Four Caymanians ages 65+ have been chosen by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to represent the observance throughout October, as ambassadors during Older Persons Month.
“The four older persons were selected because of their outstanding community service track records,” said DCFS Director Paulinda Mendoza Williams.
“We look forward to them taking an active part in the observance. This is a platform for them to encourage others to do what they can to help elderly persons in their own communities.”
Mr. John E. Ebanks, Mrs. Beulah McField, Mr. McFarlane Conolly and Mrs. Idalee Scott were formally announced at the International Day of Older Persons Garden Party on Tuesday, 1 October, which officially launched this year’s Older Persons Month.
John E. Ebanks
Mr. Ebanks’ motto is “Do a good deed each day, and you will see what a difference it makes in someone else’s life.”
In 1969 he went to work with the section of the old Public Works Department (PWD), now known as National Roads Authority (NRA), as a truck driver and worked his way up through the ranks to become an asphalt plant operator. He then became supervisor of the roads construction with more than 100 men under his leadership. Mr. Ebanks also served as superintendent of roads construction and as an inspector.
He retired after 41 years of service and was given a five-year contract as a troubleshooter followed by another for a further 18 months.
Being a self-confessed people person, he was inducted into the Lions Club of Grand Cayman in 1973, and worked his way up to club president, district zone chairperson, regional chairperson, district governor, and district council chairperson (the highest rank at district level).
To this day, Mr. Ebanks carries on his work serving the less fortunate through the Lions Club of Grand Cayman. He is also a member of the Caymanian Status & Permanent Residency Board. For 42 years, Mr. Ebanks shopped overseas for the Christmas Day give-a-way to the elderly and shut-ins all over the island. He also organised the “All Island Kids Christmas Party”, held annually at the Lions Centre for 300-350 kids.
Mr. Ebanks feeds the residents at the Pines Retirement Home two or three times a year. He also collects donated goods from Kirk’s Supermarket, for the Lions Food Pantry storage, delivering food packages to the less fortunate elderly each month.
Additionally, he assists deserving seniors by building/remodelling homes, constructing handicap ramps for easier access, and installing safety railings in bathrooms.
For eight years Mr. Ebanks has been on the Prostrate and Colon Cancer Events Committee, which promotes cancer awareness and provides men's health screenings Island-wide.
Mr. Ebanks is married to wife, Sharon, and together they have four children, one daughter-in-law and nine grandchildren.
Mrs. Beulah McField is the mother of three children and grandmother of five.
A devoted Christian she received a call from God in 1993 to start an after school programme in George Town in the area of School Road. Ms Beulah quit her job and volunteered with the National Council of Voluntary Organisation’s summer camp being run out of George Town Primary School, so she could better understand what was being called to do.
With $2,000 dollars given to her by her eldest child, who told her to: “Do what God told you to do,” she opened the Rehoboth After-School Enrichment Centre in October 1994. The after-school centre has served thousands of children in its 25 years and continues to do so.
In 1997 God presented Ms Beulah with another opportunity to service the community, but instead of children the focus was on the elderly. She founded Cayman Islands Meals on Wheels, which began feeding 14 seniors three days a week in George Town. She worked at expanding it for 20 years while continuing with the after-school. Ms Beulah finally retired from Meals on Wheels in September 2017, but remains as the founding member on the board of directors. When she retired Meals on Wheels was feeding more than 200 persons daily and had expanded into all five districts of Grand Cayman.
Ms Beulah has been an ordained minister of the gospel since 2014. She is the pastor of Rehoboth Ministries Outreach Fellowship, the ministry she founded.
McFarlane “Mac” Conolly is the epitome of service to others above self. A retired career banker, he now devotes a significant portion of his time to helping others not only in his community, but throughout Grand Cayman. He is the consummate “jack-of-all-trades,” well-versed in (but not limited to dealing with) plumbing, electrical, building and mechanical issues. Mr. Conolly’s proficiency results in calls to repair water pumps and heaters, install fans, fix appliances, help with cement work, repair roofs and other home maintenance tasks. There is no need, large or small, that he will not tackle and successfully complete.
In addition to these projects in the physical world, he is devoted to serving the Lord. He is a committed Christian, who studies the Word to effectively witness and to further assist others. This is Mac’s most important “job” now. He facilitates Bible study with small groups in several districts across the island. Mr. McFarlane supplies study Bibles and other materials not only to members of these groups, but also to those that he witnesses to locally and overseas. He is often called on to perform devotions at seniors functions and has spoken at several church services across Grand Cayman.
Mr. McFarlane - known for his honesty, integrity, approachability and non-judgemental personality - is often called on to mediate situations with individuals or families who may be experiencing relationship or financial difficulties.
His willingness to share his time and knowledge with others is a true testament to Mr. McFarlane’s belief that each of us can make a positive difference to make the world a better place.
Maureen Idalee Scott
Mrs. Maureen Idalee Scott, or Ms Idalee as she is commonly known, is a mother of three children, and lovingly nurtured several of her grandchildren. She is a widow and now dedicates her time to her friends and to helping others.
The former businesswoman ran a shop, which sold handmade coral, wood and Caymanite items carved by her departed husband.
The Stake Bay resident is a highly involved member of the All Nations Pentecostal Church in Cayman Brac, and prays daily to give her strength to help others. Ms Idalee is well-known in her community for singing, which she loves to do. She is usually called on to share her talent at Christmas cantatas, and at funerals, church functions as well as at DCFS’ senior citizens events.
A caring, talented and wise individual, Ms Idalee enjoys assisting anyone in need. She donates food and clothes to good causes, visits shut-ins community, running errands for them. She also cooks food and shares with them. She likes doing neighbourly chores; and even plants flowering trees in neighbours’ yards and cares for them to maturity. Ms Idalee sometimes stays overnight with friends to keep them company or help care for them.
She sees being active in the community as a way for her to keep in touch with others. Ms Idalee likes the “togetherness” of being with others, and her strong faith means that she has love in her heart when carrying out God’s work.