Eustace Warner by Garry Steckles A generation of Kittitians know him as the benevolent businessman whose Warner’s One-Stop on Bird Rock Road is a local landmark. But there’s a lot more to Eustace Warner than being a successful entrepreneur, as the heartfelt accolades and anecdotes that accompanied his recent 75th birthday celebrations proved. There were the stories about his community work. About his passion for ballroom dancing. About his poise and grace as a Defence Force drum major. About his love for family and friends. About his ready smile and infectious humour. The tributes were sincere, and the wide range of people sharing their memories and expressing their admiration for Eustace included many of St. Kitts’ most prominent citizens. A birthday message of congratulations from Prime Minister Timothy Harris paid particular tribute to Eustace’s tireless efforts to make the island a better place for all of its citizens. Stated Dr. Harris: “In 2012, Mr. Eustace Warner was awarded a Medal of Honour by the government of St. Kitts and Nevis in recognition of his outstanding contributions to community and national development. This was a fitting recognition of the work that Eustace has done all his life and his selfless dedication to improving the lives of others. “No task seemed daunting, whether seeking truce among violent gangs or bringing opposing political leaders together in peace and unity or spearheading an outreach programme to feed the poor and indigent. Eustace approached them all with the same sense of purpose and design.” Eustace’s sisters, Venetta and Lylith, were among a host of relatives and friends expressing their love and admiration for their brother, pointing to his accomplishments in the business world – particularly in Canada, where he lived from 1968 until returning home in 1992 – and the arts. “As a businessman, he’s carried titles like President, CEO, COO and VP Finance. He’s also talented as a musician: he plays the harmonica, the steel pan, the trumpet, the drums, not to mention he was one of the best drum majors in St. Kitts. He transformed swinging the mace into an art form and could have been mistaken for the Pied Piper since he had all the children and adults alike following him around. He’s also a great tenor (he actually sings in three choirs) and a phenomenal ballroom dancer …. we have even considered entering him in Dancing with the Stars! “Eustace, this is our opportunity to celebrate you on your 75th birthday and show appreciation for how you have enriched our lives with love, support and positivity. Three-quarters of a century, wow! You look wonderful and are blessed to be healthy. We are fortunate to have a yardstick, since mother just celebrated 102 and counting. You still have a lot of living to do.” The birthday celebrations concluded with a formal banquet at the Marriott Ballroom, where among those paying eloquent tributes to a man they clearly admired hugely were Sam Condor, Stanley Franks, Sir Hugh Rawlins, Ian ‘Patches’ Liburd and Burnell Nisbett. Many of them remarked on how youthful and energetic their old friend looked, to which Eustace, smiling broadly, responded simply “I feel great!” before leading off the ballroom dancing that ended a momentous and memorable evening. The other events in the week-long birthday celebrations were an open-air service at Leeward Cove, a day boat trip to Nevis, a night out at Sprat Net in Old Road, an island tour on the Scenic Railway and a “white party” dinner sail to Nevis on the Party Boat.