Months after Freeport Container Port employees travelled to Long Island to assist residents there devastated by Hurricane Joaquin back in September, 2015, expressions of joy and gratitude continue to pour in for the excellent work done by the Freeport Container Port’s eight man crew. The relief team landed on Long Island on November 29, 2015, and 14 days after they returned to Grand Bahama, they left a significant number of homes repaired, more than 10 extended families in a recovered state and literally hundreds of Long Islanders singing their praises.
According to Long Island Administrator, Terrece Bootle-Bethel, the Freeport Container Port team was well organized and everyday took a 6 a.m. drive from Stella Maris to Clarence Town. Residents say it was touching, and in some ways surprising, to see near strangers leave the comforts of Grand Bahama and get up so early to take an almost two hour daily drive to lend their skills to help people in dire need. Administrator Bethel says these men did extensive and efficient work. “The work completed was just incredible; roof repairs, ceilings, sheet rock and walls. We saw these men handle plumbing problems that existed five years before the hurricane and the repair of electrical infrastructure was just unbelievable;” the Administrator said. Bethel noted that the assistance offered by Freeport Container Port was “tremendous” and it placed a dent in the repairs needed in South Long Island. “The work done was substantive and home owners are appreciative of the crew’s efforts. Because of Freeport Container Port, many of our people now have a sense of normalcy. We all miss the sight of those hard working men in FCP orange coloured coveralls and people cannot stop singing their praises;” said the Administrator.
Known to Long Islanders now as the “Extraordinary Eight” are Shirlen Williams, team leader and general worker, Dexter Winter, electrician, Ricardo Rodgers, head carpenter, William Percentie, carpenter, Zendal Roberts, carpenter and mason, Randolph Garland, carpenter, Rashad Rolle, carpenter, and Stephen Lightbourne, skilled worker. Relief team members say they are grateful to God for the opportunity to help the people of The Bahamas and take pride in working for a company where owners and management did not hesitate to agree to have them go to help their brothers and sisters. “It takes a caring company to cover our air transportation, meals, salaries with time off and other expenses, all in support of hurricane victims;” said group leader, Shirlen Williams. The group extended special thanks to the Greek family that provided ice daily, the Community Center for canned goods, Omar Daley, a local businessman for his all around kindness, management of Stella Maris Vacation Homes, Administrator Bethel, the National Recovery & Reconstruction Unit and the private sector that assisted the government with much needed supplies.
CEO of Hutchison Port Holdings Bahamas Business Units, Godfrey Smith, on hearing the wonderful comments about the work done by Freeport Container Port employees on Long Island, issued a brief statement that reads; “ We at HPH Bahamas Business Units were moved by the concern expressed and enthusiasm demonstrated by our employees to assist with the hurricane relief efforts in the Southern Bahamas. Our commitment to the strengthening of communities on Grand Bahama and the wider Bahamas made it easy to support this most important exercise. We applaud our crew for the tremendous work done on Long Island. Nothing could be more noble than utilizing our God given talents and skills to positively impact the lives of others. We take this opportunity to again thank our employees for such a generous accomplishment, all of the individuals and agencies for what proved to be an excellently coordinated project and the resilient and industrious people of Long Island. While humbled by and appreciative of the unexpected public recognition, it should be noted that our efforts at Hutchison are never geared for publicity. We acted to improve the quality of life for those devastated.
This Long Island Hurricane Joaquin Relief Report adds credence as to why we are so proud of the outstanding men and women employed at HPH Bahamas Business Units. Our prayers and thoughts remain with all those affected by the hurricane and we wish them a speedy recovery.”
Published Monday, February 1, 2016