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Canadian Red Cross awards two Nova Scotian volunteers with highest honour

Click to play video: 'Order of Red Cross recipients honoured at Nova Scotia’s Province House' Order of Red Cross recipients honoured at Nova Scotia’s Province House
WATCH: It's International Volunteer Day and in Halifax, the Canadian Red Cross has recognized two outstanding volunteers with its highest honour for their humanitarian work. David Williams of Halifax and Mary Macnab of Dartmouth, were both honoured with the Order of Red Cross on Saturday. Jesse Thomas has more – Dec 5, 2021

In Nova Scotia, the Canadian Red Cross recognized two volunteers with its highest honour for their humanitarian work.

David Williams of Halifax and Mary Macnab of Dartmouth were two of 11 volunteers across the country recognized by the Canadian Red Cross with the humanitarian organization’s highest volunteer distinction during a virtual event on Saturday.

Membership in the Order of Red Cross is reserved for 350 individuals.

The two Nova Scotian recipients were also part of a ceremony held at Province House on Friday leading up to International Volunteer Day, which is celebrated around the world each Dec. 5.

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“I was just honoured and humbled to be getting this award,” said Macnab, who has been volunteering with the Red Cross for nearly 20 years. “There are so many wonderful volunteers with the Red Cross I wish I could share it with all of them.”

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Williams has volunteered with the Canadian Red Cross for 15 years. He is now a senior trainer and facilitator, and is a team leader, helping lead small- to large-scale disaster responses in Nova Scotia and across Canada.

“I would say similar to my colleague, I am very humbled to be receiving the award,” said Williams. “Especially when I am among such amazing volunteers who have done so many great things both locally here in their communities and abroad.”

From supporting locals affected by a house fire or travelling across the globe to help others coping with natural disasters such as hurricanes, Williams and Macnab have put themselves into situations involving the worst tragedies of people’s lives, helping them regain their footing.

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Macnab remembered hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the widespread devastation and death toll it brought in New Orleans.

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“I think it was perhaps the most devastating hurricane to hit the United States, and the devastation of property, the number of lives lost and the number of people evacuated from their homes was totally overwhelming. It was very special to be there to be part of the response to that,” said Macnab.

The United Nations established International Volunteer Day in 1984, designating Dec. 5 as the day for organizations and governments to honour people who have given so much of their time to support others.

“International Volunteer Day not only celebrates incredible people who give of their time and efforts, but the incredible organizations that make a difference,” said Barbara Adams, Nova Scotia’s Minister of Seniors and Long-Term Care.

“The health and prosperity of all communities is critical to creating a thriving society, whether by volunteering locally or away from home. By working together, we can get the job done and continue to support our neighbours next door and internationally.”

“Considering the strict criteria and limited membership in the Order of Red Cross, we are very fortunate to have two Nova Scotia recipients in a single year and couldn’t be happier for David Williams and Mary Macnab, who are both incredibly deserving of this honour,” said Christine Baert-Wilson, Nova Scotia Director of the Canadian Red Cross.

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