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Unsung hero recognized

Unsung hero recognized


After more than four decades of tireless dedication to communities in Union Island and mainland St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the efforts of Yolande Stewart have been recognized by the regional community.{{more}}

Stewart has been named the first runner up in the First Caribbean Unsung Hero Award Programme. The Union Island resident had previously won the national leg of the search for nationals who through their work make the lives of underprivileged and disadvantaged more manageable.

She was recognized on Monday by the regional body at a presentation ceremony in Barbados at the Hilton where she was presented with US$10,000, then on Tuesday, by the local organizing body at the Sky Blue Apartments at Indian Bay.

Addressing the small gathering of family, friends and employees of the local branch of the First Caribbean International Bank, Stewart expressed thanks and praises to God, before breaking into song.

She indicated that she was glad to represent St. Vincent and the Grenadines on the regional arena, and confirmed her commitment to continuing her work to make life better for the less fortunate here at home.

The 65-year-old mother of four was born in Trinidad and Tobago before traveling to Union Island at an early age.

A seamstress by profession, Stewart started teaching young women in the community the trade, which then expanded to typing and other skills.

She then opened a learning resource centre, which she funded through concerts, tea parties and dinners. With the help of teachers and her daughter Susan, other subjects were taught to adults and other school dropouts.

Stewart also taught Social Studies, and at the age of fifty, in an effort to be of better help to her students, she wrote the CXC Social Studies examination and gained a grade three.

During her years of assisting the underprivileged, Stewart also took under her wing boys from the Liberty Lodge Boys Training Centre, and still has one youth under her care.

Although a diabetic for years, Stewart vowed to continue her work for the needy until ‘the good Lord says it’s time to go.’

She is currently active in her community, with a community choir that sings at the funerals and special functions.

She was the wife of the late Jonah Stewart who passed away in 2004; the couple had been married for 43 years.

Apart from Susan, she is the mother of one other daughter, Sherry, who resides in the United States, and two sons, Steve and Ashwah.(JJ)