Sonia Morris received the Volunteer’s Choice Award, and Odette DaCosta was named volunteer of the year as the Cayman Islands Red Cross honored a decade of hurricane recovery efforts at the organization’s 10th annual volunteer appreciation dinner, held last month at The Westin.

Director Jondo Obi said in a press release that the Jan. 21 event “started as a way to recognize the tremendous work done by the organization’s volunteer core prior to, during and following the passing of Hurricane Ivan.”

The organization reported that 77 new volunteers joined Red Cross efforts in the Cayman Islands in 2016.

Pins were awarded to volunteers who have completed 15, 20 and 25 years of service. Former Red Cross Chairman Peter Milburn, Eziethamae Bodden, Susan Ebanks and Elaine Thomas were recognized for 25 years of service.

Youth volunteers Dreshna James and Bianca Rego-Ramos were recognized for their administrative work over the summer.

Minister of Finance Marco Archer spoke to more than 130 volunteers at the event. He described their efforts as an important part of a democracy and a function that brings together communities.

“Indeed, volunteerism provides the best opportunities and means for us all as citizens to get engaged in the community that we live in, and enables us to help the community at its most difficult times,” he said.

“There is nobility, dignity, love, compassion and kindness for your fellow community members enmeshed in what you do. And for that I salute you. And appreciate the example you set others.”

Odette DaCosta receives the Volunteer of the Year award from Minister Marco Archer.

Carolina Ferreira of Child Protection and Sexuality Education Programmes recognized the fifth anniversary of the Protection Starts Here project and efforts by the Seal of Protection initiative to establish national standards for youth-oriented organizations.

The Red Cross reported that five people have been trained and received supplies in the Community Emergency Response Teams program. The organization said it plans to make its pilot CERT challenge an annual event to promote emergency preparation efforts.

Thrift Shop manager Remy Imperial saidplans are in the works to expand the store through a boutique shop called The Red Collection.

First Aid Training Manager Peter Hughes said first aid was provided in 94 instances in 2015.

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