FREEPORT, BAHAMAS — The Governor General’s Volunteer Bahamas Program was officially launched on Grand Bahama on Friday by Governor General C A Smith in a ceremony that honored some 13 individuals and organizations.
Those honored included Calvin Martin, Dwayne Stuart, Jude Grant, Grand Bahama Lakers baseball team, Butler and Sands Blue Jays, D’Sean Smith, Jensen Burrows, Jason Albury, the Rotary Clubs on the island, Pastor Darren Rolle, Dudley Seide, Stephanie Burrows and Lindy Russell.
The honorees were presented with awards given by the governor general, or by Barry Rassin, chairman of Volunteer Bahamas.
Lindy Russell and Stephanie Burrows were thanked for their contribution to young people and those throughout the community.
Those receiving gold awards were D’Sean Smith (accepted by his sister Delicia Smith), Jensen Burrows and Albury for volunteering to rescue those trapped during Hurricane Dorian last year.
The other honorees were presented silver awards.
The awards were presented during a ceremony at the C A Smith Building, for which attendance was limited due to COVID-19 protocols.
During the ceremony, the governor general said he was “encouraged by the work of hundreds of volunteer organizations involving thousands of Bahamians who unselfishly give of their time in the molding of human personality and in the building of our communities”.
“We are especially inspired by the work of the army of Bahamian volunteers who regularly support humanitarian efforts, organizations like the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and all the various networks that feed, clothe and house members of society who are in need,” Smith said.
“We recognize them, we commend them and we applaud them for the efforts they have given on behalf of their fellowmen.
“We commend the many NGOs such as Rotary, Kiwanis and all like-minded groups that continue to positively impact the lives of so many Bahamians through their generosity.
“Here in Grand Bahama, we’ve to recognize and applaud the significant works of many Bahamians in our community who have outreach programs inclusive of development of our youth marching bands, the training and coaching in various sports such as basketball, baseball, swimming, tennis, volleyball and athletics.”
There are some, he continued, who are making real contributions in their respective communities as well as those rendering unselfish service in all walks of life and in unexpected places.
Also present during the ceremony were Minister of State for Finance and for Grand Bahama Kwasi Thompson, who thanked volunteers who rescued people trapped during Hurricane Dorian as well as the five Rotary Clubs on the island for their continuing assistance in the aftermath of the storm.
Two weeks ago, the Governor General’s Volunteer Bahamas Program was launched on New Providence. According to a statement on the Grand Bahama launch, the program “exists to encompass, encourage and celebrate those people as well as civic and charitable organizations, associations, clubs and groups that significantly and generously contribute through volunteering without seeking reward”.
“There are many who would wish to volunteer in some way, but do not know how and so this is a way to bring people together to meet this need,” the statement read. “The program is designed to inspire, coordinate and recognize the work of volunteers.”