17 Men who make us Proud to be Vincy
When it comes to homicides in St. Vincent, the latter part of 2016 felt like a bad dream. Too often we found ourselves exclaiming “Another one again!” and trudging through the days with heavy hearts. If you reflect on the details of each incident, it becomes clear that it was our Vincentian men who were involved in the majority of these homicides, and in addition to these incidents, a number of lives were claimed by vehicular accidents and other unfortunate events, most of them being our young men.
With the fact sheet painting such a poor picture, our faith in our Vincentian men is definitely being tested and it’s easy to become engrossed in despair. However, all hope is not lost. We still have males in our society who are visionaries, change makers, and positive influencers.
We would like to use this platform to help shift your focus to these outstanding individuals through a series of articles that will highlight the efforts and achievements of the men who are making (or have made) an important impact on life in SVG. Our hope is that this will inspire our Vincentian men to “have a dream” like Martin Luther King Jr., create innovative products by thinking outside the box like Steve Jobs did, or even aim to unite people by stringing lyrics over guitar riffs, bass lines and chords like Bob Marley.
Our first featured individual is Earl “Ole George” Daniel who will be hanging up his boots after one final walk. Be sure to leave us comments and let us know who makes you proud to be Vincy!
Vincentian world record holder Earl “Ole George” Daniel has returned home for a final long distance walk. Daniel, who currently resides in Montreal, Canada, is part of a group of overseas based Vincentians that are looking to make a difference where HIV/AIDS and other health related issues.
George has returned to his homeland to deliver care packages to those in need, and to take it ‘a step further,’ by doing a three day walk, from February 3rd to 5th. This walk, according to Daniel, will be his way of saying goodbye to an exciting career of distance walking.
“What better way to do it than for a worthy cause and in the presence of the very people who were there to witness the first historic event,” said Ole George.
He further stated that this walk will be done with walking partner Joel Butcher, who walked with him from 2005-2008. He said that the walk will be his way of helping to bring much needed attention to the rising cases of HIV-AIDS, Diabetes, and also Mental Health.
“The Group is called ‘WE VINCY’ and was newly formed in Montreal, and is comprised of Vincentians who share the same concern for persons living with HIV-AIDS and Diabetes in St Vincent, and who have Mental Health Issues.
“We hope that our efforts will serve to improve the standard of living to these people and bring some hope to their world.”
“We have embarked on collecting food items and whatever else that is needed to make life easier for them. We are also going to be propagating the message of a healthier lifestyle while we are at it.” Daniel said.
“After several conversations with Sydney Joseph, better known as “Pumpkin” some time last year, I decided to bring the group together. Pumpkin, as you know is HIV positive and is St Vincent’s leading HIV/AIDS activist. We decided to mobilize and get some items together to send to persons affected by HIV/AIDS. These items will be delivered when I come home for the second part of the exercise,” Daniel added.
Other members of the group include Steve “Daddy Ghost” Victory, Monica Homer, Stephany Etienne, Hilton Smith, Garvey Thomas, among others.
Daniel who is a trained clinical social worker and who currently works in the Arctic Region of Quebec, Canada among the Inuit people, said that this walk will be very significant, and he hopes that all Vincentians will come out to salute him and Butcher as they walk through their communities.
“It will be the end of a very exciting era and certainly the closing chapter of a very important part of Vincentian history” he added.
Ole George and Joel Butcher are to walk from the windward and leeward ends of mainland St Vincent, with ventures into the Marriaqua and Vermont Valleys, to be followed by a rally at Victoria Park.
“The rally will be about bringing awareness to the HIV-AIDS situation in St. Vincent and also to encourage a healthier lifestyle so as to prevent more cases of Diabetes. There will also be a focus on Mental Health. The overall message here would be we need to be our brother’s keeper,” said Daniel.
“I believe there is a void where HIV-AIDS education and awareness is concerned, and I am hoping to make some inroads into that, along with Pumpkin and other like minded persons who will be participating in this exercise.”
“I am encouraging all walking groups/clubs, sporting organizations, health enthusiasts and anyone who is concerned about the present health situation in the country to come out and join us as we walk. Let’s do this together!”
George accomplished similar feats in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007, here at home and has walked in several Caribbean Islands (Jamaica, Grenada, St. Lucia Barbados), with the biggest of his walks being one in 2008 in Brooklyn, New York, USA, when he and Butcher walked around Prospect park for 8 straight days, challenging the Guinness World Record for the longest walk without sleep.
In 2012, George completed a five and a half day dance marathon in Nunavik, Northern Canada, to bring awareness to suicide in the region.
“It’s my hope that what we are about to embark on would bring the much needed attention to these very important health issues in my homeland, and that people will see that these issues affect us all.”
“There is a slogan which I have coined that I hope will be etched forever on the minds of every Vincentian ‘My Mosquito Is Your Mosquito’; it means that if something affects me it can and may eventually affect you too, so don’t wait until it comes your way before proactively dealing with it. The young man or woman who is HIV positive and you may think is none of your concern, may be the same person who can end up dating your son or daughter. We all have to act together to get these issues under control.”
George is appealing for others to come on board with this initiative, and to contribute of their time, talent, and treasures, in an effort to make the initiative a success.