Golden Hands Award Winner – 2021
Roland Lavallee


It was such an honour to nominate Rolly Lavallee for the prestigious honour of the Golden Hands Award.

I am joined by Ev Lightly, Carol Kennedy, Laurie Urban, Murray Macutcheon Terry Woodard in nominating Rolly.

Mention must be made of Jill Robertson who started the process suggesting Rolly would be a good candidate.

I will firstly high lite some of the quotes from the other nominators’ letters.


Laurie Urban – Rolly is a master gardener of manipulative therapists. Robert Louis Stevenson said Dont judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. Rolly has been planting the seeds of manipulative therapy in the fertile minds of young physios and physiotherapy students for as long as he has been teaching

Lastly, anyone who knows Rolly knows that when it comes to his profession, he will find time – to chair a committee, teach a course, chair a meeting, mentor a student, negotiate a contract, write a manual, stick around to answer a few questions… No matter how busy Rolly is, he will always find time for you, because he cares. 

Terry Woodard – Rolly meets and exceeds all the criteria listed for the award given in honour of David Lamb. Respectfully I would also add a new criterion that must be mentioned when it comes to Rolly. He has been an advocate and strong proponent of diversity, inclusion, and opportunity for all for decades! His involvement in Indigenous university education, training and support programs are likely the only topic as close to his heart as his family and Physiotherapy. As a descendant of Louis Riel, he has taught me through his action (not words), the importance of Reconciliation and Inclusiveness in our profession and our society. 

If I had my way, respectfully I would change the name of the award for Rolly to the Golden Heart Award.

Murray Macutcheon Rolly’s exuberant personality and joie de vivre drew me to him immediately. I have had the great pleasure of watching Rolly develop into an exceptional physio-inspiring educator, passionate mentor and advisor. Rollys dedication, and ongoing energy and enthusiasm have made him an exemplary influence on the physio profession locally and nationally He has changed the landscape of physio and is very deserving of the Golden Hands Award.

Carol Kennedy – There are other physiotherapists that have stepped up to the plate to serve the Orthopedic Division. But Rolly also supports everyone that he works with and for, often sending a thoughtful card or email to thank others for their contributions and he makes them feel cared for. He is a solid citizen in our profession, and we are so much better for having him. 

Ev lightly – All of the positions Rolly has held have benefitted from his ability to work with others and share his insight while continuing to ensure that educational advances within our profession remain exceptional and provide international leadership.

Joanne Carswell I have had the pleasure of knowing Rolly for over 30 years, firstly as a mentor to me, a partner in business, a fellow instructor at the University of Manitoba and the National Orthopaedic Division, a fellow examiner of the Orthopaedic Division and more importantly a great friend and often dance partner. 


Rollys passion for physiotherapy was evident from the beginning where he was awarded the Marjorie Spence Award for academic and school involvement upon graduation. His thirst for knowledge continued, shortly after graduating he was one of few to take the 3 month advanced orthopaedic course in Vancouver. That was just the beginning, Rolly continued to take courses in the National Orthopaedic Division achieving the highest level of Chief (Lead) Examiner. During this time Rolly also completed his Clinical Masters at Western University where he has subsequently been asked to instruct in the program. 

His thirst for knowledge, his desire to use evidence-based practice and his desire to share this with future and present physiotherapists continues to this day. Rolly has had a faculty appointment at the University of Manitoba, since 2005. His enthusiasm for physiotherapy and his teaching props has become legendary at the school. His saddle, yes the one used for riding horses, has been taken back and forth to the school with many a strange glance. Whatever it takes to get a concept across or make the topic more interesting Rolly has done. He truly understands that we all have different ways of learning and has spent countless hours preparing lectures complete with many interesting visuals, videos and his ingenious props. He entertains his students with cameos of his many animals while videoing different techniques with his son Justin. (this was before videos were a regular part of our teaching).

Rolly continues to reinforce with the students that education doesnt end after they graduate. He is a huge promoter of the AIM continuing education program and has taught the Level 1 Prep course on multiple occasions and regularly invigilates the challenge exam for interested students.

Rollys passion for teaching has not gone unrecognized by the students and he was awarded the University of Manitoba Student Teaching Award in 2006, 2007, 2009 as chosen by the student body. His contribution to the development of other physiotherapists and the countless hours he has spent mentoring (more often than not for free) was also recognized by our Manitoba Physiotherapy Association in 2011 when he was awarded the Susan A. Macdonald Award which is the highest recognition in the province for his contribution to the profession and the development of others. Rolly was also recognized by the National Orthopaedic Division for all the hours he has spent mentoring fellow physiotherapists in 2018 with the Lyn Chapman Mentorship Award. 

In addition to all his teaching pursuits, Rolly was also the owner of private practice physiotherapy clinics (apparently, he doesnt require sleep, which if you have been to an orthopaedic symposium with him you can attest to that). Rolly has mentored many of his co-workers through their orthopaedic levels eventually selling his practice to one of them.  

In Jay Shettys book Think like a Monk he refers to finding your Dharma. Dharma is like knowing your calling, it is the combination of passion and skills. However, Dharma isnt just about finding your personal passion and skills, Dharma is passion in the service of others. One can truly say that Rolly has found his Dharma and many have benefitted from it.

I cannot think of a more deserving recipient of the Golden Hands Award than my dear friend Rolly Lavallee aka The Silver Fox”.