Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa recently recognised two local philanthropists for their outstanding work within Antigua and Barbuda by honouring them with the resort’s Humanitarian Award title for 2022.
They are business owner Shira Nelson and community activist Mary John.
The duo was hosted by the resort to an extravagant brunch with members of the resort’s management team and was officially presented with the resort’s prestigious award for individuals who have distinguished themselves by meritorious participation in an act, operation, or for prolonged service of a humanitarian nature directed toward an individual or groups of individuals.
The recipients of the 2022 award were selected from an overwhelming submission of candidates by the public who met the criteria for the award which will become an annual recognition initiative from the resort. However, Nelson and John edged out the other nominees as their volunteer services reflected a significant devotion of time, energy and altruism.
In congratulatory remarks to the awardees, resort General Manager Matthew Cornall said, “We are happy to recognize the work of our awardees who have risen to the occasion and have been leaders in championing the cause of the homeless, less fortunate and people plagued with drug and addiction issues within our local communities. It is a mammoth task for any one person to undertake but where we as a company can lend support in bettering the lives and environment for the people of Antigua and Barbuda, we will readily offer a hand.”
The awardees in their acceptance speeches commended the resort for the proactive approach taken through its community relations initiatives and Sandals Foundation projects that have impacted the lives of hundreds of citizens in Antigua and Barbuda.
“I am elated and humbled by this kind gesture and also a bit emotional. I remember when I first got the call to inform me that I was receiving this award, I cried for about an hour. I have always extended myself to support in any way I can through my business and personal ventures without ever thinking about being recognised for the work I do. It means I am making an impact. I would also like to say to other people involved in community activism to continue doing it with heart and the commitment to making the world a better place, one individual at a time,” Nelson said.
Mary John added, “I accept this Award most humbly on behalf of all the homeless, drug and alcohol addicts, fire victims, flood victims, vagrants, abused minors and voiceless people across this country. While on the streets my heart would hurt for the individuals who are sick and suffering either as a result of drug and alcohol addiction, mental illness, and homelessness. My work in the community as a social activist stems from my community spiritedness. It is a labour of love and gratitude to the almighty for sparing me and turning my circumstances around when I hit rock bottom. No one is beyond redemption.”
John also formally announced during the awards ceremony that her foundation the Mary John Transformation of Live Inc. will soon be registered and launched as she continues to create impact in local communities.
The handover of the crystal awards was presented by Training and Development Manager Carlene Spencer and Public Relations Manager Leon Norville.
Norville also re-affirmed the resort’s commitment to continue its work in the execution of meaningful and impactful projects and initiatives that will continue to benefit the people of Antigua and Barbuda.
In recent years, the resort – already positioned as a leader in the Tourism and Hospitality industry – has placed a significant focus on its impactful and sustainable community relations activities not only in Antigua and Barbuda but throughout the entire region in all islands where the Sandals brand operates.