Henry ‘Freddie’ Smith sat in earshot as speaker after speaker at a ceremony this morning showered him with praise for the herculean efforts he is said to have exerted over many years to ensure there was power.
Perhaps the greatest moment for him today was when the much developed facility, where electricity is generated in Pockwood Pond, was declared the Henry Wilfred ‘Freddie’ Smith Power Station.
Freddie, who worked with the BVI Electricity Corporation (BVIEC) for 49 years and one month, stated that he never expected to be honoured in such a grand way.
“Working at the BVIEC with some of the most dedicated people was what I enjoyed doing, and that was fulfillment enough. Having the power station named after me was never in my thoughts, and so I was taken by surprise when a delegation form the Corporation led by the General Manager Leroy Abraham called to inform me of the board’s decision.”
“I would like to thank the Board for that decision, but more appropriately, I would like us all to thank the family at the power station who dedicated themselves to keeping the power on and making me look good,” said a mild mannered Freddie.
He worked in several positions at the BVIEC over the years. They include supervisor for the plant, assistant superintendent of the generation department, and generation engineer.
Freddie’s brother, Premier Dr D Orlando Smith, expressed pride that his sibling was being honoured.
“Today is definitely one of the proudest days of my life as I stand here to witness this power station being named after him,” he said.
In the meantime, minister responsible for the BVIEC Mark Vanterpool noted the process involved in having the Pockwood Pond power plant re-named.
“On July 20th, 2016, at the 559th meeting of the BVI Electricity Corporation, a decision was made to rename the Pockwood Pond Power Station – the Henry Wilfred ‘Freddie’ Smith Power Station, in recognition of his long and valuable service. On April 5th, 2017, Cabinet accepted the Resolution, and it was adopted by the House of Assembly on April 26th, 2017. I thank my colleagues in the House of Assembly who approved the Resolution, without hesitation.”
Vanterpool added that Freddie is deserving of the honour.
“This is an opportune time to recognize the service of one exemplary BVIEC worker – Mr Henry Wilfred ‘Freddie’ Smith, who has dedicated close to 50 years of his life to keeping the Virgin Islands lit. Freddie Smith’s association with the generation and supply of electricity in the Territory goes back to 1965, at the Government Electricity, Ice and Cold Storage Department.”
“He started out as a mechanic and worked as a Mechanic Foreman, Technical Officer V, Supervisor, Assistant Superintendent, Generation Superintendent, Generation Engineer, and Electrical Supervisor. He retired as a Plant Manager at the British Virgin Islands Electricity Corporation. Freddie is remembered by his colleagues over the years as one who was always willing to pass on his knowledge, even as he sought to learn more about the job himself. This is very commendable and an attribute that we can all adopt ourselves,” added Vanterpool.
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