Nov 30, 2008 News
The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word ‘special’ as someone exceptional in quality of degree, and distinguished from others of the kind by a particular quality or feature.
A ‘hero’ is described as a person admired and venerated for his or her achievements and noble qualities in any field.
Whatever you choose to call them, there are many such persons in society who, every single day of their lives, give selfishly towards improving the lives of others.
The majority of them will never receive a national award, and the truth is that if offered, they would probably decline because their motive is not to be rich and famous or to receive accolades but rather to humbly make a positive difference in society, and by extension the human race.
In recognition and appreciation of their efforts, Kaieteur News will be featuring one such person every week in our Sunday edition.
We begin with centenarian Gertrude Dolphin, fondly called ‘Auntie Gerty’, who tangibly personifies a ‘special person’.
‘Aunty Gerty’s’ life over the last 85 years has been dedicated to helping people at every stratum of society.
A teacher for 45 years, she had a great opportunity to do this with the thousands of children who passed ‘through her hands’.
But she went beyond her job description by many days going hungry to ensure that children without lunch had.
‘Aunty Gerty’ defies the belief that a person has to possess wealth in order to give.
In 1921, with a salary of six dollars per month, she also reached out to the needy in her community with hampers and monetary donations.
She would set aside money from her salary each month to ensure that scores of less fortunate kids in her village got an opportunity to visit old St Nick at Christmas time.
She also bought text books and school clothing for those students whose parents could not afford to do so.
She admits that it took a lot of ‘scrimping and saving’ to do so but noted that the smiles on their little faces made it all worth the while.
Somewhat of a disciplinarian, a regular feature of her teaching days was giving free lessons to ‘weak students’ after school and on the weekends. This included frank discussions on morality (especially with the female students).
Though she has never married and has no biological children of her own, she has touched the lives of thousands of children, as well as her 30 godchildren, all known her as “mom”.
As the longest serving member of the Smith Congregational Church, numerous women in difficult circumstances have benefited from her acts of selfless giving through food hampers and monetary donations on a regular basis.
Even now at 100 years old, with only a government pension to survive on, she continues to help others.
There are at least four women who are facing ‘hard times’ in her community to whom she makes monetary gifts on a monthly basis.
‘Aunty Gerty’ has never owned more than a bicycle in her life and never made enough money to have a feasible bank account, but looking back on her life, she said she feels very accomplished.
With a vibrant smile, she noted that this is because true achievements are not measured by “how much you make during you life, but how much you make others happy”.
In our eyes that makes you a very special person ‘Aunty Gerty’.
If you know someone who could be featured as a Special Person, call Kaieteur News office on telephone numbers 225-8458, 225-8465 or 225-8491
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