First couple win Bermuda CableVision Community Service Award

Posted by on Apr 11, 2013 in Local News & Alerts | 0 comments

Bermuda CableVision this morning awarded Ed “Icewater” Smith and Lois Smith with the latest Bermuda CableVision Community Service Award for their voluntary service to Bermuda Prison Fellowship. Mr and Mrs Smith are the first couple in the award programme’s eight-year history to receive this accolade.

Ed “Icewater” and Lois Smith, Bermuda CableVision Community Service Award winners.

Mr and Mrs Smith have been devoted to volunteering at Bermuda Prison Fellowship for nearly 20 years. The charity supports the spiritual, moral, social and physical well-being of prisoners, ex-prisoners, their families and victims of crime. The organisation is built around the concept of restorative justice, which measures success by how much damage is repaired or prevented in the wake of crime. It aims to restore the victim, as well as the offender, to become a contributing member of the community. As part of the award, Bermuda Prison Fellowship received a $1,000 donation from Bermuda CableVision in support of its ongoing operations.

As volunteers for the charity, Mr and Mrs Smith have made individual and group visits to Westgate Prison and King Edward VII Memorial Hospital six days a week. During these sessions, the couple offer non-denominational guidance to interested parties, sharing with them the words of God about their circumstances to help them find solace, inner strength and build a positive forward-looking outlook.

Mr Smith comments: “When conducting Bermuda Prison Fellowship business, our job is to listen. We don’t ask questions, we don’t preach and we don’t judge. We operate in a system based on love and understanding to meet people’s needs, whatever they may be. The work is very rewarding and we build a strong rapport with our clients and help them to build confidence and a vision to become the best person they can be in the future. I have been approached by many former prisoners that we have worked with and they are always so grateful for our encouragement. Some have gone on to open their own businesses and make something of themselves, which is heart-warming to see.”

Mrs Smith added: “Some people might think it would be intimidating or scary to work with prisoners but we have received nothing but respect from those we help. Through volunteering for Bermuda Prison Fellowship I have learned that the people we work with are just like us, but for whatever reason their lives took a turn for the worse and they just need support in finding their way back to being upstanding citizens. We are never told what people are incarcerated for and we don’t dwell on the past. We focus on looking ahead and take a direct, no nonsense approach. We are really interested in finding other younger people in the community that we can train to fill our shoes once we eventually retire.”

Mr and Mrs Smith were presented with the award at a ceremony held at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute. The event was attended by Acting Minister for Public Safety, the Hon. Leah Scott, JP, MP; Bermuda CableVision’s senior management team; along with the couple’s family and friends.

Acting Minister for Public Safety, the Hon. Leah Scott, JP, MP, said: “Mr and Mrs Smith provide an essential service to Bermuda, helping to turn lives around for the better in challenging circumstances. This ultimately makes our community stronger. Their positive, non-judgmental attitude in dealing with incarcerated individuals and those connected to them is admirable. I congratulate them on this honour.”

 

Terry Roberson, General Manager of Bermuda CableVision, comments: “We wanted to highlight the endeavours of Ed and Lois and the Bermuda Prison Fellowship as the charity has a relatively low profile on the island but this work is so important.

“In addition to offering counsel, the organisation holds an annual tag day in May; a Christmas Angel Tree programme to support families with an incarcerated parent during the difficult holiday period; a BookConnect initiative to engage prisoners in reading and learning; and summer camps scholarships and Back to School programmes for the children of inmates to provide childhood enrichment.

“Their programmes are not only life-changing for the adult, but they are also crucial to the lives of their children who need the love and attention of both parents so they can grow up well-balanced mentally, emotionally and physically. Congratulations on receiving today’s award.”

Bermuda Prison Fellowship is part of the world’s largest and most extensive criminal justice ministry, Prison Fellowship International (PFI), a global association comprising 128 national Prison Fellowship organisations and more than 100,000 volunteers. As a non-governmental organization (NGO), PFI maintains “special consultative status” with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and is an active participant in the UN Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.

Bermuda Prison Fellowship welcomes donations from the public, which can be made online to HSBC account 010-400349-001 or mailed to Bermuda Prison Fellowship, 46 Par-la-Ville Road, Hamilton, HM11.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>