Bishop John I Cline, the Board of Trustees and members of the New Life Baptist Church (NLBC) honoured Dr. Robert Mathavious, Mr. Merit Herbert and Mr. Terry Chinnery at the 10th Annual service of thanksgiving for Virgin Islands Unsung Heroes that was held at on March 2 at the Church in Duffs Bottom.
In his congratulatory message, Bishop Cline announced that it is a privilege to honour the Territory’s unsung heroes who have served God and the BVI humbly and unselfishly. He said: “Today I join with the Board and entire congregation of New Life Baptist Church to say thank you for your selfless sacrifice, and service to the people of the Virgin Islands.” “Amidst criticism and risk-taking in their areas of expertise, these innovators are successfully advancing the British Virgin Islands; not just locally, but globally. Our Territory is a better place because of the commitment of hard working men and women, like our honourees who work tirelessly to preserve our international integrity, have held our Territory together in difficult times, and are using their lives and connections to improve the lives of others; and thus augmenting our way of life in Nature’s Little Secret,” the Bishop said.
Mr. Mathavious was honoured for his outstanding work as the premier professional within the Financial Services Commission, and for securing the integrity of the industry from which the entire Territory largely benefits. In his response, Honouree Mathavious said: “I come from a small country where any persons not reaching his or her full potential is a big loss to us. My parents instilled that kind of attitude in all of us, but equally by faith I am a Christian and foolishly, I have this drive that maybe I can help everybody. My thing is to help anybody…try to see people move from where they are to becoming something better.”
Mr. Herbert was honoured for his outstanding contributions to the broadcasting industry of the Virgin Islands, and for additionally cherishing the agricultural history of the Territory. In his response, Mr. Herbert shared a simple, yet profound quote and stated: “Whatsoever things are free, whatsoever things are just, make them free as air and plenteous as the dust.”
Honoree Mr. Chinnery was honoured for his use of athletics as a tool for education and self advancement and in the process breaking gender barriers so that both males and females benefitted from the sport of the Virgin Islands — softball. In his response Mr. Chinnery advised that when one is confronted with someone else’s dilemma or problems, it matters not what would happen if one gets involved but rather what happens to them if they do not. During the well attended service, a surprise honour was also bestowed on Dr Sylvia M. Simmons for the work that she has done with the children of New Life Baptist Church, and persons in the wider community through the Family Support Network. The surprise honour feature was added by the Church as a means of honouring a member of the congregation, and in the process adding an “internal unsung hero” to the annual honourees list. The annual NLBC service of thanksgiving for Virgin Islands Unsung Heroes was first held in 2005 under the name “Heroes Sunday.” The event was organized as a forum for the Church and community to express thanks to men and women who made significant contributions to the success of the Territory. In the ten years of existence the programme has honoured 31 persons including: the late Mr. J.R. O’Neal, the late Mr. Noel Lloyd, Ms. Joyce Samuel, Mr. Reeial George, Hon. Ralph T. O’Neal, Dr. Charles Wheatley, Mrs. Jennie Wheatley, Ms. Janet Stoutt, Mr. Ishmael Fahie, Mrs. Mariette Beazer, Mr. Marvin Blyden, Mrs. Kirlin Lettsome, Mr. Ray O’Neal, Ms. Moviene Fahie, Mr. Theodore Skeete, Dr. Heskith Vanterpool, Ms. Cecily Malone, Mr. Ulric Scatliffe, Mr. Alric Corea, Mr. Gregory Smith, Mrs Mariette Smith, Mrs. Judith Vanterpool, Dr. J.S. Archibald, Mr. Alexander O. Shirley, Ms. Mercedes Samuels, Mr. Vernon W. Pickering, Ms. Patsy Lake, and Dr. Quincy Lettsome.