Cherry district residents honoured
For the second consecutive year, the Cherry Community Youth Society in Cherry district, St Catherine, honoured 16 residents for their outstanding contributions to the growth and development of the community.
Selected for their distinguished services in the field of education, community service and business, the residents were honoured on New Year's Day in a colourful awards dinner, held in Cherry Square under the theme 'Transforming Lives, Shaping the Future'.
In the field of business, the honourees were Aneita Brown, who operated a chicken farm for 30 years; Dubick Brown and Berquin Brown, also chicken farmers for more than 12 years; Alfrado Jennings, egg farmer for 30 years - all responsible for the employment of some 20 workers; and building contractor Fitz Albert Brown, who has provided scores of job opportunities in the community for 58 years
Sharon McCloud, Renae Jones Wisdom, Cinderella Williams, Yvette Nixon, Shereese Nixon and Juana Williams were honoured for a combined 120 years of service in the field of education, specifically at the early-childhood level, in the Cherry, Content and Dover communities.
Awards for sterling community service were presented to Dale Bennett and Derrick Smalling for 13 and 42 years, respectively, as school bus operators; Phillip Jones, water truck driver; Leonie Nixon and Leity Cross, school cooks; and Ruby Gibbs, who has been writing eulogies for deceased community members for many years.
President of the Cherry Community Youth Society, Kevan Woodhouse, said the annual awards dinner was an effort by the youth in the community to recognise community members who have struggled over the years to improve the lives of others.
"We are extremely grateful for what they have done to change our lives. The business owners have been providing employment for members of the community for many years, as well as the educators who have shaped our lives, not to mention the service providers," Woodhouse stated.
"This community could not be what it is today without the great contribution of all these folks," he added.
Woodhouse disclosed that the awards dinner was a culmination of events that started on New Year's Eve, with a fireworks showcase in Cherry Square to ring in the new year.
Guess speaker, press secretary in the Office of the Governor General, Sonja Simms, lauded the efforts of the youth society members, describing them as community builders, while encouraging them to believe in themselves.
"The service you give to your community exemplifies the way all Jamaicans should function to bring an end to the negativity that has been plaguing our communities," she said. Simms stressed the importance of young people to communicate with their elders, which is important to nation building.
The event was punctuated with a live performance from former reggae deejay Lt Stitchie, now a gospel entertainer, who reeled off his repertoire of Christian songs.