Posted: Saturday, September 14, 2019. 3:40 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Annually, the Government seeks out individuals who have provided outstanding and meritorious service to the country and people of Belize and offers a small recognition under the National Award system.
On Thursday, 22 such persons were honored – 3 with the Order of Distinction, the third highest national award after the National Hero and Order of Belize; and the others with the Meritorious Service Awards.
On the occasion of the award ceremony held in Belize City, Prime Minister Dean Barrow, who holds responsibility for recommending awardees stated: “The National Honours and Awards Act provides for the conferral of honours and awards on persons, living or deceased, who have rendered outstanding and meritorious service to Belize, or who are otherwise deemed worthy of such honours and awards. Once again this September we remember a select group of courageous Belizeans whose loyalty to our country we honour and whose service to our compatriots we acknowledge with gratitude… an altogether appropriate opportunity for a grateful nation to say thanks.”
Governor General Sir Colville Young, who conferred the awards, added: “These honorees are our heroes and heroines – our patriots, who through their exemplary life and hard work went beyond the call of duty to improve and enrich the lives of all who they came in contact with. They are our positive role models, our generous and selfless spirits, our shining stars within our country. Their short personal life stories read out tonight speak volumes about how ordinary citizens can transform their lives and become true Belizean Patriots.”
The late Dr. Calvin Harrington of Murray State University was awarded for services to education for founding the Consortium for Belize Educational Cooperation (COBEC), responsible for educating hundreds of Belizeans in various fora; Harry Lawrence, the publisher of the Reporter and Ambassador to the Vatican, was awarded for services to journalism, having worked for 50 years with the Daily Clarion, Belize Billboard and Reporter Press; and Speaker of the House of Representatives Laura Tucker-Longsworth was awarded for services to health, as a long-time nurse and leader of the National AIDS Commission, Belize Cancer Society, and other health-related organizations.
In order of appearance in the official booklet, these are the other awardees:
Harald Wallen, III (Placencia); businessman and community servant; services to community
Brian Young (Placencia); fisherman, diver, tour operator and conservationist; services to conservation and business
Jean Reyes (Burrell Boom); Senior Girl Guide leader; services to community
Gertrude Velasquez (Burrell Boom); community nurse’s aide and health worker; services to community
Ludwig Lightburn (Belize City/New Jersey, U.S.A.); champion boxer and mentor; services to sports
Vilma Ramclam (Forest Home/Punta Gorda, Toledo); teacher and community work; services to community
Elma Arzu (Belmopan); educator and community worker; services to education and community
Alginold Bennett (Orange Walk); art teacher; services to art and culture
Brenda Johnson-Gabourel (Belize City); medal-winning softball player and coach; services to sports
Albert Jones (Belize City); accomplished trombonist; services to music
Phyllis Cayetano (Dangriga); teacher and Garifuna activist; services to culture and education
Mavis Grant (Belize City); senior nurse and midwife; services to nursing
Leonel Cordova (Orange Walk); artist and painter; services to the arts
Brent Hamilton (Belize City); senior police officer and community worker; services to community
Dawn Flowers (Burrell Boom); teacher and community worker; services to community
Raymond Garbutt (Roaring Creek); businessman and sportsman; services to sport and business
Alvan Gentle, Jr., (Roaring Creek); pastor; services to religion and community
Keith Gardiner, Sr. (Belize City/Louisiana, U.S.A.); sportsman and teacher; services to sports
Gweneth Gillett (Belize City); teacher and radio performer; services to community and culture.
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