By Kadeem Joseph
Dr Edda Hadeed and veteran musician Lester Jonas were among awardees honoured by Governor General Sir Rodney Williams for their distinguished service to the country.
Dr Hadeed, who was awarded for her work in medicine, specifically with patients living with sickle cell disease, expressed her gratitude for the recognition.
“What it says is what you are doing is necessary, it acknowledges the cause, that sickle cell disease needs our support,” she said, adding that supporting patients with the disease requires a team effort and will require additional support if patients are to live improved lives.
Dr Hadeed is the President of the Antigua and Barbuda Sickle Cell Association and has led several new initiatives including a workshop for patients in need of a means to support themselves, and to remain occupied through the production of handmade crafts.
Jonas was honoured for his 53 years of work in the field of music, and he explained that he was not only accepting on his own behalf, but also in honour of two influential family members who have worked in the field without recognition.
“I accept this award in honour of my father, George Jonas, and my [Salvation Army] band master, who is also my uncle, Alfred Lewis. They have served for a lot more years than I have, and I don’t know that they ever received any award for their service,” Jonas said.
He said that while he understands that his work is not for an “earthly reward,” but one in heaven, it is “very nice” to be recognised for one’s service.
During the ceremony at Government House on Thursday, Rupert Edwards, Nick Hadeed, George Jonas Jr, and Ludwig Reynolds also received awards for ‘Faithful and Meritorious Service’ to the country in various fields.
Meanwhile, four individuals were also awarded with the Halo Humanitarian Award; among them was youth parliamentarian, Esquire Henry.
Henry is encouraging all to do their part to help others in whatever way possible.
“I would encourage everyone in any shape or form, or any way you can, even if it’s giving a dollar to someone who asks you, try it,” he said. “There is a joy you will feel in your heart looking back at it… the little that you do will go a long way.”
The other three awardees were Kristine Louisa, Rheikecia Manning and Tashawn Thomas.