Canadian Red Cross Announces 2013 Humanitarian Awards For New Brunswick

Publication date

SAINT JOHN, NB — The Canadian Red Cross today announced that Arthur Irving will receive its 2013 Humanitarian Award for New Brunswick. Alisha Virmani of Fredericton will receive the Canadian Red Cross 2013 Young Humanitarian Award for the province. 

"Arthur Irving has demonstrated a spirit of humanity that spans several decades." said Louise Castonguay, Atlantic director general of the Canadian Red Cross. "His vast contribution and commitment to the environment, to the province of New Brunswick and its people and Atlantic Canada have developed into a legacy of growth, sustainability and fostering of community."

Widely known for contributions that have gone far beyond his business leadership, Irving has helped hundreds of organizations. A strong supporter of youth, he has established many scholarships, mentorship and tutoring programs as well as supporting Junior Achievement throughout the province. His involvement in sports and recreation includes the support of minor hockey throughout Atlantic Canada and the annual Irving Oil Challenge Cup, as well as assisting schools with athletic programs. The company's Fuel to Care program provides fuel gift cards to families who travel frequently with their children's medical care. Partnerships between Irving Oil and organizations such as the Saint John Sea Dogs, Imperial Theatre, Symphony Saint John, and the Saint John Theatre Company have benefited community cultural establishments.

An avid outdoorsman, Irving has served for almost 40 years on the board of directors of Ducks Unlimited Canada, serving two as president and achieving many milestones such as the 1986 signing of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. His leadership and passion for the environment and for New Brunswick history led him to partner with DUC and Acadia University in the creation of the Beaubassin Research Station in Aulac, NB, for ecological and scientific research. Irving's humanitarian contributions have also extended beyond Canada. In 2010, after learning of Haiti's catastrophic earthquake, he sent two separate plane loads of doctors, nurses and medical supplies to care for the injured. In 2002, Irving was made an Officer of the Order of Canada and in 2012 received the Order of New Brunswick for his lifelong work as a builder of the province's economy and for his dedication to preserving the environment.

"Alisha Virmani is a shining example of someone who has experienced bullying and decided to share her story with others in the hope of creating change, both culturally and legislatively. Her passion and dedication to prevent bullying through her tireless efforts of volunteerism while managing full-time studies at university is truly inspiring" said Castonguay.

Virmani is a graduate of Fredericton High School currently studying Life Sciences at Queen's University in Kingston, ON. She became involved with the Canadian Red Cross as a member and later president of her high school's first aid response team, and then a youth facilitator with the Red Cross bullying prevention program, Beyond the Hurt. She also created a bullying awareness T-shirt campaign, Labels are for Soup Cans. She has appeared on behalf of the Canadian Red Cross before a Senate committee examining cyber-bullying issues and was a member of an advisory committee to New Brunswick's education minister whose work led to stronger bullying prevention and response measures in the province's Education Act.

A 2012 recipient of a Partners in Humanity award from the Red Cross, she has shared her personal experiences as a target of cyber-bullying at many forums with youth and adults, including Champions for Children and Youth, a conference held in Vancouver in April 2013 on keeping kids safe, and the May 2013 annual conference of the Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies held in Halifax.

Irving and Virmani will be honoured on November 6, 2013 at the Humanitarian Awards dinner at the Saint John Trade and Convention Centre, proceeds of which support Canadian Red Cross disaster relief and educational programs in the province.

Recipients of Canadian Red Cross Humanitarian and Young Humanitarian awards are selected among nominations received from the public. These awards highlight that, amid all other demands in people's lives, there are those who make time for volunteerism, advocacy and community service, and whose leadership inspires others to pursue humanitarian goals. To order tickets or receive information on the awards event, contact Cynthia Reicker at (506) 674-6195 or email [email protected]

Media contacts:

Dan Bedell
Director of Communications - Atlantic
Canadian Red Cross | Croix-Rouge canadienne 
24-Hour Atlantic Media: 1-800-463-4483 T (902) 424-1411 | M (902) 221-1086
Email: [email protected]
TWITTER: @Dan_Bedell

Melanie MacDonald
Communications Coordinator - Atlantic
Canadian Red Cross | Croix-Rouge canadienne 
24-Hour Atlantic Media: 1-800-463-4483 T (902) 424-1422 | M (902) 266-8364
Email: [email protected]