Some 40 years after receiving the Member of the British Empire honor in 1978, philanthropist Olive Miller has been named an Officer of the British Empire for her lifelong community service to the Cayman Islands.
The 96-year-old Ms. Miller was one of three Cayman residents who were recognized in the U.K.’s New Year’s Honors List. Betty Baraud and Dr. Bill Hrudey also received MBEs.
Ms. Miller called the OBE award the “crown” of her career, which includes a laundry list of achievements over the decades, including founding what is now known as the Girls’ Brigade in Cayman in 1946, helping start the Cayman Islands High School in 1949, and opening the Pines Retirement Home – where she currently resides – in 1983.
She said she is likely most proud of starting the Girls’ Brigade here, but that all of her accomplishments were made possible through her faith in a higher power.
“Of all the things I’ve done, in my opinion it’s because God sent me to do a job,” said Ms. Miller.
Dr. Hrudey received his MBE for promoting science in Cayman since he moved here in 1997. Before that he was a surgeon and an amateur astronomer in Canada.
Seeing a need to get children in Cayman more involved with science, Dr. Hrudey launched the Science Fair with the Rotary Club in 2006, and spearheaded bringing the STEM Carib Conference to the University College of the Cayman Islands.
He has also developed multiple world-class telescopes, including one that he recently finished, a dedicated solar telescope.
Dr. Hrudey said that the latest telescope is the second-largest of its kind, and will be unveiled later this month.
The science educator has volunteered at UCCI since 2010, receiving $1 per year for the efforts he has poured into the institution.
“I’ve only gotten $2, I think, so they still owe me,” he joked.
Dr. Hrudey added that he hopes others will continue to carry the mantle of science when he is gone, as promoting STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and math – is sorely needed here.
“We’ve got enough bean counters and lawyers here,” he said.
Ms. Baraud received her MBE for her volunteering and fundraising efforts.
The businesswoman has been a driver of sports in the territory, founding the Cayman Islands Olympics Committee’s fundraising arm in 1992 after her son Stefan’s quest to reach the Barcelona Games as a cyclist gave her insight into the funding needs of athletes.
But her contributions reach far beyond sports. A Rotary Club member of some 22 years, she also organizes the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony and helps beautify the venue for the Senior Citizens’ Party. She supports Meals on Wheels, and personally redecorated the George Town Hospital Mental Health Care Unit and provided patients with Bibles, books and games.
From 1999-2004, her firm Baraud International conducted a training program for inmates at Northward Prison, working in conjunction with the Labour Department to place rehabilitated prisoners into employment.
Her firm is also Cayman’s first recruitment agency and immigration consultancy company, creating a new industry of business from its inception in 1992.
Currently, she is a member of the Labour Appeals Tribunal and is an Honorary 100 Women in Finance Angel.