Canadian Red Cross awards its highest honour to two Nova Scotians

By: Melanie MacDonald, communications coordinator
The contributions of Canadian Red Cross personnel who have volunteered locally and around the world to natural disasters or health emergencies including throughout the COVID-19 pandemic were highlighted recently in a ceremony at the Nova Scotia legislature in Halifax to mark International Volunteer Day 2021.

Among Red Cross speakers were Mary Macnab of Dartmouth and David Williams of Halifax, both recently inducted into the Order of Red Cross, the highest honour the Canadian Red Cross has for its volunteers.
A headshot of a woman wearing the Order of the Red Cross medal on her shirtMary Macnab joined the Red Cross following Hurricane Juan in 2003 and has since helped countless people impacted by local events such as residential fires or international disasters like Hurricane Ivan in Florida and Alabama in 2004 and Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana in 2005.
She told the audience her motivation has been witnessing “what the Red Cross means to people and communities all over the world when we show up,” and the opportunities she’s had “to provide help and hope to people going through a rough time.”
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mary quickly adapted to using technology not only to provide disaster assistance but also to lead training courses for fellow Red Cross volunteers. At the same time she also took on new responsibilities, volunteering with the Red Cross Friendly Calls program. She continues to provide support as a long-time volunteer at Feed Nova Scotia, and formerly contributed as volunteer with Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS).
A headshot of a man wearing the Order of the Red Cross medal pinned to his shirtFor 15 years, David Williams has excelled as a Red Cross emergency responder, site manager, supervisor, trainer and facilitator. He’s been part of disaster responses such as the Fort McMurray wildfire in 2016, building a shelter following Hurricane Dorian in Halifax in 2019, and supporting virtual operations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, including to flood evacuees in Alberta in 2020.
David says volunteering took centre stage at home, which helped instill his belief that, “If I have the capacity to do something for someone in need...I should” and how simple acts of caring can “make things better one person, one family, one community at a time.”
He’s also part of the team supporting national and international programs like detention monitoring and Restoring Family Links. Besides the Red Cross, David has volunteered with the Rainbow Refugee Association of Nova Scotia and international events like the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
The Canadian Red Cross with support from the Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture, Tourism and Heritage, and the Department of Seniors, hosted this event to celebrate Nova Scotians who volunteer around the world and here at home.

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