Sports pioneers celebrated on National Heroes Day

| 23/01/2018
CNS Local Life

Beha Hansson (left) and Alan Mackay were awarded for bravery

(CNS Local Life): A total of 316 honours were bestowed on pioneers in sports at the National Heroes Day 2018 celebrations yesterday, including nine “Early Pioneers”, 79 “Pioneers” and 26 “Emerging Pioneers; 168 were given “Long Service Certificates” and 34 were placed on the “Memorial Scroll”. Two people, a Department of Environment conservation officer and a student at Hope Academy, were also both awarded bravery citations for their heroism during a swimming tragedy in North Side last year.

Alan Mackay and Beha Hansson (16) tried to save Mongkol Srilamai (44) from drowning off Rum Point Drive on Ash Wednesday by bringing him to shore in extremely rough conditions. They were unable to rescue his life, but successfully helped Sadawut “Woody” Sriling, who also struggled to swim ashore during the incident.

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Cayman Islands Fire Service contingent in the National Heroes Day parade

“I’m very proud to receive this award but I only did what anyone else would have done,” said Hansson, who was 15 at the time. Sadly, despite valiant attempts by both Mackay and paramedics, they were unable to resuscitate Srilamai.

“I am pleased to receive the bravery award not just for me, but on behalf of all our DoE officers,” Mackay is quoted as saying in a GIS release. “We are a small unit and not very high profile compared to other frontline services.”

At the Heroes Day event Premier Alden McLaughlin said, “My passion for sports runs deep because I believe it teaches discipline and teamwork. I believe that any sporting activity is necessary to not only build character, but to also encourage a healthy lifestyle that contributes to the physical, mental and social well-being of any community, Sport also transcends borders, race, gender and social status. It is a universal language that possesses the power to uplift, entertain and unite us in celebration of the human spirit.”

“A sport is not just a game; it is a means to learn self-control, discipline and dedication,” said Sports Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly. “It teaches us how to rise when we fall, and how to persevere even when the hurdle seems insurmountable.”

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Wreaths were laid for National Heroes

Health Minister Dwayne Seymour praised all the awardees, as well the countless others who have contributed to sports over the years. “I offer my congratulations to every single one of you,” he said. “Whether you are a competitor, coach, committee member, organiser, parent, volunteer, spectator or fan, I know how much time, effort and energy goes into supporting sports in the Cayman Islands.”

The colourful parade to commence the day’s celebrations included the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) Band, as well as detachments from the RCIPS, the Cayman Islands Fire Service, the Prison Service, Girls Brigade, Scouts, Cadet Corps and Seventh Day Adventist Pathfinders.

Wreaths were laid in tribute to all of the Cayman Islands’ national heroes and nation builders, after which a moment of silence was observed.

At the end of the proceedings, McLaughlin announced that the National Heroes Day 2019 theme will be maritime heritage, celebrating the Cayman Islands’ great seafaring past.

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