By RON FANFAIR
The expectation was that about 100 well wishers would turn up to show their appreciation for a lifetime of community service.
What Frank Fernandes did not anticipate was that nearly 500 guests, including several prominent leaders in the Greater Toronto Area would show up at the celebratory dinner last week in Downsview.
“I was blown away by the magnitude of the event,” Fernandes, who was appointed to the Order of Ontario last year, admitted. “I really thought it was going to be a little get-together for some fellowship. That experience was like a dream to me.”
“Most of my life has revolved around giving and it gave me a sense of satisfaction to know there are people who follow and recognize the work you are doing to enrich the lives of others.”
Born in Georgetown, Guyana, Fernandes attended St. Mary’s Primary School, St. Stanislaus College and the Government Technical Institute before joining the Guyana Water Authority.
He migrated to Canada in 1966 and worked with J.A. Tumbler Laboratories and R.M. Hollingshead in Bowmanville where he served as general manager and vice president, Canadian Operations.
In his quest to further his education, Fernandes enrolled in a Marketing, Sales and Accounting and Personal Relations and Drafting programs at Seneca College and the University of Toronto respectively.
The owner of Quality Liquid Packaging and Quality Travel & Tours Ltd., Fernandes has been an active community worker and volunteer for the past three decades.
He volunteered with the Bowmanville Fire Department in the late 1970s, served as co-chair of the Scarborough Community Safety Audit Committee, chaired the Blue Knights Toy Ride Committee, co-founded the Motorcycle Ride for the Prevention of Child Abuse, founded the Toronto Auxiliary Police Toy Drive and participated in a canoe race to raise funds for the Addiction Research Foundation.
Fernandes joined the Toronto Auxiliary Police in 1971 and presently holds the rank of Superintendent. He’s the chair of the Board of Directors of St. John’s Ambulance which he joined in 1987 and has been a Rotarian for the past 20 years. He is also a member of the Ontario Association Chiefs of Police and patron of the Alliance of Guyanese Canadian Associations.
He has received numerous honours over the years for his outstanding record of community service. They include the Bicentennial, the Order of St. John, the Ontario Auxiliary Police and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee medals and the Scarborough Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence, the Paul Harris Fellowship, the City of Toronto Race Relations Committee, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, the Ontario Volunteer Service and the Consulate General of Guyana awards.
The well-wishers included Toronto Police Service Board chair Alok Mukherjee, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner Julian Fantino, Toronto Emergency Medical Services Chief Bruce Farr, Guyana’s honorary consul general Danny Doobay and Justices of the Peace Odida Quamina and Cledwyn Longe.