2015 Catalyst Award Winner
Armiger’s calling to volunteer stems from the loss of his infant child, Emerson, who died tragically due to a congenital heart defect. Subsequently, Armiger has been a catalyst for two nonprofits in a dynamic, sustainable way over the past 15 years making a difference in the lives of those living with heart disease. As a founding member of the University of Maryland Hospital’s Board of Visitors, and chair from 2004-09, he changed the Board’s focus to fundraising. This ignited much-needed programs that have funded the purchase of state-of-the art equipment, family counseling and construction of a new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
In 2005, Armiger was approached by David Watkins, who flat-lined after undergoing open heart surgery, to execute his vision to found the Ironheart Foundation. What began as two friends on a mission to make a difference has become the largest community in the world of athletic minded cardiac patients, healthcare professionals, family and friends dedicated to making the world heart-smart and heart-healthy. Ironheart Foundation includes members from 48 states and 19 countries participating in more than 1,600 athletic events annually. Armiger spends approximately 700 hours annually volunteering with University of Maryland’s Board of Visitors as well as serving as an active member of Ironheart Foundation’s Board of Directors, managing the Ironheart Mid-Atlantic Facebook page, authoring Ironheart Foundation’s “Kickstart Your Heart” fundraiser, providing strategic consultation and representing the charity around the globe competing in Ironman triathlons. Ironheart Foundation’s impact has been far-reaching – linking more than 600 cardiac patients with leading specialists and placing life-saving Automatic External Defibrillators in places of need. In 2015, the organization will launch Ironheart Academy becoming a leader in cardiac education and will release a documentary: “HEART: Flatline to Finish Line,” for which Armiger served as an advisor.