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Manitoba recognizes two selfless humanitarians of the year

Guest post by Michael Obendoerfer, Canadian Red Cross volunteer
Humanitarians Rhianna and Larry

Canadian Red Cross Humanitarian of the Year Larry McIntosh, right, and Young Humanitarian of the Year Rhianna Holter-Ferguson, left.

Canadian Red Cross Humanitarian of the Year Larry McIntosh and Young Humanitarian of the Year Rhianna Holter-Ferguson say helping others is a highly rewarding experience and they encourage others to get involved.
“I know it is going to sound corny, but if you give some of your time, talent or money, you will always receive back more than you give.  This has always been my experience without exception,” said McIntosh.
McIntosh started getting seriously involved in volunteerism and philanthropy when, 21 years ago, he joined Peak of the Market, a grower-owned vegetable supplier. Inspired by the generous nature of the growers and his co-workers, Larry has worked to support many food-based initiatives both in his personal life and as president and CEO of the organization.
“I guess the work I am most proud of, and what a lot of people associate us with, is our work with Winnipeg Harvest.” McIntosh said. “Harvest shares food with over 300 community-based food banks and soup kitchens and it really helps those less fortunate in our province.”
McIntosh and his wife Shelley donate their time to numerous charities in Manitoba, including Variety, the Children's Charity of Manitoba, and CancerCare Manitoba.
“Shelley and I never want to forget how fortunate we are to live in such a great province in such a great country,” McIntosh said. “We feel it is our obligation to make time to help our province become an even better place to live. We know it is our duty as Canadians to help those less fortunate in other areas of the world. We are lucky enough that we can help out some great organizations in some small way.”
Holter-Ferguson is a biosystems engineering student at the University of Manitoba. She grew up in a household that emphasized the importance of volunteering, but it was her love of school that led her to get involved in bullying prevention.
“Throughout my life, school has been one of my favorite things. Even the two-month break for summer seemed too long,” said Holter-Ferguson. “I know that when I had experiences with bullying it took away from the joy I felt at school. Kids shouldn’t have to walk into school dreading the day because they know that at some point they are going to be targeted.”
Holter-Ferguson has led bullying-prevention presentations at her high school, spoke at Red Cross panels on promoting respect and tolerance and served as a youth representative on Stonewall town council.
“I feel that it is important to give back to my community because it helps improve the quality of life for all of the people in the area. Giving back is something that can be done in small parts, it doesn’t mean spending every second of your life volunteering at one place,” Holter-Ferguson said. “I feel that if everyone took one day every once in a while to give back to their communities it would have such a huge impact.”
The Canadian Red Cross Power of Humanity Luncheon is on Sept. 10 and will celebrate the past, present and future of humanitarian work in Manitoba.

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