Since 2003, FirstCaribbean International Bank has honored Unsung Heroes By providing awards to selfless individuals who best exemplify the spirit of volunteerism in the Caribbean. In addition to a regional prize, awards are also given to local heroes in each of the 17 territories serviced By the bank. Each country finalist receives US$6,000, and the Regional Unsung Hero, selected from among the country finalists, wins a prize of US$7,500. The two regional runners-up receive US$5,000 as a donation to the their cause. The Federation has never had a regional winner or runner-up. Individuals from the Central American country of Belize and the Windward Island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines have won the top award three times so far. In the seven years that the award has been given, the only other country to take the top honor is the Bahamas in 2003. At the 2010 Unsung Heroes launch, held at the Ocean Terrace Inn on Monday, April 26, St. Kitts and Nevis Country Manager Peter Edmunds encouraged local participation through submission of entries before the June 30 deadline. “Our Unsung Heroes are people recommended By you, the members of our communities,” he said. “The bank does not select anyone. … Over the coming months you will see ads in the newspapers, informing of this project and inviting nominations from the public. We encourage all to nominate their Unsung Heros.” Edmunds informed that nomination forms would be available at all FirstCaribbean branches, as well as on the bank’s Web site at: Country awardees will be announced in October; Regional Heroes in November. After acknowledging the individuals who have won awards prior to this year, Edmunds outlined the importance their importance to the locales where they reside. “This 2010 FirstCaribbean Unsung Heroes programme will again seek out and acknowledge those persons in our communities who go about their community work without consideration for reward or acclaim,” he said. “These individuals play an invaluable role in improving their communities. We all know them. They exist in almost every community, from small fishing villages to our larger nation’s capitals. They come from all walks of life, and are recognized as community builders and enablers.” Gerard Pereira, the programme Country Coordinator, outlined the eligibility requirements for the award, as follows: · Must be an individual dedicated beyond the ordinary towards social improvement · Must be a Caribbean person · No / low media profile · The espoused cause could benefit from exposure · Strong linkage with FirstCaribbean’s theme of “Enriching Our Communities. Together” · Willing to participate in a public relations programme Among those excluded from receiving the award are individuals with high media profiles, such as politicians or other well-known personalities. Pereira explained that on the local level, committees comprised of FirstCaribbean representatives and community leaders would select country finalists. In St. Kitts and Nevis, the 2010 selection committee members are: Mr. Nigel Browne, Ms. Karen Morton, Ms. Clarice Cotton, Ms. Rita Cable, and Mr. Chris Martin. Browne is the country’s 2009 Unsung Hero, selected for his tireless work with young people through his work to establish the Youth Impact Ministries in 1998, helping to raise awareness about important issues such as HIV/AIDS, and visiting young men in prison on a regular basis, among other noteworthy deeds. The regional Unsung Hero and the two runner-ups are chosen By a judging panel led By prominent regional personalities, such as Sir Shridath Ramphal, Sir George Alleyne, and Sir Neville Nicholls. The previous winners and runners-up for the award are listed below, By year: 2009 Regional Unsung Hero – Mr. John Roache, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Runner Up – Ms. Cynthia Stephenson, Dominica Runner Up – Mr. Milton McLean, British Virgin Islands 2008 Regional Unsung Hero – Ms. Veolant Cupid, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Runner Up – Mr. Thomas Watts, Barbados Runner Up – Patsy Thomas, Dominica Special Commendation – Ms. Gwendolyn “Auntie Gwen” Chambers, Antigua and Barbuda 2007 Regional Unsung Heroes – Lyndon & Lavern Bailey, Belize Runner Up – Ms. Rose Mary Compton, St. Lucia Runner Up – Ms. Yolande Stewart, St. Vincent and the Grenadines 2006 Regional Unsung Hero – Mrs. Jestina Charles, St. Vincent & The Grenadines Runner Up – Ms. Laura Collymore, St. Lucia Runner Up – Mr. Marvin Finlayson, The Bahamas Special Commendation – Mr. Fabian Mitchell, Jamaica 2005 Regional Unsung Hero – Ms. Gloria Edwards, Belize Runner Up – Ms. Cynthia Stanko, The Bahamas Runner Up – Ms. Mavis Williams, The Cayman Islands 2004 Regional Unsung Hero – Nurse Margaret Juan, Belize Runner Up – Mr. William Shagoury, Jamaica Runner Up – Ms. Lucy Miguel, St. Vincent and the Grenadines 2003 Regional Unsung Hero – Ms. Rosa Mae Bain, The Bahamas Runner Up – Mr. Rudolph Chesterfield Smith, Barbados Runner Up – Ms. Regina Faustin, St. Lucia