Three Barbadian men who have made outstanding contributions to the society, but whose efforts have often gone unheralded, got recognition from the Rotary Club of Barbados West as it presented its annual awards for Vocational Excellence on Tuesday evening.
They were community worker, talk show host and founder of the Nature Fun Ranch, Corey Lane; disaster management specialist, Clive Lorde; and entrepreneur Reginald Medford of Medford’s Mahogany Creations.
Lane was recognized for his work with young people; Lorde for his work in the disaster management arena; and Medford for entrepreneurship.
Chairperson of the Vocational Awards Committee, Marcia Cyrus, said there were ten nominees from whom the winners were selected.
Lane, who at 35 years was the youngest of the awardees, started the Nature Fun Ranch in 1998 on an acre of land his grandmother owned, when, according to former Rotary Club president Kevin Williams, “he saw his friends and young people dropping out of school and getting into unsavoury practices and he thought he could help.
“He was also motivated by a debt he felt he owed to his mother who helped him all his life and kept him out of trouble.”
In giving his acceptance speech, Lane chided those he referred to as “armchair critics” who downplayed the recent spate of violence among schoolchildren by saying it was nothing new.
“When I started working with young people 20 years ago, I was not getting calls at three o’clock in the morning from young people who wanted to commit suicide, I was not hearing from teachers who had become alcoholics because they could not cope with the stresses in the school environment, and I was not hearing about six- and seven-year-olds abusing each other. When I get to meet the children who show up on those videos fighting, I see children who are hungry, children who have been abused, children who are lost, and we all have to do our part to help them,” he said.
Lorde began his career as a teacher before becoming a probation officer and, ultimately, the deputy head of what was then the Central Emergency Relief Organization. That work took him all across the Caribbean and elsewhere, as he offered his expertise in numerous natural disasters, including hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunami threats.
Lorde said he recently turned down two other awards, but was pleased to know that he had touched many lives with his knowledge.
“I was in Guyana some time ago and the head of that country’s disaster management agency introduced me to his mother-in-law, and told her I taught him everything he knew about disaster management and continued to teach him about it,” he recalled.
Lorde acknowledged his wife and other people around him for supporting him throughout his career.
Medford started his career as an artistic entrepreneur after leaving Harrison College and making the decision “not to go back to school, and to work for myself instead of a manager”.
His business began a year-and-a-half after leaving school, when he made use of the large number of coconut trees on his family’s property to create works of art. He eventually switched to mahogany, using trees that had been cut down because of disease, or branches which would otherwise have been discarded, to create bespoke customized works of art which can be seen all over the world, including South Africa where he created a piece for late former president Nelson Mandela.
Medford, the youngest recipient of the Barbados Centennial Awards in 2000, said he was pleased to receive the honour from the Rotary Club because of its humanitarian work.