Safe Haven president receives Paul Harris Fellow Award

POSTED: 09/3/12 10:54 PM

SIMPSON BAY – The Rotary Club of St. Maarten has bestowed Oldine Bryson-Pantophlet with the Paul Harris Fellow award, during a dinner event at the La Cabana restaurant at the Royal Palm Resort on Friday evening. The former head of Public Education and president of Safe Haven shelter for abused women was honored and awarded for her outstanding community work by Rotary president Elie Bendaly.
Past president of the Rotary Stephen Smeins who did the presentation noted that Oldine Bryson Pantophlet joins a “remarkable company of people from around the world who are all recognized for their devotion and the understanding of the ideal of service and world peace; this is a role that Oldine clearly shares.” Bryson Pantophlet was honored in 2009 by Her Majesty Queen Beatrix with the Order of Oranje Nassau.
“I humbly accept this award,” she said and recalled that when she was called by the Rotary president in his office she told her husband that it seems as though their financially problems are finally solved, which brought much laughter from the audience. “This means that we are on the right track on St. Maarten when it comes to acknowledging the work not only what Safe Haven does but also all the other organizations that are working for the betterment of the society.”
Bryson-Pantophlet said that other organizations like the Turning Point Foundation, the Basilica Center and the children home are also working towards the betterment of the society. She wondered what St. Maarten would be like without these organizations and concluded that it would not be a nice place to live.
Sometimes it is felt like no one sees or recognizes the work that these organizations are doing. Knowing that an esteemed organization such as Rotary recognized what they are doing for the community of St. Maarten makes a big difference, Bryson-Pantophlet said. “Standing here with the Paul Harris award I wish that I could strip into a million pieces because so many people deserve it,” she said.
Bryson-Pantophlet singled out her husband as “the one person who has supported me for the work I do. Without him I would not be able to spend so much time on community work.” She added that Safe Haven director Loyola Seymonson is “a very hard worker” to whom “time is of no essence.”
Bryson-Pantophlet expressed her gratitude to all who support Safe Haven and to the Rotary for recognizing and presenting her with the Paul Harris award. “I will wear the Paul Harris Award with pride,” she concluded.

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