Canada's Unsung Heroes: The Energizer

Each year in Canada, millions of workers and volunteers make sacrifices in order to live, breathe and work for change, without expecting anything in return. At CharityVillage, we call these people Unsung Heroes and we feel, it’s about time to sing their praises!

We're proud to introduce you to The Energizer

Meet Carmen Yirka - "The Energizer"

At Mercy Ships Canada, people from around the globe come together with one common goal: to bring hope and healing to the world's most impoverished people. Mercy Ships runs the world's largest charity hospital ship, the Africa Mercy, which delivers free surgeries and medical training to thousands of people in West and Central Africa. While the medical professionals who volunteer with Mercy Ships are often at the forefront of the organization's work, there is an Unsung Hero who toils behind the scenes in the kitchen to energize this hardworking team.

As the Galley Team Leader, Carmen Yirka keeps the volunteers aboard the Africa Mercy well fed so they can perform life-changing surgeries and medical procedures. At any given time, the international crew can number up to 450 volunteers, including 150 Canadians. Feeding a team this large truly is a task of heroic proportion!

Energizing body and soul

But Carmen does much more than simply provide fuel for the body. Born with Apert Syndrome, Carmen has undergone more than 20 surgeries and has overcome much adversity in her own life. Not only is Carmen an inspiration to the team at Mercy Ships, she also provides comfort and hope to the people who come to the Africa Mercy for treatment.

"I like to be with the patients to give them hope," says Carmen. "I have a clear and intimate understanding of what they're going through."

Feeding both the body and soul - this is Carmen's power as The Energizer. Join us in celebrating this most deserving Unsung Hero.

Many Thanks

Thank you to JoJo Beattie for nominating Carmen Yirka to the Unsung Hero Video Biography project and to the volunteers aboard the Africa Mercy for so helpfully assisting with the filming of this video.

Thank you to all of you who nominated your Unsung Heroes. Getting to know these Canadian superheroes is immensely inspiring and we are thrilled to be able to share their stories with the world!