“When I read the letter, it was a surprise. In all my years, I never expected anything like this.”
That was the sentiment expressed by Rubena Matthias-Fraser, who was among three persons pinned with the British Virgin Islands Badge of Honour at Government House in Road Town this morning.
The philanthropist was honoured along with teacher and literary stalwart Dr Patricia Turnbull, as well as long-time sports coach Terrence ‘Chino’ Chinnery.
The three were the first to receive the exclusive award in three years. Before today, only 26 people received the accolade.
Governor John Duncan, while addressing attendees at the investiture ceremony today, thanked the trio for their years of contribution to the territory.
He noted the importance of them being celebrated.
“In a world increasingly dominated by celebrity culture, it’s important that we recognise, honour, and celebrate those in our community who have dedicated their lives to the betterment of our society,” he said.
Premier Dr D Orlando Smith, in the meantime, stated that he was pleased to bear witness to the occasion.
“I know that you three have acted not for any personal agenda, but truly because of your love for this territory and its people. The badge of honour shows our appreciation today, for the vast contributions each of you have made over many years,” the premier told the honourees.
Deputy Governor Rosalie Adams, who also heads the BVI Honours Committee, urged the trio to continue inspiring people throughout the territory.
“I thank you all for the services that you continue to render to this community, and I encourage you to continue to be bright beacons to those who are looking on, especially to our young people. It is hoped that they would grasp this noble concept of giving back to the society in which we live.”
Dr Turnbull dedicated the award to her mother who she said provided her with infinite encouragement.
She further stated that receiving the Badge of Honour ‘affirms that the work that teachers and creatives do does not go unnoticed’.
Dr Turnbull was described today as a ‘long-standing stalwart of the Virgin Islands literary landscape’.
She is not only an educator, but also a cultural scholar known for publications such as: Can These Stones Talk? Dr Turnbull also has hosted multiple voluntary lectures in relation to Virgin Islands history.
Another awardee, Chinnery, noted that family and friends impacted his life significantly.
“I would like to thank my friend Orville Brown, and I will also like to thank God for being a part of my life. I would also like to thank my mother who incidentally kept me on a straight track,” he said.
Chinnery was recognized for the positive impact he has on young people and sports in the British Virgin Islands. He is known for his volunteerism in teaching and coaching.
The other honouree, Matthias-Fraser, was recognized for her devotion to the Sea Cows Bay Methodist Church and her ‘soup kitchen’ outreach ministry.
The outreach ministry was born when she took on the responsibility to purchase, prepare, and deliver soup to the elderly and less-fortunate persons in Sea Cows Bay.
“Thank you to the governor, the members of the government and the people of this beautiful country – these wonderful Virgin Islands – for bestowing such an honour on me,” she further said.