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News Last Updated: Oct 22, 2021 - 4:48:03 PM

Hidden Heroes 2021 Champions embrace humanity, courage and justice character virtues
By Azaleta Ishmael-Newry
Oct 22, 2021 - 11:05:20 AM

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2021 HIDDEN HERO WINNERS: The 2021 Hidden Hero winners consist of 8 adults from the education, healthcare, and law enforcement sectors and 3 youth who are making a difference. They hail from New Providence, Eleuthera, Moore’s Island, Abaco and Inagua.

Nassau, Bahamas - It started as a global conversation in 2014 with Character Day programs expanding to 125 countries and 50 States. Character Day Bahamas continues its excellent work through The PACE Foundation with the support of the Templeton World Charity Foundation Inc.

With Hurricane Dorian recovery efforts and COVID-19 still evident, humanity and character are continuedly tested. This year’s nominations focused on saluting hidden heroes like essential workers and volunteers. Program organizer Charlene Carey explains. “Last year was a challenging one for us all and our character was truly tested daily. Schools were virtual, people lost their jobs and others realized just how essential their jobs were. The hidden heroes in our country allowed us to get to where we are now.”

The 2021 theme ‘Be the reason that somebody feels welcomed, seen, heard, valued, loved and supported,’ was highlighted by a T-shirt design competition, followed by 2 workshops in August for educators, youth and guidance counsellors, and a Hidden Hero Campaign. October 20th has been earmarked for Character Day Bahamas programs throughout the archipelago.

There were 143 nominations for 50 persons, some receiving numerous entries with a nurse impressively obtaining 61. The selected individuals hailed from the islands of Andros, Cat Island, Eleuthera, Exuma, Grand Bahama, Inagua, Moore’s Island in Abaco and New Providence. There were 11 champions 11 finalists, 8 honourable mentions and 20 other nominees. The nominees demonstrated strong character by their actions, words, and behaviour.

The top strengths of the Hidden Heroes and Finalists were love, kindness, perseverance, and leadership.

Now in its 50th year, The PACE Foundation has a mission to empower teenagers to make good decisions. Sonia Brown, president of this non-profit likes the Character Day Bahamas program because it represents their work with teen mothers at the PACE School. “Character strengths are the positive pieces of an individual’s personality that helps make them who they are. Our program, as well as scientific research reveals that understanding, developing, and applying one’s strengths can help boost confidence, manage problems, strengthen relationships, reduce stress and accomplish goals.”


The 2021 Hidden Hero Champions consisted of 8 adults from the education, healthcare, law enforcement, and service sectors, and 3 youths who are making a difference. The Champions are from New Providence, Eleuthera, Moore’s Island, Abaco and Inagua.

Tracy Johnson


Tracey Johnson, age 9 is from New Providence, is a student at Kingsway Academy.
Character virtues and strengths:
Justice - Social Responsibility; Humanity - Love and Kindness.

Four years ago, with the help of her parents, Tracy formed Thoughtful Touches, a non-profit. Her programs utilize volunteers to clean beaches and parks, distribute food and masks, conduct a reading program and much more. She is considered a hero during the pandemic for the assistance given to families with parents who lost their jobs.

“I am motivated to be who I am in my community because I see community service as the greatest quality of a human being. Good character is having integrity, being honest, courageous, loyal, and having all the other important virtues that promote good behaviour,” said Tracey.

Shiaion Thompson

Shiaion Thompson Jr., age 11 is from New Providence, and he is a part of the Stephen Dillet K-Kids program.
Character virtues and strengths:
Courage - Bravery; Justice – Leadership; Humanity – Kindness

Shiaion Thompson Jr. and his family have endured major setbacks and
especially during the pandemic. His nominee said, “This young man never lets
his circumstances get in the way of doing the right things. He helps teachers,
janitresses, and all staff members without being told. He is a tech genius who
sets up any device that is needed to get our lessons done, and he takes care of the mango tree that the K-Kids planted which they have named, ‘Shii’ in his honour.”

“I am motivated to help people because God tells us to be our brother’s keeper.” Regarding good character, Shiaion explains. “Honesty means never telling a lie. Having good character means helping people. When we help people – nobody suffers. Having good character means integrity... doing the right thing when no one is watching; being brave... not being afraid of anything. I have good character – what about you?” asked Shiaion.

Darranique Stuart

Darranique Stuart, age 17 is from Moore’s Island, Abaco. She is a Student, YEP Leader and a 2020 Youth Parliamentarian.
Character virtues and strengths:
Justice – Leadership; Courage – Enthusiasm and Perseverance

Darranique’s home island had been struck hard by Hurricane Dorian and the pandemic. She became an advocate to bring attention the plight the residents faced, speaking on local news shows. Darranique set up a wholesale grocery service for the residents when grocery prices increased, making little return and  oftentimes none. She is also a junior mentor for YEP Bahamas, Young Parliamentarian (2020- 2021) and is considered a hero by her mother and many others.

