“National Heroes Day” is the largest National Heritage and Culture Celebration in the Cayman Islands.
The celebrations first held in 2003 as part of the Cayman Islands’ year long quincentennial celebrations was intended to be the islands’ largest national celebration. The devastation wrought by Hurricane Ivan in September 2004, thwarted subsequent plans to observe National Heroes Day in the proper manner until 2007.
Its return to the annual calendar amidst all the traditional fanfare was a resounding success, drawing crowds from all over the islands and evoking a spirit of community and pride which stirred the senses and moved the soul.
The celebrations take place annually in Heroes Square in George Town at the end of January and bring out members of society from across the islands, especially those who come to pay tribute to the brave men and women who are immortalized on the wall of honour. Traditional elements of the day include uniform parades, choirs, live music and laying of wreaths in remembrance. It is a unique occasion for the people of the Cayman Islands to unite in celebration of a proud past and a future filled with hope.
Hundreds of residents and tourists gathered in Heroes Square on Monday January 25, 2010 to honour nearly three dozen Caymanians for their services to the Community, to Education and Youth and for outstanding Christian leadership. Nineteen people were awarded the Cayman Islands Certificate and Badge of Honour and another 15 received the Spirit of Excellence award. The theme for this year is “Celebrating Our Christian Heritage”. Among those honoured were our own Pastor Wilton G. McDonald, Sisters Mary Johnson, Marjorie Mae Bodden and Ethel Barnes. Sister Barnes received the Spirit of Excellence award while Sisters Bodden, Johnson and Pastor McDonald received the Certificate and Badge of Honour for Christian Leadership. Brother Rudy Myles sang the National Anthem, the Pathfinders participated in the parade and the Cayman Mass Choir conducted by Brother David Bushell was composed of 75% Adventists.
Marjorie Mae Bodden
Born 4 June 1931, Marjorie Mae Bodden has been a tireless evangelist for the Seventh Day Adventists in the Cayman Islands, having spent 18 years as Community Services Director for the George Town Seventh Day Adventist Church where she is also a Head Deaconess and a Sabbath School teacher.
Her love for Christ is demonstrated through home visits with the elderly and infirm to clean, provide food, clothing, and encouragement through the word of God. She taught Bible classes while a missionary in Honduras and was trained in disaster preparedness and relief by the Adventist Development Relief Agency (ADRA) in Atlanta, Georgia.
Perceived by many as a quiet but energetic force in the Seventh Day Adventist Church, for nearly 40 years Mary Johnson has volunteered with the Adventist Development Relief Agency (ADRA). She has also nurtured the spiritual growth of children and youth through programmes such as Vacation Bible School, the Pathfinders Club, and Sabbath School.
Ms. Mary’s summer camps are known for equipping youngsters with practical life-saving and survival skills. At times she has personally funded some of the programs.
Pastor Wilton G. McDonald
Mediator, mentor and counsellor, Pastor Wilton McDonald is a veteran Seventh Day Adventist Church Minister who has faithfully served for some 30 years. Currently District Pastor for the Newlands SDA Church, his vocation has seen him pastor congregations in all districts except George Town and the Sister Islands. He spearheaded the establishment of the West Bay SDA.
His spiritual and civic duties include serving as Justice of the Peace, involvement in the Prison Ministry and Anti-Drugs Campaigns; hosting the radio programme Steps to Christ, and spearheading youth, Community Outreach and welfare initiatives.
We want to congratulate all honorees and those who participated and supported this occasion.