Vince Withers, a well-known community leader from St. John’s, has been named the recipient of the Canadian Red Cross 2012 Humanitarian award for Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Red Cross also announced today that Jillian Peddle, a Memorial University alumna and local volunteer, will receive the Canadian Red Cross Young Humanitarian award.
John Byrne, director general of the Canadian Red Cross in Atlantic Canada, said Withers “personifies what we seek to highlight with these awards.
Amid all other demands in people's lives, Byrne said in a news release, there are those who make time for volunteerism, advocacy and philanthropy, and whose leadership inspires others to pursue humanitarian goals.
Withers is founder and chairman of the Eating Disorders Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, an advocacy group dedicated to research and providing public support services and information on eating disorders. He also played a key role in the opening of the Renata Elizabeth Withers Treatment Centre for HOPE, named after his daughter who died in 2005 from an eating disorder.
Withers has received several awards and honours to recognize his contribution to sport, education and health care.
In 1997, he was named a member of the Order of Canada and In 1998, he received an honorary doctor of laws from Memorial University. In 1992, Withers was awarded the Governor General 125th Anniversary Medal and in 2003, the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal.
He continues to spend countless hours assisting clients and families to help improve their access to services.
In 2010, Withers was appointed chairman of the Provincial Ministerial Advisory Council for Mental Health and Addictions. The council advises the minister of Health and Community Services on key mental health and addictions matters in order to enhance services and improve the lives of those living with mental health and addictions issues in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Withers is also a member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Sports Hall of Fame and the Canadian Softball Hall of Fame.
He is retired from a long career with Newtel Enterprises and Newfoundland Telephone, where he served as president and chief executive officer.
Byrne said Jillian Peddle maintains an exceptional level of commitment to her community and humanity around the world.
In more than 10 years with the Salvation Army and other community organizations, Peddle assumed many leadership roles including being involved with MUN’s Oxfam Society and as a member of the Salvation Army's Student Fellowship group.
In 2007, Peddle travelled to Dominican Republic to volunteer through “Absolute Hero Holiday.”
She spent time with children in orphanages, taught music, assisted Haitian refugees and local hospital clinics, and helped construct a community centre. Withers and Peddle will be presented with their awards on Nov. 22 at the Humanitarian Award gala dinner at the Delta Conference Centre in St. John's.
Further information on each recipient, including those chosen from other Atlantic provinces, is available online at www.redcross.ca/humanitarian.
Recipients of Canadian Red Cross Humanitarian and Young Humanitarian awards are selected from nominations received from the public. For information on the Newfoundland and Labrador award gala or ticket reservations, contact Jaclyn Skinner at (709) 758-8400 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.