“One thing that really inspires me in life is my Moore’s Island community,” said Darranique. “Without them, my activism would not have been possible and everything that I simply fight so hard for, would not have come true.”

On good character. “To begin with it means that you are an honest person...respectful... kind and... willing to go above and beyond; just to make sure that others surrounding you are fine and are okay.”

Abby Smith

Abby Smith, Art Teacher and Artist – New Providence
Character virtues and strengths:
Humanity – Love; Courage – Perseverance; Transcendence - Appreciation of Beauty

Abby Smith’s nominators speak of a teacher who cares, is there for her students and motivates them to excel. “She is the most kind, honest, and helpful person in and outside the classroom. She has helped me with my crippling anxiety and behavioral issues with her wise words and guidance,” said a nominator.

“My motivation is being who I needed when I was younger and applying that in my everyday life. And providing young people with a system of support... someone who they would feel comfortable coming to talk to. Wanting to express themselves in a way that they cannot express themselves to others.”

“Good character means always being the person you are regardless of who is around you and always maintaining integrity at all times. Understanding that even when you are challenged, you keep your cool and be respectful and passing that on and being an example for others to follow.”

Dezree Taylor

Dezree Taylor
, Teacher – New Providence
Character virtues and strengths:
Humanity – Kindness and Love; Courage - Perseverance

Teacher Dezree Taylor has been teaching for more than 20 years in the public system. She is described as an exceptional community leader, caring and hands-on. Before the pandemic, her students practiced financial literacy by opening a “bank” in the class. When the pandemic struck, funds saved by the students were available for parents in need. Ms. Taylor also developed a community project for inner-city kids in life skills, swimming, band and travel.

Dezree Taylor believes that character is treating others the way you want to be treated - with care, love, and integrity. “I believe that if we invest in our children, if we secure them, if we educate them, if we give them experience and exposure - I believe we can save our country and indeed our world. If we train up our children in the way they should go, when they get old, they will not depart from it,” she said.

Ruth Bastian

Ruth Bastian, Nurse – New Providence
Character virtues and strengths:
Courage – Bravery and Perseverance; Humanity – Love.

Nurse Ruth Bastian is a long-standing healthcare professional who is said to have always displayed a sense of dedication, compassion, and knowledge in the field of nursing and in particular, vaccinations. A nominator said, “Nurse Bastian certainly possesses the characteristics of a hidden hero. She goes above and beyond the call of duty to assist anyone that requires it.” Another said, “She has led by example being the first citizen to take the COVID-19 vaccine which was shown on national TV, and this helped ease worry for many.” Others stated, “She is a humble soul and has touched so many lives... she is indeed a trailblazer among her peers...She is a nurse by profession and a superhero by existence.”

 “One of my goals is to mentor my younger colleagues,” said Nurse Bastian. “After working 40 years in nursing, I really do try to ensure that they maintain a high standard... I encourage them to continue, and especially during this time when we are challenged by the COVID pandemic... to encourage our community to ensure that we protect ourselves, to continue with the protocols that are in place and to encourage people to be vaccinated for us to get out of this pandemic that we are in.”

Gandhi Frazier

Gandhi Frazier, Nurse Technician/Patient Care Assistant - New Providence Character virtues and strengths:
Courage – Perseverance; Humanity – Kindness; Transcendence – Optimism.

Gandhi Frazier is said to be a hero for volunteering to be a part of the COVID- 19 team and consistent devotion to his job. He takes care of COVID-19 patients with care, managing their lives, and not worrying about his own. A fire broke out at his work, and he protected his patients and the employees with his quick thinking. He takes care of the gardens, has planted trees and cuts the grass which is said to make a good first impression for visitors to the facility. Another nominator said that Frazier’s compassion and care made a good impression on her while another said that he has worked hard in a female dominated sector and has risen to become a nurse technician.

Gandhi Frazier said that he is motivated to make a difference in people’s lives and (to) being an inspiration and helping people in his community. “Good character is someone you can trust and is respected... a leader...is brave enough to take charge and stand up (for) justice. Someone who is willing to listen to other’s concerns and lead them in the right direction. Someone who is a good team player, motivates people and makes them become a better version of themselves,” he said.

Idena Flowers

Idena Flowers, Nurse – Princess Margaret Hospital. New Providence Character virtues and strengths:
Humanity – Love and Kindness; Transcendence - Spirituality

"When times are tough, when something bad happens, we rely on these people
to help us, to get through difficult times," said one of Nurse Idena Flowers’ nominators. Nurse Flowers created a positive communication and prayer
program for her patients – lending her personal phone to those who may have
needed access to their families and starting a prayer group. Some prayer
requests were for faith, peace of mind, and guidance for those on the gynaecology ward.

