Five young trailblazing humanitarians were officially recognised yesterday for putting service above self.
They were presented with Halo Hero Humanitarian Awards at a special ceremony at Government House for the annual Governor General’s awards.
And while this year’s recipients were as diverse as the work they were commended for, one thing they all have in common is altruistic devotion to their country and its people.
Florida State University science graduate Kaynas Phillips, 21, has devoted much of her time to tutoring youngsters both at home and in the US. She is now set to go to medical school.
As PRO for the Halo Foundation umbrella organisation, and senior assistant to Lady Sandra Williams, Cuthbert Forbes has played a key role in everything from organising charity fundraisers to events aimed at raising awareness of suicide and depression among young people.
Michael Joseph began his humanitarian work more than two decades ago at the age of nine. He has held leading positions with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. A pharmacist by profession, he now runs his own pharmaceutical business.
Brent Scotland has served as president of the Halo Foundation Generation Y organisation for youths since 2015 and has worked assiduously to relieve hunger and reduce inequality. He is currently studying for a graduate diploma of law.
The fifth awardee was Asha Graham, an up and coming writer among other accomplishments. She is out of the country and could not attend the ceremony.
Governor General Sir Rodney Williams praised all five for their outstanding contributions which he said had made a difference to the lives of the nation’s people.
Recipients are identified each year based on “acts of bravery or kindness” in their community or school, he explained.
“These young people are blazing the trail and providing leadership in the area of humanitarian service. As more mature adults, we have a duty to encourage them on their path to help others,” Sir Rodney told those assembled.
Two posthumous awards at the highest rank also formed part of this year’s event.
A Faithful and Meritorious Service Cross was bestowed on the ‘Grand Dame of Poetry’ Mary Quinn. It was presented to her son, Observer Radio host Paul Quinn, on her behalf. The late Mrs Quinn was a much-loved teacher, poet, author and playwright. Her daughter Lydia Quinn was also in attendance.
A Service Cross was also presented a few days ago to Scott Yeager in tribute to his father George Yeager, a former homeowner at the Mill Reef Club, for what was described as his “quiet yet generous” philanthropic service to Antigua and Barbuda.