Alberta Volunteer Inducted into Order of Red Cross

Topics: Alberta, Volunteer, Volunteers
Shelly Makrugin | January 20, 2023

“For me, the impact of my life is actually knowing I am making a difference for people.”


Jackie Specken has been making a difference for more than 15 years as a Canadian Red Cross volunteer. She has volunteered in emergency management and deployed at local, provincial, and national levels. Additionally, she has supported volunteers and staff as an educator, mentor, advisor, and friend.


Specken was inducted into the Order of Red Cross, Member Level, at a small, surprise ceremony in Edmonton in October 2022.


“It’s a real honour. And to be able to be recognized by an organization, not only the people, but an organization that has such respect in the world,” Specken said. “In some ways I can’t even imagine why I deserve it.”


Those who have volunteered and worked with Specken say she more than deserves the honour. They describe her as a guiding force for positive change within the Red Cross. She works alongside her fellow volunteers to improve their skills, and champion their successes. Volunteer Dianne Jackson has worked with Specken on everything from emergency response deployments to course instructions.


“She’s an excellent facilitator. Jackie is the one who coordinates and keeps us on track. Working with Jackie has been awesome. Her sense of humour and laughter you can hear across the room.”


“Great contributions in multiple responses, an expert in Change Management, a result-oriented individual, but more importantly Jackie is very generous with sharing her skills, talents, and thoughts,” adds Saeed Kamazany, the Red Cross director of Change Management and Process Excellence, “this is what I really like about Jackie! “

Specken makes volunteering a priority in her life. Recently, she used her two weeks of vacation from her full-time job to support displaced people arriving from Ukraine.
“I just keep doing what needs to be done. And I think the important thing for me is that I have gotten as much if not more from this organization as I’ve ever given.”


Emergency management volunteer Vicki Easthom has benefited from Specken’s skill and experience.


“She’s trained hundreds of us. She conducted the training when I first started. She was our teacher and guided us.”


And Specken plans to continue volunteering.


“I love it, I love it. I wish I could do more. My long-term retirement plan is to get into international development work.”


Annual appointments of the Order of Red Cross are limited to 25 members and only has 350  members.

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