A former National Footballer is the CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank 2012 Unsung Hero.
Francis “Muddy Belly” Phillip who has taken upon himself to voluntarily pass on the basic techniques of football to youngsters of River Road/Darbeau in St. George’s has been awarded by the bank with a plaque and a cheque in the sum of $16,200.00.
Country Manager Nigel Ollivierre who made the presentation to Phillip at the Grenada National Stadium last week Thursday said it is unfortunate that persons who have selflessly build and nourish their communities are not recognized.
Ollivierre said the bank is, however, proud to publicly celebrate one of these persons who worked behind the scene selflessly to reach out to strangers.
“This hero (Phillip) is a reminder to FirstCaribbean that our decision to launch our Unsung Hero Programme in 2003 was a wise one,” he added.
The bank’s Country Manager noted that since 2003 they have seen a cadre of brilliant people using their own resources, time and efforts to make Grenada and the Caribbean a better place.
Member of Staff of FirstCaribbean International Bank, Tanatha Calliste who read the citation spoke of the awardee always having an ongoing concern for the development of the youth in his River Road Community where, according to her, there is a growing rate of delinquency among young people.
Calliste said as an active member of the community, the former National Footballer engaged in imparting his knowledge and skills to the youth.
Phillip started the Wembley Football Academy in 2008 where the game of football is taught to boys and girls of River Road and the surrounding communities.
Calliste said through the academy the young participants are taught discipline, respect for each other, teamwork and give them something valuable to do with their time on Saturday mornings.
According to Calliste, in addition to teaching the skills of football, Phillip provides the children with an opportunity to learn the benefits of competition, hard work, goals setting, cooperation, respect and sportsmanship in a safe, structured and positive environment.
Education and Human Resource Development Minister, Senator Franka Bernadine who attended the ceremony underscored the overall value of Phillip’s football programme.
Sen. Bernadine said there cannot be enough awards for people who volunteer since it is about building without receiving the usual benefit that is given financially.
Sen. Bernadine stressed that when country and community are being built, it cannot be done without voluntarism and goodwill.
Coordinator of Sports, Conrad Francis who also addressed the ceremony commended the efforts that Phillip is making without receiving any rewards.
Francis said although playing fields are provided by the Ministry of Sports free of cost to many other coaches in Grenada, they resort to charging the youngsters who are in their programme.
He said unlike those who engage in that attitude, Phillip has decided to conduct his three-hour weekly programme voluntarily.
“I think Mr. Phillip is a flower in that whole aspect of things, and I commend him for volunteering his services to help these kids develop their talent,” he remarked.