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News Last Updated: Jan 20, 2021 - 10:00:45 AM


Justice and humanity were the top strengths of winners of the Character Day Bahamas 2020 Campaign
By Azaleta Ishmael-Newry
Jan 20, 2021 - 9:23:50 AM

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Around the world and at home, 2020 was a year filled with a stronger focus on humanity with a call for action for justice and making life better. We saw people advocating for social change and 15 months ago, coming together to assist with the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.  

Coincidentally, justice and humanity were the top character strengths of the winners of the fifth Character Day Bahamas Hidden Heroes 2020 campaign that wrapped up at year end. Organized by the PACE Foundation, they were proud to have 47 nominations for their first-ever public roll-out. It was inspirational to discover that the strong virtues possessed by the winners from various backgrounds were social responsibility (justice) and kindness and love (humanity) - important for many reasons.

These persons demonstrated their qualities through their actions, words and good deeds and are thought of as community builders and thought leaders. According to many published definitions, social responsibility is important to society and businesses and is a mindset for individuals and companies to act in the best interests of their environment and society as a whole. The world can always use more love and kindness which these nominees exhibited as well as strong environmental ethics and a passion for helping those around them which was evident through their volunteer work and interests.

The Character Day Bahamas 2020 winners had a diverse age range from students to retirees, who were from Andros, Abaco, Eleuthera and Grand Bahamas and New Providence. In the final selection, there were 10 Hidden Hero Champions, 6 Hidden Heroes, 11 Hidden Hero Honourable Mentions and 20 other Nominees. (Visit- www.characterdaybahamas.org for more information).
 
Character and strengths and their virtues:
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 What is good character? The Character Day Bahamas Hidden Hero Champions 2020 share their insight.

Character Day Hidden Hero Champions 2020 Winners from New Providence:  

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Character Day Hidden Hero Champions 2020 Winner from New Providence: Melania Nixon. Photo: PACE Foundation

Melania Nixon
Character traits: Social responsibility, kindness, love and perseverance.  

Melania is an 8th grade student at Lyford Cay International School who is a high achiever and was nominated for her strong impact at school, and in her community. She has a charity called Operation Love and Gratitude.    

Melania said, “Good character is positive, compassionate, and overall one that is filled with humility. This person is someone you can count on or go to for advice or for a shoulder to cry on. They are not perfect but rather can accept you for who you are.”

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Character Day Hidden Hero Champions 2020 Winner from New Providence: Logan Stubbs. Photo: PACE Foundation

Logan Stubbs

Character traits: Social responsibility, kindness, love and perseverance.

Logan, a 6th grade student at Xavier’s Lower School is on the principal’s list and a gold medal gymnast. Her charity called Helping Hands helps citizens and organizations in the communities and she had created a plastic free 2020 campaign PSA.

Logan spoke about the principles that were taught to her by her parents, “To be kind and giving and always strive for excellence – Good character means giving that helping hand to those in need and displaying Godly principles.”

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Character Day Hidden Hero Champions 2020 Winner from New Providence: Dr. Willard Barr. Photo: PACE Foundation

Dr Willard Barr

Character traits: Leadership, courage and optimism  

Dr. Barr is a retired educator and former District Superintendent of the Ministry of Education, a church leader and counsellor at the Grants Town Seventh Day Adventist Church Drug Rehabilitation Centre.  

Dr. Barr shares, “What motivates me to be who I am in the community in which I live – is the fact that I believe that I have a God-given responsibility to motivate the next generation who will propel this country to another level. I believe that good character is having integrity when nobody is watching.  I believe that these are enshrined in the 6 pillars of character. They are trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and how to become a good citizen.”
  
Character Day Hidden Hero Champions 2020 Winners from Andros:  

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Character Day Hidden Hero Champion 2020 Winners from Andros: Andra Andy Smith. Photo: PACE Foundation

Andra (Andy) Smith –  

Character traits: Social responsibility and leadership.  

Andra known as Andy is the son of famous Charles Smith of Andros who invented the fly fish lure. Andy and his wife own a fishing lodge in Andros and he is a philanthropist, environmentalist, and a Cacique Award recipient for his contribution to the bone fishing industry and tourism. He has agitated for marine-protection, he empowers youth and continues to build communities.  

Andy said that what motivates him to be who is: “Trying to walk in the footsteps of great men in my community who led by example. Good character means someone who just not speaks it but actually does it with integrity.”
 
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Hero Champion 2020 Winners from Andros: Stephen Smith. Photo: PACE Foundation

Stephen Smith

Character traits: Social responsibility and leadership.  

Stephen is a deputy park warden with the Bahamas National Trust (BNT), and a philanthropist and environmentalist who has contributed to the bone fishing industry, as well as to the development of youth culture and sports. He works to protect wildlife, the mangroves and the coastline. When not working at BNT, he is a sports fishing guide and volunteer for many causes.

