Part of the responsibilities for the Director of Children and Family Services is to chair the Essential Relief Services during major catastrophes.
For Deanna Marie Look Loy, the director, Hurricane Ivan presented the challenge of putting to use the training she and the department have had over the years.
‘I had every confidence in the team of shelter wardens and the department’s dedicated staff who worked tirelessly, regardless of their own circumstances,’ says Mrs. Look Loy. ‘They went above the call of duty and took care of the over 3,000 sheltered during the storm. Their work and selflessness made me really proud.’
The Friday before the storm she worked day and night at the University College of the Cayman Islands -a main distribution centre for the shelters-to ensure that all the supplies were being routed properly and that each shelter was fully stocked. After the storm she coordinated efforts with the Red Cross in distributing relief supplies at various locations around the Island.
During the storm, she remained in constant contact with the shelter wardens and members of the Emergency Operations Centre to monitor the shelters.
‘I was aware of when anything that happened at the shelters,’ she comments. ‘From the moment there was a leak or any problem, I was able to offer assistance, guidance, and support to the wardens. I stayed in touch with them until the batteries ran out on our radios and visited each shelter as soon as was possible after the storm.’
As a subgroup of the National Hurricane Committee, ERS is responsible for shelter management, provisions control and the distribution of essential relief services such as food, clothing, and overseas relief supplies.
Mrs. Look Loy’s dedicated service to government began after graduating from the University of the West Indies Mona (Jamaica) campus in 1975. She was head of the Spanish Department at the Cayman Islands Middle (now George Hicks) in 1981 and John Gray High school from 1983 until 1987.
In 1987 she became Assistant Secretary for the then Ministry of Health, Education, and Social Services, assuming her current post in 1994.
‘My work as director of Children and Family Services is challenging but highly enjoyable. We deal with the most vulnerable people in our society,’ she comments. ‘I am privileged to work with the well-skilled and supportive team of social workers and staff in the department.’
Besides her role as director, Mrs. Look Loy is also active in the community and in St. Ignatius Catholic church. She is a member of the Business and Professional Women’s Club, Catholic Women’s League, acts as a lector for the church, and is a minister of the Eucharist. Her other interests include an avid love of cooking, gardening and flower arranging, spending time with her three daughters-Suzanne, Luana, and Danielle-and participating on the boards of the Cayman National Cultural Foundation and the National Drug Council.
During her time in the education field, she tutored children in Spanish and continued to do so for many years. On many occasions she is called upon to interpret for the courts and assist in the translation of documents for Spanish speakers seeking permits in Cayman.
In the past she has served on the museum board, Parish Advisory Counsel of her church, and on the National Trust Board and is a past president of the Civil Service Association.