Red Cross lauds volunteer community

Youth volunteer Dreshna James receives an award from Governor Martyn Roper.

The Cayman Islands Red Cross thanked some of the people who made its annual mission possible on Jan. 19 when it staged its 15th Annual Volunteer Appreciation event. The event, called “The Henris,” makes a point of recognizing and highlighting the achievements of volunteers.

“The Red Cross is an organization built on volunteer work and community engagement,” said Jondo Obi, director of the Cayman Islands Red Cross. “This event first started as a way to recognize the tremendous work done by volunteers during Hurricane Ivan and since then has become an annual event which celebrates our volunteers and the work they’ve put in in the passing year.”

The event, which was held at the Marriott Grand Cayman Resort, kicked off with a presentation by the Governor Martyn Roper, who thanked the volunteers for their hard work and community involvement.

Long Service pins were awarded to Herfer Hyde and Grace Bryant for 15 years of service, and youth volunteers Amy Wagner, Ashlee Wagner, Kerry-Ann McField, Kareisha Nelson, Dalton Nelson Jr. and Dreshna James were given special recognition for their dedication.

Carolina Ferreira, the deputy director of the Cayman Islands Red Cross and program manager for child protection and sexuality education, ran over a summary of work done in the last year. Protection Starts Here, a multi-agency group dedicated to protecting children, went international in 2018 and hosted a workshop at an international symposium on child abuse and neglect.

Peter Hughes, first aid training manager, thanked volunteers for staging 58 events over the course of 2018. The first aid program trained over 900 people in life-saving skills and certified 24 people in basic water safety. The program also added five new trainers, including one who speaks Spanish.

Volunteer of the Year Annette Bankasingh, right, receives her award from Red Cross Chairperson Irina Scrivens.

Odette DaCosta was named First Aid Volunteer and Disaster Management Volunteer of the Year, and Pamela Martin was named the Thrift Shop Volunteer of the Year. Alejandro Ruiz was named the Newcomer of the Year by the administration support members of the Red Cross.

Eddie Sepp Tinling-Miller, disaster manager, provided an overview of work done in that field. Fifty-two new members of the Community Emergency Response Team were trained in 2018, as well as 32 new National Intervention Team members. CIRC engaged with 14 schools and introduced Operation Aftershock, which enabled volunteers to experience a two-day disaster simulation.

“The Cayman Islands Red Cross is privileged to have a strong, thoughtful and committed group of volunteers,” said Samantha White-Smith, volunteer and resource manager of CIRC. “As a volunteer, you bring so much to the organization: skills, experience, friendship, vision, leadership, inspiration and advice. … Tonight, we take this opportunity to thank you and celebrate all that you do.”