Asked what motivates him, Stephen answered, “My pride - as a Bahamian and as an Androsian. A driving force behind me, is assisting and trying to build a better community, and an environment for younger generations to come, like our forefathers did. Having a good character basically means staying positive in everything you do.”

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Character Day Hidden Hero Champions 2020 Winners from Abaco: Da Blue Hole Restaurant Antonio Huyler (l) and David Thompson (r). Photo: PACE Foundation

Character Day Hidden Hero Champions 2020 Winners from Abaco:  

Owners of Da Blue Hole Restaurant: Antonio Huyler and David Thompson.

Character traits for both: Social responsibility, kindness, love and perseverance.  

Da Blue Hole Restaurant was destroyed by Hurricane Dorian and both Antonio and David who are professional chefs, philanthropist and volunteers, wanted to help restore the livelihood of their 30 staff members, also affected by Dorian. The employees were like family and were recognized as the backbone of their business. The Chefs created a Blue Hole Culinary Relief Tour, in and outside of The Bahamas to raise funds. It was said that “these men were shining examples of strength, bravery and selflessness in the face of adversity.”

Antonio said, “We love the community of Abaco.  It’s the relationships we build with our staff and our community. Hurricane Dorian was the most dramatic experience of my life and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.  I hope that this project shows our team exactly how we feel about them. We love our team. We love that the people who work with us, have helped make our dreams come true, and our visions come true.  We want them to know that we truly care.”  

David explains, “This was an opportunity to grow and showcase what they were capable of doing. Two young chefs coming together. It has tied the community together and offered them something they deserved. Traditionally, food is something that’s always brought people together. We sit down with family and friends and share experiences. Now more than ever, it’s important for us to come together and create some relief for this tragedy. It takes our individual efforts collectively.”

Character Day Hidden Hero Champions 2020 Winners from Eleuthera (South and Harbour Island):  
 
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Character Day Hidden Hero Champions 2020 Winner from Eleuthera: Earlyn Mills. Photo: PACE Foundation

Earlyn Mills  

Character traits: Social responsibility, kindness and teamwork.  

Earlyn is a math teacher, volunteer and environmentalist who helps with community programs with the local schools and charitable organizations.

When asked what motivates him to be who he is, he replied, “One motivation is my roots. My mom is a schoolteacher and she has always been vested in the community, the students and everything that she participated in - we were right there behind her. So I feel that it’s an intrinsic value that I developed over time and it’s just who I am. Good character means being thoughtful of the people around you and being kind.”

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Hero Champions 2020 Winner from Eleuthera: Jonathan Kelly. Photo: PACE Foundation

Jonathan Kelly

Character traits: Social responsibility, kindness and love.  

Jonathan is a music and physical education teacher, a volunteer fireman and an environmentalist. He is a member of organizations involving the environment and improving lives of others. It was said that he is always there to lend a helping hand and share his love of music and culture with the community.

On character, Jonathan shares, “I feel that a person with good character is a person who a small child can look up to. I feel that people, seeing what they do, seeing the sacrifices they make – keeps me going. The job that I work at – working with the children, no matter how bad it gets – no matter how bad the day is going, they always find some way to give me what I need to keep going – whether they realize it or not. They find a way to give me the push.”

Character Day Hidden Hero Champions 2020 Winner from Grand Bahama:  

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Character Day Hidden Hero Champions 2020 Winner from Grand Bahama: LaToy Williams. Photo: PACE Foundation

LaToy Williams

Character traits: Social responsibility and perseverance.  

LaToy is a teacher, guidance counsellor and Hurricane Dorian survivor. The person who nominated him said, “He never stops looking for new ways and initiatives that benefits all.” When COVID-19 changed the norm in education, he implemented an online job training and conducted online community service interviews for the graduates. He also trains his students for national sporting events.


LaToy refers to character stating, “Don Vito Corleone said – Great men are not born great – they grow great. The first time I heard that statement, it stuck with me. Good character means consistently showing certain traits as honesty, loyalty, courage, fortitude – among other characteristics. I love achieving those – coaching, mentoring the youth of our country. I love learning new things.  As well, I feel that knowledge is power. I like to see when a plan comes together. “

Character Day 2020 Hidden Heroes were:  

Ernesto Williams, Father Shabazzar Turnquest, Fredie Smith, Patrick Douglas, Renee ‘Empress’ Davies, and Tonya Storr-Bell.

Character day is an international event founded by Tiffany Shlain, Emmy-nominated filmmaker, and founder of The Webby Awards, at San Francisco-based Let it Ripple studio. The PACE Foundation, Bahamas AIDS Foundation & Lyford Cay Foundations FOCUS programme, have partnered to host Character Day in The Bahamas with funding from the Templeton World Charity Foundation, Inc. A character strength survey can be taken at www.viacharacter.org/survey/account/register.

Tags: #characterdaybahamas #champions #cultivatingcharacter
#bahamasnationbuilders #pacebahamas #templetonworldcharity

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