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Community : Grand Bahama Last Updated: Feb 13, 2017 - 1:45:37 AM

Operation Thank You marched on in Grand Bahama despite weather
By Sarah Kirkby
Dec 19, 2016 - 9:19:37 AM

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Proving Nothing stops Grand Bahamians

Photo: Derek Carroll.

Freeport, Bahamas - Grand Bahama’s Operation Thank you marched proudly on over the weekend despite overcast and windy skies in the Hurricane effected island. With over 600 children, bands, volunteers and Utility trucks the Grand Parade started the thank you event, and was the highlight of the day.

The event was organized to officially say thank you to ZNS 810AM, Grand Bahama Power Company, the Grand Bahama Utility Company, Batelco, Cable Bahamas, and the outstanding Sanitation Services Co. Ltd. Former MP for West End and Bimini and well-known personality, David Wallace, was the creative idea behind this event along with a twenty plus volunteer committee. “I thought that the community came out in force, especially the children from the schools and the volunteer organizations. I was heartened to see the exceptional school join us as well,” said Wallace who also donated his latest project, Pirates Cove Waterpark site, as the free venue for the event.

Photo: Derek Carroll.

“I also loved seeing the utility companies join with the Legend and Pioneers marching bands, moving their cranes up and down and honking horns. So many stopped to yell thank you or clap as the workers went by – it was fantastic!”

Wallace who also recruited well-known educator Cecil Thompson as his co-chair noted that Mr. Thompson and his committee worked extremely fast to make the event happen in 3 weeks. “We had no funding and everything was donated for the event,” expressed Wallace. “Barefoot designed our artwork, local industrials printed our fliers, The Punch ran our ads, 242newsbahams emailed the country and Nesbitt Rentals provided chairs. A huge thank you to Juice of Meacel Sounds and his team who donated their wonderful stage, Clint Gilbert of NTS Productions, who provided the sound for show.

The Co-chairs also extended thanks to the GB Christian Council who marshaled the churches to both perform and attend and noted that the Chamber of Commerce, Ministry of Grand Bahama along with the Grand Bahama Port Authority lent their support and efforts to the cause. “I want to especially thank ZNS 810Am who not only broadcast our event live for two hours,” said Thompson. “They also promoted our event on the evening news but also hosted us for a full week on their morning show.” Special thanks were also extended to Love 97, Mix 102 and Kiss FM who gave free airtime and radio spot play.

Thompson noted that the national coverage of their event made a huge impact to a cross section of Bahamans, including many out islands that expressed their surprise on how Grand Bahama has recovered so quickly and then took the time to give thanks. “I have former Administrators from islands all over The Bahamas so thrilled to see our positive message going out to everyone,” Thompson noted. “It was a pleasure to work with such a positive committee who shared the work load to us get this done – it was an awesome experience for me personally as well.”

Photo: Derek Carroll.

Though the weather ended the event early the committee and organizers were thrilled with the turnout of so many to the event. The official opening ceremony, the children’s segment as well as the praise and worship section was all completed before the rains came. “We did not get to finish our show, we would have loved to complete the gospel concert and the Junkanoo parade but doe to the inclement weather we had to end early” said Wallace. “We did feel the message of thanks was delivered with more to come.”

The Committee will now send personal thank you letters to all the foreign workers who travelled to help the restoration and invite them back to the island. “We want them to come back and see what they saved,” said Sarah Kirkby, OTY Committee Member. “We will be asking local hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions to offer discounts for returning workers and their families. We want them to come back and see our island back in all its beauty!”

The team will also be looking to create a permanent monument as a thank you to everyone who helped Grand Bahama. Kirkby and Grant will continue to work on a possible idea Cecil Thompson suggested, to create a community park using recycled utility poles and other items for Freeport. As well as utilizing metal roof sheets to create a unique, artistic monument to remember the wrath of Hurricane Mathew and the names of those who restored the island back to normal.

“It is a long term goal but something we feel should commemorate how Grand Bahamians survive through these storms,” said Wendell Grant, OTY Committee member. “What made me happy was that Sunday we taught our kids to say thank you! I’ve grown up here, I love it here and we know and must continue to teach our children that we will get up, clean up and say Thank you!”

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Photo: Derek Carroll.

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