Fellow residents of the British Virgin Islands, as you may be aware, today December 5 is observed worldwide as International Volunteer Day (IVD). The theme for this year’s observation is “Volunteers Act First. Here. Everywhere”.
International Volunteer Day is intended to “recognise the positive solidarity of volunteers around the world who answer calls in times of crisis, helping save lives today and supporting those who want to continue living their lives with dignity tomorrow.”
Here in the BVI, it is an opportune time to publicly acknowledge the volunteers who were instrumental in our response, relief and early recovery efforts following Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
There are many persons who selflessly volunteer their time to help others on an ongoing basis but the critical nature of the valuable service you provide becomes even more evident in times of crisis and natural disasters.
In the aftermath of the devastation we faced recently, I have witnessed firsthand the work of many volunteers. I can safely say that without you, our response and relief work would have been a lot harder. You have demonstrated by noteworthy example how we should care for our fellowmen and women and the compassion we need to demonstrate for each other.
I commend you for the long hours you have worked serving the people of this community and I applaud your selfless efforts in putting the needs of others above your own. I recognise those too who have made the additional sacrifice of leaving the comfort of their home countries and coming to a territory in our time of need to be of service.
Your invaluable service will forever be imprinted in the hearts of those who benefitted from your selfless dedication.
As we transition from response and relief into recovery, I encourage you to continue being of service to your community. Volunteerism has proven to be a critical pillar in the development of communities all over the world and I hope your example will be a beacon that others will follow, motivating them to also become volunteers.