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PALS Coordinator Deborah Fisher Honoured with the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award

J.D. Irving, Limited (JDI) congratulates Deborah Fisher and Erica Lane – this year’s recipients of the Saint John YWCA Women of Distinction Award for Education, Training, and Development.

Debbie has been working closely with JDI for 15 years as the PALS (Partners Assisting Local Schools) Coordinator. In 1994, Debbie partnered with JDI and the New Brunswick Department of Education to help develop forestry materials for use in schools in the Maritimes and parts of Maine. In 2000 she received a call from Mr. J.K. Irving inviting her to meet to discuss an idea that has grown to become the internationally award-winning PALS program. 

“The call I received from Mr. J.K. Irving was a game changer,” says Fisher. “Mr. Irving recognized that time during the work day could and should be invested to improve the life of a child.”

Debbie was pleased to receive the award alongside her friend and co-worker of eight years, Erica Lane. During her acceptance speech, she expressed her sincere passion for the program as well as the people she has worked with throughout this journey. 

“In receiving this award, I know that in truth I am a representative and not a recipient. I have the pleasure of working with an extraordinary network of caring individuals.  Their belief in the great potential of children is transforming the future not only of these young people but by extension, their communities."

Tonight, the common denominator is the very human contribution of time and talent that is making a difference. Over the past 15 years, the power of mentorship - of each one, teach one - has become contagious. This is the powerful living legacy of our work together.” Debbie said.

“I want to thank Mr. Irving for that call 15 years ago,” said Fisher. “It has literally been a life-changing adventure. I would not have had the opportunity to come to know the Greater Saint John Community, its big heart, and its willingness to do what is right and what is necessary.” 

As part of our commitment to invest in community and positive education within the Saint John area, JDI is proud to have someone as passionate and as driven as Debbie working with our company. We congratulate Debbie and Erica on their accomplishments and express our appreciation for their many years of committed and dedicated service to the PALS program and the Community Schools program. Hand in hand with the Anglophone South School District and other business and community partners, we truly are making a difference through this program by providing children and families with mentorship, growth, and most importantly, hope. 

Deborah Fisher, PALS Coordinator (left) and Erica Lane, Community Engagement Coordinator, Anglophone South School District (right), receiving the award for Education, Training and Development from Sherry Sparkes, President of YWCA Moncton – presented at the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards Gala.