Nurse Idena Flowers said, “When I think of good character, the word “consistent” immediately comes to mind. To me, good character is being committed to a set of standards. And being true in your words, thoughts, deeds and actions consistently.”
Arreneth Bain

Arreneth Bain, Laundry Superintendent – New Providence
Character virtues and strengths:
Justice – Teamwork; Courage – Perseverance; Temperance – Humility.

Arreneth Bain was considered a hidden hero by her daughter. “As supervisor of
the laundry department at Sandilands Rehabilitation Center, she works side by
side with her staff to cover for those who were ill or on vacation or she works on
the weekends without extra pay. She is a shining example of tenacity and
humility due to the fact that within the space of 5 months (December 2020 - April 2021), she has had to bury two sisters and her only son; yet every day she got dressed, went to work and led her team. She not only guides them about the expectations required of them as employees but also their responsibility as citizens of this planet. She's empathetic, humble, humorous, hardworking, and determined. I'm proud of her and I'm proud to say she's a hero!”

“My motivation comes from having a will and tenacity to persevere despite challenges and setbacks that I have encountered and endured in my lifetime. The spirit of not giving up but to remain focused on my dreams and aspirations, all for the betterment of myself, my family, and my community. Having that urge to influence others in a positive way... where we can serve each other and live in peace.”

“Good character speaks of an individual who is kind, humble, dependable, trustworthy, one who has integrity and one who is resilient in whatever they do,” she said.
Patty Fawkes

Patty Fawkes, Senior Nursing Officer – Inagua
 Character virtues and strengths:
Temperance – Humility; Humanity – Kindness and Love.

Nurse Patty Fawkes has been called “A pillar of strength to her community, a sweet, kindhearted, and a humble person. She goes above and beyond for the community of Inagua and always shows acts of random kindness. She is always willing no matter the day or time she’s there... She is our nurse and hero and loved by the community.”

“There are a number of things that motivate me. One of them is just seeing someone in need or having to help them. If it’s in my power, I help them... When I have persons around me who are willing to learn and are interested in our area of work, I try to make that person better in their skills.”

Regarding good character, “I am someone who believes in being the best they can be in their life. Giving of yourself. Once you (do that), it all falls into place. You’re not a one-man band and we do need each other.”

Renaldo Brown

Renaldo Brown, Police Officer – Eleuthera
Character virtues and strengths:
Justice – Leadership and Social Responsibility; Temperance – Humility.  

Police Constable 1311, Renaldo Brown has been called an officer and a gentleman who is a civic-minded person with a heart of gold, and one who wears his love for his community on his sleeves. He continues to endear himself to the people of Deep Creek and South Eleuthera through his firm handling of his law enforcement duties and his unselfish community involvement. He is involved in many programs like Neighbourhood Watch, youth programs, assisting the P.E. program at a high school, and he has a good rapport with parents, youth, and community members. He has served as a mascot for the Kiwanis Club of South Eleuthera, and he is a member of Toastmasters.

“I have devoted my life to the service of my fellow men. I believe that character comes from within. It is striving daily to be the best you can be by respecting all persons. It is someone who is their brother’s keeper and willing to put others before yourself. The current times requires us all, to live by the golden rule. Each day is another opportunity to make a difference. To serve our communities and restore the love of humanity. I continue to be motivated daily by the love of God, family, and country. It is a joy to be a role model. And to know in some small way, that I have made a positive impact in the lives of others. And to help develop and pave the way for a better future.”

New Providence –
Education: Gayle Barrow-Farrington; Tremeco O. Higgs. HealthCare: CynetteNewbold;BahamasEmergencyMedicalServices;
Pemesia Rolle and Philip Duncombe. Service/Volunteer: Christine King- Wallen.
Grand Bahama –
HealthCare: MelleahPetty Service/Volunteer: Darren Cooper
Exuma –
Volunteer: Mary Sweetnam
Eleuthera –
Education: Savannah Cambridge
More detailed information on the Hidden Hero Champions, Finalists and Nominees of Character Day Bahamas is available at www.characterdaybahamas.org
PACE (Providing Access to Continued Education) Foundation is a non-profit that supports the work of the PACE program, a special school for teenage mothers. They firmly believe that everyone deserves a second chance and have had the privilege of giving second chances to teenage mothers for the past fifty years.

Photos – Character Day Bahamas

Tags: #characterdaybahamas #champions #cultivatingcharacter #bahamasnationbuilders #pacebahamas #templetonworldcharity
The VIA Institute on Character published ‘The VIA Classification of 24 Character and Virtues’ that have been adopted by Character Day Bahamas. There are 6 virtues – Wisdom, Courage, Humanity, Justice, Temperance and Transcendence that have character strengths attributed to them. Graphic courtesy of www.viacharacter.org

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