Outstanding community member honoured

| 22/05/2010

(CNS): Vernecia Watler was recognised for her kindness to children when she became the 2010 Child Month Award recipient. The Carol Ann Patricia Williams-Campbell Award named for an exemplary foster parent who passed away, is presented to a member of the community who has contributed to the welfare and development of children. Wattler’s award was received in her absence by her son, Olivaire Watler, at the recent Child Month church service at Savannah United Church. In a later interview with government Information Services, she said, “I have always loved children; I started out babysitting neighbourhood children and later began helping the smaller children with their homework."

She said, "I firmly believe that as members of the community, we must continue to take seriously the role of shaping young hearts and minds into the well-rounded adults of tomorrow. I feel very blessed to serve the young people of the Cayman Islands, and I am humbled by this honour.”

Minister of Community Affairs and Housing Mike Adam congratulated “Miss Vernecia”, noting her community spirit and selfless service over the years. He said the country owed her a debt of gratitude for her contribution.

Department of Children and Family Services Director Deanna Look Loy also congratulated her, calling the honour “well deserved.” “Miss Vernecia has the community and children at heart. She is always actively working to better their lives,” Look Loy said.

Known as one of the signatories who petitioned the government for the right to vote, Watler has served the community in various capacities for more than five decades. In Scouting, for example, she has served the East End Cub Scout Pack for many years. She was a member of the Scout Association Executive Committee, and also led the Cayman Islands contingent in the first Caribbean Cuboree, held in St. Lucia in 1995. Among her many Scouting awards is the Silver Crocodile, the association’s highest.

Watler is a Justice of the Peace, and a life member of the National Trust. She also holds a Cayman Islands Certificate and Badge of Honour, is the recipientof the Melvin Jones Fellowship Award from the Lions Club of Grand Cayman, and an award from Rotary Sunrise. A member of the Gun Bay United Church, she has served in several capacities in the Women’s Fellowship, including President for Gun Bay, Island Council President for all the local United Churches, and President General for Jamaica and Grand Cayman. She has also taught elementary and Sunday schools and has received many church awards. Her name is also etched in the Wall of Honour in Heroes Square.

Child Month Committee Chairperson Cassandra Parchment said Watler was named from among an exemplary group of nominees. The selection was done based on several criteria, including volunteerism for more than three years in support of children and their issues.

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