As a result of their hard work and dedication throughout the year, three marines from the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) were recipients of the Marine of the Year Award in their respective categories at the force’s annual Christmas carol service and awards ceremony.
Under the award program, each of the force’s 14 departments presents a Departmental Marine of the Year from among which are selected the prestigious Leon Livingstone Smith Marine of the Year Award for the leading, able and marine seaman rate categories.
Leading Seaman William Burns (Harbour Patrol Unit), Able Mechanic Joevonne Simmons (Base Maintenance Team) and Woman Marine Hermeka Knowles (Operations Department) are the latest recipients of the coveted award.
The awardees received their awards for outstanding and dedicated services throughout the year. In previous years, one overall winner was selected from among the leading, able and marine seaman rates for the award. This year’s format included one overall winner from each of the three categories.
Runners up included Leading Woman Marine Natasha Major, Able Seaman Glen Bullard and Marine Mechanic Cyncarreo Collie.
The Leon Livingstone Smith prize is named in honor of the first Bahamian commodore who headed the defense force from 1983 – 1997. Both Commodore Smith and his wife, Helen Smith, were in attendance to present the award.
A total of 14 Marines were recipients of the Departmental Marine of the Year Award.
Commodore Tellis Bethel commended all of the recipients for their performances during the year. He also thanked the officers and marines for their invaluable contributions and encouraged them to continue to perform their duties with honor and pride.
Staff, faculty, parents and students from Gambier and Adelaide Primary schools were also special guests at the annual carol service. The schools, which were adopted by the RBDF over many years, made their presence felt with a musical and a poem selection. The students were presented with Christmas gifts from the RBDF afterwards.
Reverend Prince Bodie, the RBDF chaplain, brought the Christmas message and reminded those in attendance that in the midst of the duties they undertake and the challenges they face that God was with them and will protect and prosper them in their efforts to safeguard our nation. The service brings together personnel from all sectors of the RBDF for a time of reflection and thanksgiving during the festive season.