Many of us have seen this: history being rewritten by mediocre successors in organisations who take credit for the vision and accomplishments of their predecessors.
I remember attending a function where the conceptualiser, one of Jamaica's most brilliant women, unknowingly, was seated in the audience while newcomers preened themselves at the head table. I had to intervene by leading the lady to her rightful place at the head table, after persuading a reluctant person to take a seat in the audience.
This is why the Caribbean Community of Retired Persons (CCRP), an organisation for seniors, takes great care to research and prepare citations annually for our Living Legacy Awards ceremony. What we have discovered each year is that most high achievers are humble individuals; it is not until you insist that they share their life's journey that you realise how much they have contributed to Jamaica.
Take Winnifred Chambers-Dyer, for example, with a degree from The University of the West Indies (UWI) in nursing administration, she gave 33 years of service to the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) retiring as deputy matron. After retirement she was re-employed at KPH as operating theatre and renal unit manager with responsibility for the efficient management of 15 operating theatres. She assisted in establishing the Eye Clinic at the Jamaica Society for the Blind (JSB), was a member of the Prevention of Blindness Committee of the Ministry of Health, and was a member of the team which amended the current Opticians Act. One of her most challenging assignments was her trip to Montserrat during the island's Soufriere Hills volcanic eruption in 1997, where she served as team leader of six nurses.
Then there is Beryl Chevannes, a United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) goodwill ambassador. Her work in nursing and midwifery was the foundation of her career, leading to her appointment as executive director of the National Family Planning Board. She has served as a consultant to Futures Group International, providing technical assistance in the development of a National Youth Policy and the preparation of a National Strategic Plan for Youth Development.
Chevannes has served in several roles, including as an examiner with the Nursing Council of Jamaica, lecturer in the maternal and child health diploma course of the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine at The UWI, and external examiner for nursing and midwifery with the Nursing Council of Nassau, Bahamas.
We usually see Howard Hamilton on the sports news as president of the Jamaica Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and authoring the publication My Journey With Thoroughbreds. This dynamic Jamaican headed the Shell Company and created the Sports Development Foundation (SDF) in 1991. The SDF has built sporting infrastructure around the island and also supported administrative capacity in several sports. Serving as chairman of the then Metropolitan Management and Transport Holdings, Hamilton oversaw the development of bus depots in Portmore and the Corporate Area, including the Metropolitan Transport Centre in Half-Way-Tree.
Gary "Butch" Hendrickson is in his own league as a Jamaican philanthropist. He received a special award named for the late Michael Fraser, a generous board director of CCRP. Hendrickson has been heard warning his 1,000-strong team to, "Make the money please — you know I plan to give it away." With his colleague Glen Christian, the model Union Gardens School was created. His National Baking Foundation has donated millions to early childhood education and more recently to The UWI STEM Project.
Hendrickson has also sponsored the Bold Ones of Manufacturing Project, which gave small manufacturers a marketing boost, including mobile fixtures for expositions, the production of promotional videos, exposure at Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association's (JMEA) Expo shows. Two of those companies, AMD Packaging and Spur Tree Spices are now listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange.
Additionally, he created a mobile training classroom complete with teacher and driver and A Jamaican-Made Christmas to promote local organisations. He lends his organisational brilliance to the Council of Voluntary Social Services as its chairman as well as to several high-powered boards. Meanwhile, National Baking Company continues its 70-year journey, now creating an ultra-modern facility in Montego Bay and widening its range of products.
This column has dubbed Eleanor Jones an Angel of the Environment. The former UWI lecturer grew impatient with the conferences exploring environmental problems and so she left academia to co-found Environmental Solutions Limited (ESL). As we constantly weigh the balance between development and environmental protection, the company's initial mission was applying disaster risk-management and environmental conservation to the wider public sphere, encompassing Government, private sector, and civil society. More than 30 years on, ESL has one of the largest environmental labs and consultancies in the Caribbean, certified to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)/International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standard, and is continuing to expand through volunteer and community activism. The brilliant Eleanor Jones remains a well-loved empathetic individual, high in emotional quotient (EQ) as well as intelligence quotient (IQ).
She is also very proud of granddaughter Rachel Jones, who has joined the Reggae Girls World Cup team, playing for the first time against Paraguay over the past week.
Next week, I will continue to share with you the achievements of more legendary Jamaicans.
CONGRATULATIONS, GOVERNOR WES MOORE
Jamaicans were cheering from afar when we learnt that Democratic candidate for the governorship of Maryland Wes Moore had emerged victorious in last week's US miderm elections, the first African American to do so. A video of Moore's Jamaica 60 greetings to the state's Jamaican community has been circulating. Here are some excerpts:
"I'm so proud to stand with the diverse and dynamic communities that make up the great state of Maryland, but I have to tell you I'm specifically and particularly proud to stand with the Jamaican association of Maryland because, yes, I am …very, very proud of my history, my culture, where I came from... It is my joy to be able to address all of you in a true celebration of Jamaica's 60th year Independence knowing that the first 60 were great, the next 60, lookout!… I look forward to partnering with you for the next decade, for the next 60 years and beyond."
DENISE ALOMA GETS TOP US AWARD
Convent of Mercy Academy "Alpha" and Windsor University graduate Dr Denise Aloma (nee Wehby) was the recipient of the Terrel H Bell Award for Outstanding School Leadership from the US Department of Education earlier this month. The award recognises outstanding school leaders and the vital role they play in guiding students and schools to excellence, frequently under challenging circumstances. Dr Aloma was nominated for her commitment to fostering successful teaching and learning at her school and doing "whatever it takes" to help students meet high standards.
Dr Aloma has been a faculty member of St Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale for over 40 years, serving as principal for seven.
A SPECIAL HAPPY BIRTHDAY
It has been a joy to see our daughter Anita grow into one of the most versatile managers of both our comms and real estate development businesses. Besides that, she is a caring and proactive daughter. Hubie the "girl dad" and Anita talk in code as their dietary choices differ from mine, but we like the same movies so she is always ready to watch a weekly "rom-com" with her mom. We wish Anita a happy birthday and blessings for many more.