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Unsung heroes of St. Joseph

The St. Joseph Parish Independence Committee recently honoured eight unsung heroes for their contribution to communities in a range of areas, including education and fishing, during a ceremony held at Grantley Adams Memorial School.

Chairperson of the Committee, Edwin Greene told Barbados TODAY that a panel of four people, including himself, choose the awardees from the 47 nominations received.

The criteria included the fact that the nominee had to make an impact on a person’s life and they could not have been the recipients of any other awards.

The name of the St. Joseph Parish Project this year is The A – Z of Josephine legacies — Crafting and Budding Our Communities.

We take a look at the awardees:

• Eleanor Elize Holder has given much to agriculture, and it is a path the 73-year-old has no regrets walking.

Born on January 30, 1939, the Orange Grove resident played a major role in the reaping of sugar cane, working as a cane cutter and cane loader. She started her career at the age of 14 as a labourer at Easy Hall Plantation.

From very early, her dedication and commitment to hard work was evident and for this, she was awarded the Queen of the Crop designated by the National Cultural Foundation. Ever a hard worker, Holder managed to place second on three subsequent occasions, creating a sense of pride among fellow residents in St. Joseph.

Possessing a strong love for the soil she still tends a small kitchen garden and is often assisted by her daughter Janice.

As a single parent, she loved being a homemaker and, despite having to work seven days a week during the crop season, she raised three girls and six boys of her own.

The devout member of the Venture Seventh Day Adventist Church, she acknowledged that her achievements could not be realised without her strong faith in God.

Reminiscing about her childhood, Holder said that “everybody was everybody’s keeper and life was good”. Today, her advice to the youth is to respect themselves and to work honestly while maintaining respect for others as they set about achieving their goals.

• Malachi Ephraim Holdipp might appear to many as a quiet, unassuming St. Joseph resident. However, behind that quiet exterior is a jack-of-all trade who uses his God-given talent to the benefit of anyone in the parish who may be in the need of assistance.

In recognising his selflessness, his award is for his unwavering hours of community service, for which he spent many hours doing painting, plumbing repairs, or something as simple as changing a light bulb.

He is always Malachi there to help.

It has been said that he is very hard to track by phone because he is always out in the community, helping one person or the other with any tasks they are unable to do for themselves. More importantly, he does these things without asking for or expecting any payment.

Born on January 16, 1946 the Hillswick resident, is considered a handy-man but he possesses other skills which are sought by residents and business places in St. Joseph. Although not formally trained in art, his artistic skills can be found dotting the landscape of St. Joseph.

Malachi proudly acknowledges that he is good any kind of commercial art and his painting includes Tee shirts, billboards and signs for local businesses such as Sea-U Guest House and Round House Inn.

He is also known for his photography, another skill he has used to the benefit of many residents, capturing weddings and other special occasions. Malachi believes that if he can help someone in a meaningful way, then he is satisfied to know that he has contributed to their happiness. An avid reader, Malachi reads the newspaper and his Bible daily.

• Frederick DaCosta Clarke has been dedicated to the field of agriculture from the time he was a boy.

The Orange Grove resident who was born on March 19, 1916, started working at the Drummond Great House which was connected to the Buckden Plantation during summer holidays when school was in recess.

A firm believer in the Bible, Clarke asserts that the first commandment God gave to Adam was to till the land. Despite his enjoyment from working in the field of agriculture, he confessed that he would have loved to be a lawyer or a doctor. However, he did not have enough money in those days.

His commitment to agriculture took him as far as North Carolina and Florida during the 1940s when he worked felling trees and using a “parker pen”, (a hoe to weed).

Even at age 96, Uncle Fred, as he is more popularly known, takes to his gardening from as early as 5 a.m. Whether it be cabbage or beans or a variety of herbs, his gardens are always immaculate with hardly a weed to be found among his prized vegetables. When asked about his daily routine, he confessed that he sometimes rose as early as 4 in the morning to get his tea and after working the garden until about 10:30 he would then return inside for his lunch.

A very giving man, Uncle Fred is known by his neighbours and church members for his generosity as he shares whatever he grows with them.

With a strong faith in God, Uncle Fred was confirmed at the St. Joseph Parish Church in 1950. Although he was always of the Anglican faith, he attended Sunday school at the Moravian Church on Sunday evenings. Uncle Fred and his friend still meet on Sundays to discuss the Bible.

Describing himself jokingly as a walking dictionary, he still enjoys reading the newspaper and other forms of literature. Among his past- times was wine making, and he is known for his very potent ginger wine.

He remains devoted to the teachings of the Bible but laments that “today, man talks about God but does not follow his institutions”.


• Victor Leroy Morris of Joe’s River is being saluted for his level of community service.

The security guard at the Barbados Community College, where he has been employed for more than 30 years, was born on October 20, 1948 and recalled growing up as a poor lad and seeing others help his mother with basic needs such as food and clothing. He therefore sees this as a way of not only saying thank you but also as a way of giving back to the community and to those less fortunate.

He is well-known by residents of St. Joseph for his daily assistance to his Josephine brothers, sisters, grandmothers or uncles. In fact, anyone who Victor perceives needs a helping hand, he is there to offer assistance to.

His work in the community not only involves visiting the sick at home and in hospital but also running errands for those who cannot help themselves. He can often be heard on the radio extending birthday and anniversary greetings to all and sundry in St. Joseph.

The primary schools in the parish are also recipients of Victor’s generosity and kindness as each year he makes a tangible donation to their graduation ceremonies.

Through his actions of giving and sharing in the parish, Victor notes that though he is not rich financially, he is “happy with no strings attached” when he is able to give to others.

He is an active member of the Adventist faith and was appointed as Deacon many years ago with the responsibility of assisting with the overall running of the church.

Being a very humble person, he does not believe in getting to the mountain because of what he has done or continues to do. He however wishes that the act of giving and sharing in days gone by could be revived in the lives of persons today.

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