Search for 2012 Unsung Hero!

What would the world be like without people whose love is life changing for those around them? Individuals who care much more than the average Joe about their community or country at large—persons who will stop and nothing to make the world a better place. Without these people according to the FirstCaribbean International Bank, “society would be immeasurably poorer.”
Wednesday, April 25 marked the launch of the 2012 Unsung Heroes program at the financial institution’s corporate center in Castries. It was there representatives from CIBC announced that the program had become the flagship for volunteerism in the Caribbean and on that occasion, invited guests and the media got the chance to hear first hand about 2011 Unsung Hero Monica Alcide’s experience.
After welcome and introductory remarks by Jeanelle Williams from the 2012 Unsung Heroes Committee and country manager and head of corporate banking Mauricia Thomas-Francis, it was time for the 2011 Hero’s Report.
Alcide, a Bagatelle resident, was delighted and extremely grateful to stand as a Hero in her island and community and expressed just that.
“I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to the management and staff of CIBC, and those who nominated and selected me as the Unsung Hero for 2011,” she expressed. “I am very proud and honoured to have been selected and to play the role as an Unsung Hero, to help people in my community and every other area in St Lucia.”
According to Alcide being Unsung Hero meant giving more to people in need.
“Not just the people in my community,” she elaborated. “I was able to touch the lives of people as far as Bisee, Ti Rocher and other areas. I was able to assist many families with food, pampers and able to take them to the doctor to see about their medication. I helped the elderly in various communities. As Unsung hero it is important that you supported me to give me this great opportunity in life and today I stand boldly, with confidence to thank you for the good works I am able to do in the community. I will continue it as long as I have breath and I am alive. I will continue visiting all those who need my help.”
She added: “You have encouraged me to go on my way rejoicing and doing the best because it is said we should be our brother’s keeper. See about each other, share love and compassion with each other. I thank the organizers for taking on this project.”
When it was his turn, Donovan Williams, permanent secretary in the ministry of social transformation, local government and community empowerment commended the bank for the initiative and assured all that the ministry would provide all the support they could to take the project forward and to other communities.
“We are about trying to empower, trying to transform our communities and that mandate is a very difficult one,” Williams said of his ministry. “It’s even more difficult to try to do it on our own as a ministry.”
Touching on the 2012 Throne Speech by governor general Dame Pearlette Louisy, Williams made mention of what he called “repeated pronouncements relating to how difficult the times were.”
“It is going to be important for everyone to collaborate and partner so we can overcome these challenges,” Williams stated. “Every other sentence from the Throne Speech seemed to be within that vein and I think it underscores for us as a ministry, the notion of service to community and to country, as being very critical to our overall development agenda.”
In his words, service was one of the things that bound people together, and there was need to constantly find ways to ensure service was maintained as an important element of everyday life.
“This particular initiative is really one to be commended because it is an attempt to do just that,” Donovan Williams said of the Unsung Heroes program. “The beauty of this is that the individual is doing it not for the recognition but just because they have love for their community, the people and a desire to serve. Those are the qualities that will overcome all these challenges we have as a country.”
The Unsung Heroes program operates on a local and regional level. Each year 15 out of the 17 countries where FirstCaribbean operates participate annually in search of the region’s selfless heroes—people who generously give of their time and resources to improve the lives of the less fortunate in their communities.
On the local level, a country committee comprising three bank persons, three well-respected community leaders and led by a local coordinator from the bank select suitable ‘heroes’ as their country finalists based on specific criteria. These heroes are selected from entries submitted by persons in the community responsible for electing and submitting names based on their knowledge of the work of the individuals. The heroes selected will received a gift from the bank, but any money received is given directly to the cause.

Head table at the launch of First Caribbean’s Unsung Hero programme.

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