Three Canadian Red Cross Volunteers in Manitoba Receive Highest Award

Topics: Manitoba, Volunteer
Michelle Palansky | April 16, 2020

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The Order of Red Cross is the highest honour awarded to a Canadian Red Cross volunteer. It is a singular mark of recognition for long-term dedication and devotion. A small number of volunteers across the country meet the criteria, and it speaks to the quality of Manitoba volunteers that three from this province received the highest award.

Henry van Delden, Tom Hamson, and Kevin Holder each received the Order of Red Cross at a ceremony held at Government House, the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba.

The Order of Red Cross nominations are peer generated, so fellow volunteers submit suitable nominees. In a kind-hearted tit-for-tat, Henry nominated Tom and Tom nominated Henry for this most prestigious of awards. Proof positive of the value and esteem that Red Cross volunteers hold for each other.

Henry van Delden
A volunteer for 22 years, Henry is an emergency response site manager, senior facilitator, and a support to evacuation and repatriation responder.

Henry’s involvement in municipal politics taught him how to make order from chaos, an invaluable skill in an emergency response. “A first it can be overwhelming, but you have to break it down. Ask yourself – what is the first step and then the next step?”

He has known hardship. While serving as a volunteer fire chief, his own business burned to the ground. Henry’s life experiences help him empathize with people during times of disaster.

Henry is a mentor for Red Cross volunteers. His goal is to build the next generation of leaders.

Tom Hamson
A volunteer for 19 years, Tom is an emergency response site manager, facilitator, and government liaison.

Tom devotes a great deal of his time and energy to passing along the skills he has developed through many emergency responses, ranging from floods to wildfires. “Every response you learn something new for next time.”

Henry explained what sets Tom apart as a volunteer. “Tom is the kind of guy that will set up cots for evacuees, with a cast on his foot, because the work needs to get done.”

Kevin Holder
A volunteer for 35 years, Kevin got his start with the Red Cross as a swimming instructor in the ‘80s. At the tender age of 18, he served as a youth representative on the board for the Brandon branch. Kevin has sat on the First Aid program revisions committee since the mid ‘90s.

These days his focus is on continuing to develop the Wilderness First Aid program which started as a provincial effort in Alberta, reached out into regional coverage through Western Canada, and has now blossomed into a national program.

When not busy with his day job, as captain of fire services, Kevin can be found doing general maintenance around the Brandon office: changing lights, repairing furniture. Tellingly, both the toolbox and ladder at the Brandon Red Cross office belong to Kevin. It’s not glamorous, but Kevin exemplifies the Red Cross volunteer who provides help wherever help is needed.

Join the best that Canada has to offer. Sign up to be a Canadian Red Cross volunteer today at redcross.ca/volunteer.