Founding President of the Registered Psychiatric Nurses Association of Manitoba . Alf   was   born   in   Merthyr   Tidfyl,   Wales,   on   March   1,   1908.   He   first   came to   Canada   alone,   at   the   age   of   16   in   1924,   under   the   auspices   of   the Salvation   Army.   He   worked   his   way   across   Ontario   and   Manitoba doing   a   great   variety   of   jobs,   including   positions   with   the   Merchant Marine   and   at   Kingston   Mental   Hospital   -   an   experience   that   would change    his    life    forever.    After    his    active    service    with    the    Royal Canadian   Navy,   he   resumed   his   psychiatric   nursing   career   at   the Selkirk   Mental   Health   Centre,   a   position   he   held   from   1935   until   his retirement in 1973. His   one   big   concern   was   to   see   the   field   of   psychiatric   nursing   given its   proper   place.   Alf   pushed   for   lectures   and   training   for   men   as   well as   women   and   was   one   of   the   five   men   who   graduated   in   1952;   their first   class   of   males   in   Selkirk.   The   story   goes   like   this.   Following   the   war   Alf   had   met   a   man who   was   a   member   of   the   British   Columbia   Psychiatric   Nurses   Association   so   “Why   not Manitoba?”   became   his   theme   song   for   years   as   he   promoted   interest   in   Manitoba’s   three psychiatric   hospitals,   making   motorcycle   trips   to   Portage   La   Prairie   and   Brandon.   In   the   final stages,   in   a   borrowed   car,   he   took   others   from   Selkirk,   including   the   late   Henriette   Fedorchuk, who   acted   as   secretary,   to   meet   with   delegates   from   Portage   and   Brandon   in   Portage   La Prairie.   He   did   this   for   27   Sundays   in   a   row,   when   Sunday   was   his   only   day   off   and   during   the long cold winter. In   1998,   for   Alf’s   90th   birthday,   the   Registered   Psychiatric   Nurses   Foundation   Inc   established the   “Alf   Barnett   Scholarship”   which   provides   funding   for   a   RPN   pursuing   graduate   or   post- graduate   education.   In   the   14   years   following   his   retirement,   he   became   the   first   permanent superintendent of St. Clements Anglican Churchyard. Alf   married   Myrtle   (Goldstone)   on   September   23,   1939,   at   Old   St.   Andrews   Church,   and   they lived in Selkirk.
Alfred Barnett, RPN
He   was   a   founding   member   of   the   Cambrian   Credit   Union   (Selkirk),   a   founder,   planner   and director    of    Tudor    House    Personal    Care    Home,    founding    president    of    the    Registered Psychiatric   Nursing   Association   of   Manitoba,   and   one   of   the   founders   of   the   Selkirk   Row-A- Lung. He    was    also    involved    in    many    other    community    organizations    including    Christ    Church Anglican,    the    Manitoba    Housing    and    Renewal    Corporation    Board,    the    Association    for Community   Living,   Male   Voice   Choir,   Selkirk   Glee   Club   and   Selkirk   Seniors   Harmonicats Band.    In    his    years    of    good    health,    Alf    enjoyed    bowling,    playing    the    harmonica,    square dancing,    and    was    a    Blue    Bomber    season    ticket    holder.    Alf    was    a    kind,    hard    working, dedicated   and   understanding   man.   It   came   naturally   to   Alf   to   anticipate   whatever   was   needed to   be   done   and   he   was   never   afraid   of   the   hard   work   required   to   get   it   done.   He   did   not   like receiving   anything   unless   he   had   worked   for   it.   He   gave   of   himself,   and   his   service   was always above and beyond the call of duty. In   1999,   Myrtle   wrote   the   following:   “Through   Alf’s   six   years   of   a   gradual   dementia,   I   have entertained   a   lot   because   of   his   love   of   people.   He   loved   to   tell   and   repeat   so   many   of   his favourite    experiences    but    gradually    the    number    he    remembered    were    fewer,    and    then suddenly, all gone.” The   profession   of   Psychiatric   Nursing   in   Manitoba   owes   much   to   the   vision   and   courage which   Alf   had   and   to   the   ongoing   support   and   encourage   which   Myrtle   gave   him   and   his colleagues.   Alf   saw   the   Psychiatric   Nurses   Association   of   Manitoba   receive   royal   assent   in 1960   to   become   the   Registered   Psychiatric   Nurses   Association.   Alf   was   a   leader   and   all   of   us have benefited from his legacy. On   November   27th,   2009,   The   Selkirk   Psychiatric   Institute   (SPI)   became   the   “Alf   Barnett Building” (ABB) as a tribute to his memory and contributions to the profession.