They are recognized for their meaningful contributions to the nation, leaders reported.
Published on: 11-18-2023
On a day dedicated to honoring heroism and selfless service, 205 extraordinary Jamaicans, including eight devoted Seventh-day Adventists from the East Jamaica Conference (EJC) and Northern Caribbean University (NCU), were recognized for exemplary service and gallantry during the National Honors and Awards Presentation and Investiture Ceremony at King’s House, St. Andrew, on October 16.
Leaders from both EJC and NCU, along with church and family supporters, gathered to witness as Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen bestowed awards in various categories including medicine, education, and gallantry.
Edwin Tulloch-Reid, a member of the Andrews Memorial Adventist Church, received an Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander for service in the field of medicine, specializing in cardiovascular disease. Tulloch-Reid, a renowned cardiologist, views health as a state of complete physical, mental, social, and spiritual well-being and is a strong advocate for promoting a healthy lifestyle.
Keith Nugent, a devoted first elder at the Andrews Memorial Adventist Church, stood out as a true hero, receiving a Badge of Honor for Gallantry for his exceptional act of bravery in 2022.
On April 8, 2022, in a moment of crisis, Nugent joined another, Ruel Grant, risking his life to save four women from a burning motor vehicle that exploded minutes later.
Both men, who were strangers at the time and traveling separately, came upon the overturned vehicle that had trapped five women inside. The experience and the images have lingered with Nugent as he recalls working tirelessly, returning time after time, determined to pull each woman from the burning vehicle. Regrettably, despite their valiant efforts, one woman remained trapped and died. His faith-inspired courage and selflessness were celebrated on Heroes Day as both men stepped up to be awarded on the red carpet.
“For me, the act of helping someone is very much intertwined with my Christian beliefs and in those moments where you have to make a split-second decision about helping or not helping, it comes down to who you are,” said Nugent, who was traveling with his wife and a relative to a funeral at the time of the accident. “To a large extent that is determined by your belief system and your personality, the rational side of the mind versus the emotional side struggles to make that ultimate decision.”
Nugent said he was encouraged and humbled by the recognition. “While we do not do good to be recognized, it certainly does buoy one’s spirit up to have the government and your peers recognizing your actions,” he said.
Education and Community Service
Three of the eight Adventists awarded received a Badge of Honor for Meritorious Service.
Clad in her Pathfinder regalia, Beulett Carol Hunter stepped forward to receive a Badge of Honor for Meritorious Service to education and uniformed youth groups in schools and communities. For more than four decades Hunter, from the Pembroke Hall Adventist Church, worked in youth development and education, serving the EJC and Jamaica Union youth in various roles and representing the ministry locally and internationally.
Though she has taught and lectured in at least six schools and has served as senior education officer in tertiary supervision at the Ministry of Education, her heart lies in church ministry.
“When you think of the work of youth ministries, it pales in comparison to education. Being in youth ministries and being an advocate for Pathfindering in schools and communities, I feel very honored,” Hunter said after the ceremony. “Salvation and service is the philosophy of youth ministries and the philosophy of my life.”
Claudette Genas, who serves as women’s, children, and adolescent ministries director of the EJC and a member of the North Street Adventist Church, was also honored for commendable community service through the EJC.
Having received a Badge of Honor for Meritorious Service, she is motivated and determined to do more.
“Never mind what others do; do better than yourself,” Genas said. “I work as a secret service Christian to beat my own record from day to day, to give to mission. And I feel the push from a band of people praying me up.”
Genas also served in the area of education as principal of Kingsway High and Preparatory School until 2010, when she accepted the call to serve the EJC constituency.
EJC president Meric Walker, Dane Fletcher, and Joel Jumpp — the latter two youth ministries directors at the Jamaica Union and the EJC, respectively — attended to show their support.
Recognition in the field of education and academia also included Marilyn Anderson, Winnie Berry, Collin Lyons, and Paulette Lisanne Stewart.
Lyons received a Badge of Honor for 45 years of service to education and community service. He said his profession is a fulfilling one.
“The experience has been rewarding and fulfilling when you see persons you have taught excel and do well around the world,” Lyons said. “Receiving this award is exciting and humbling at the same time when one thinks that as you perform over the years there are persons who are watching. It is humbling to know that while you are working, you are just trying to do the best you can do with no consideration of this kind of reward … but here comes an award that you were not looking for.”