The Philadelphia-based St. Vincent and the Grenadines Organization of Pennsylvania, Inc. on Saturday night honored two individuals for their exemplary service to the community at a gala banquet marking the nation’s 36th anniversary of political independence.
The group bestowed the special awards on its ex-vice president Emille Williams and author and non-profit founder Isabelle “Lorna” Lewis.
The honor ceremony, which also marked the group’s 21st year of incorporation and served as its annual dinner and dance, took place at the Vincentian-owned Calabash Banquet and Catering House on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia, renowned as the “City of Brotherly Love.”
“This great organization of Pennsylvania has given me the opportunity to be who I am,” said Williams, a mechanical engineer and private pilot, after receiving the award from his fellow Biabou villager, Lorenzo DeCaul, the group’s president.
Later, in an exclusive interview, Williams, told Caribbean Life that he “felt humbled and really honored” to be recognized his contributions.
“But what was really recognized were the people who supported me — my wife (Dr. Erica Belton Williams) and my kids (Justin and Sierra Williams),” said Williams, who had served as vice president under James Cordice and DeCaul’s presidencies.
Lewis — founder and president of the Philadelphia-based Giving Life Anew Meeting — said she accepted the award for “those who died from domestic violence and those who are being raped.”
Lewis, who doubled as the guest speaker, shocked some patrons — and put a slight damp on the proceedings — with her claim that she was “raped (in Diamond Village] and continued to be raped until 11 years old.”
However, new Counsel General Howie Prince, in his maiden address, sought to put some zest in the ceremony, with relatively terse and witty remarks.
BY NELSON KING PHOTO CREDITS NELSON KING