Photo courtesy of the Legislative Assembly of the NWT
Photo courtesy of the Legislative Assembly of the NWT

Mr. Speaker, in 1966, a 23 year old Russell King and his wife Mary King opened King’s Service – a welding and mechanical repair shop – out of their home-based workshop in Mile 5. Earlier today, after five decades of hard work, Russell King was officially inducted into the Order of the NWT. I want to congratulate Mr. King, but I also want to express my regrets that this honour was not also bestowed on Mrs. King as well, because since King’s Service opened in 1966, it’s always been Russell and Mary.

Mr. King was inducted into the Order of the NWT as for his contributions to business in the Northwest Territories, so I’m obliged to mention that from King’s Service, Russell and Mary built something of an empire, which included the Hay River Esso station, Kingland Ford, Tire North, Kingland Freightliner, King Manufacturing, and Klassic Autobody, and expanded operations to Yellowknife, and the diamond mines.

I grew up in Hay River, and I can attest that everyone knows the names Russell and Mary King. Those names are intertwined and inseparable from Hay River itself, and not just because of their business ventures. There’s actually been quite a few successful businesses come out of Hay River, there’s even been other dealerships in Hay River, but the reason Mr. King received the Order of the NWT today, is the same reason that Hay River remains a Ford town – it’s because of how Russell and Mary treated people.

As a customer, you knew you would be treated right. Not only did customers know they were getting a fair deal, they were made to feel like a priority. That’s just how business was done. Mr. King was also known to take chances on people if they were just starting out in life and didn’t quite have the credit needed to purchase a new vehicle.

As an employee, you felt equally appreciated. The Kings always made it a priority to hire locally, and to develop that local talent. Their five decades of hard work and dedication to Hay River and the Northwest Territories,  have created hundreds of permanent, well-paying jobs in the Northwest Territories, and, I imagine, thousands of residents who have been happy to, at one time or another, work for Russell and Mary.

I goes without saying that their contributions aren’t confined to their customers and employees. As they have always been willing to contribute to any community event.

Mr. Speaker, I would like this House to join me in both congratulating Mr. King for being awarded the Order of the NWT, and in showing appreciation to both Russell and Mary King for their 50 years of contributions to the Hay River, and to the entire Northwest Territories.