The 2008-2009 recipient of the Rotary Central Vocational Service Award is Elmer ‘Shorty’ Ebanks.
Mr. Ebanks, the operator of the Rainbow Inn at Gerrard Smith International Airport, Cayman Brac, was recognised for his exemplification of the ideals of Rotary in the day-to-day running of the snack bar in the departure lounge at the airport.
Shorty, as he is affectionately known, took over the running of the original Rainbow Inn, a wooden building adjacent to the old airport terminal some 34 years ago.
When the new terminal was constructed in 1989, he moved to the new location.
Mr. Ebanks informed Rotary Central Past-President Fred Speirs, who nominated him for the award, that he had served 16 years in the Merchant Marine before returning to his native Cayman Brac and the Rainbow Inn.
He is always there to provide last-minute drinks and snacks for travellers at all hours of the day, seven days a week.
The snack bar walls are covered with family photos (two sons and seven grandchildren), jokes and witty sayings, hurricane maps, an Ambassador of Tourism plaque, a Lifetime Tourism Awards and a certificate for services to the Aviation Industry.
With a smile he admits that in all his years, he has had not too many days off, ‘maybe a couple’.
Since 1989, he has had one week off.
When asked, he admits that he has no plans to retire right now.
Mr. Speirs remarked that, as a regular traveller to and from Cayman Brac, he had noticed this commitment and dedication leading him to nominate Mr. Ebanks for the award.
Mr. Ebanks received a plaque recognising his efforts.
He thanked Rotary Central, and said that he would treasure it.
Within minutes of receiving it, he was already proudly displaying it to departing passengers.