over fascism, Tony was recuperating in Deer Lodge Hospital with dozens of other spinal cord injured veterans that the system frankly didn’t know what to make of...they had always died before! If Tony had stopped to think about his desperate situation, he might have turned to drink of worse. Instead, he and a handful of his fellow young vets invented peer counseling and rehabilitated themselves...there was a community out there that they had fought to keep free and they weren’t going to just watch it through a hospital window, thank you very much!

Under Tony’s leadership, those paraplegic vets opened up their association to injured civilians with whom they shared what they had learned. Tony knew he could help the young men and women now surviving their car accidents and falls if he worked long and hard, so he did. When the polio epidemics of the ’50s struck so many Manitoba families, he worked harder and longer to professionalize the association so it could provide the sort of rehabilitation that was called for. Wheelchair Sports, the Spinal Cord Injury Unit, Ten Ten Sinclair, Building Codes...again and again Tony had the vision to perceive a need and the commitment to bring about a solution, always in his quiet, constructive, self-effacing way.

We give medals to heroes for solitary acts of bravery...my medal for heroism goes to A.T. Mann for a lifetime of selfless contribution to make our world a place where paraplegics and quadriplegics like you and I belong. —John Lane, CPA (MB) Inc. Executive Director 1976-1995

For a copy of our 60th Anniversary Yearbook, featuring stories of the founders and builders of CPA (Manitoba) Inc. please contact CPA at 786-4753 or email winnipeg@canparaplegic.org.

 
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