One of this year’s Older Persons Month Ambassadors, Lucille Douglas is a woman of many callings. The cheer-giver is also a teacher, caregiver, and transportation provider.
Born on 23 July 1941 and raised in North Side, having lived in the district all her life, Miss Douglas knows the needs of her fellow Nor’siders.
Her readiness to help led to the late Edna Moyle to call her ‘the Florence Nightingale of North Side’.
Assisting others has always been important to Ms Douglas and even more so since her retirement after 22 years at CUC in 2004. Over the years, helping others has kept her active and engaged. She can be relied on to pick up medication or take people for medical appointments. Since her retirement, she believes that she has racked up even more mileage than she did when she worked in George Town.
There are days that she makes two trips into town because someone needs to go to the doctor for an early appointment while someone else has physiotherapy later that afternoon.
She regularly picks up her ‘grandchildren’ from school. In taking them to their extracurricular activities, she often waits for them and later drives them home. Previously, she assisted mothers returning to work by caring for newborns until the youngsters were old enough to attend school. A natural-born teacher, Ms Douglas taught them colours, the alphabet, shapes and numbers. This free instruction, she believes, gave them a good foundation before they started formal schooling.
For one family in particular, when it was time to choose a pre-school, Ms Douglas visited pre-schools with the parents, giving them input on which one she liked best. Given her superlative support, it is not surprising that many of her former charges now call her ‘Grammie’ or simply ‘Lou Lou’.
Being keen to lend a hand means that Ms Douglas makes hospital visits to cheer up fellow North Siders. Given her caring nature, she has also looked after many elderly people in other districts, ensuring they receive home-cooked meals and some company.
There are others in North Side who rely on her for trips into George Town for their groceries. She takes them to do their weekly shopping, as well as perhaps stopping along the way for lunch.
She is also the caretaker of North Side Church of God. This custodial job is important to her, as church holds a very special place in her heart. As a child, she attended Sunday services there, gaining a love of scripture, accompanied by her grandmother, Amy Ebanks, and her mother, Stella Olinell Smith (better known as Nell). Nowadays, as well as being a member of the congregation, Ms Douglas cleans the church ahead of the Sunday service, and opens it up for maintenance and repairs.
She is also the proud recipient of various awards. FirstCaribbean International Bank awarded her a plaque “in recognition of outstanding community service” in 2010. Two years later, she was presented with the Cayman Islands Medal of Merit Gold in acknowledgement for her rendering “outstanding and important services for the Cayman Islands”. Finally, in 2017, she received an Award of Recognition for Community Services from the Seventh-day Adventist Church.