In spite of her consistent professional excellence and extensive community service for nearly four decades, Dr. Winsome Smith has quietly flown under the radar.
She received her due last Sunday night with an Unsung Heroes Award at the third annual Canadian African Caribbean Committee gala that also recognizes outstanding individuals with Milestone honours.
After graduating from St. Andrew High School for Girls in 1964, Smith won a Canadian scholarship to pursue medical studies at Dalhousie University.
“As I was completing my first degree, I changed my mind and switched to dentistry,” she said.
Smith graduated with a Doctor of Dental Surgery certification from Dalhousie and completed speciality training in paediatric dentistry at the University of Toronto. For the past 42 years, she has been operating a practice in the city.
The first Black chair of Humber College’s board of directors, she also chaired the College Compensation & Appointments Council board and was the secretary-treasurer of the Association of Women Dentists in Ontario.
Smith, who has also been affiliated with West Indian Christian Fellowship International, the Caribbean Housing Initiative, the Black Business & Professional Association and SkyDome Corporation, provides scholarships, tutoring and moral support to young people for career advancement.
“Our young people are our future and it’s vital they educate themselves,” she said.
While on a visit to Jamaica’s Bustamante Hospital for Children a decade ago, Patrick Griffiths didn’t like what he saw.
“I was there to drop off something for a friend and I noticed there were several children sharing a bed,” he said. “There were needs in other areas too that I knew I needed to address.”
Back in Toronto where he has resided with his family since 1988, Griffiths organized a major fundraiser that netted $2 million worth of medication, beds, cribs and wheelchairs that were despatched to the hospital.
Three years ago, Griffiths and his Canadian supporters raised nearly $40,000 for the hospital.
“My father was a very giving man and I am following in his footsteps when it comes to assisting those in need,” said the married father of three children.
When the west end printing company that employed Griffiths downsized a few years ago, he decided to open Rochelle Clear Water which is a bottled water supplier with four employees. Last summer, the businessman spent five weeks in the Democratic Republic of Congo testing the water source in a small village.
Recording artist Jimmy Reid, educator Adeleke Keshinro, community worker Grace Williams and teenager Darius Johnson were also recognized with Unsung Heroes Awards.
Community radio broadcaster Orlando Sitney and information technology consultant Clyde Bette were among six recipients of Milestone Awards at the community event organized by Simone Banton and her team of volunteers.
A disc jockey pioneer in Grenada in the 1970s, Sitney received a diploma in radio and television broadcasting from the Georgetown School of Arts & Science in Washington, DC and worked with Radio Grenada, WPMW Radio in Washington and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Radio before relocating to Canada permanently in the mid-1980s.
He has been a CHRY programmer for the past 27 years.
A volunteer with the Brampton Minor Basketball Association (BMBA) for the past two decades, Beete and his assistant coach launched a scholarship program in 2002 to help BMBA participants pursue post-secondary education.
A total of 64 young people have benefited from the program so far that has paid out $40,000.
Beete also played a leading role in the launch of a BMBA Family Fun Day to acknowledge teams, committed volunteers, parents and sponsors.
Other Milestone Award honourees were educator and CHRY radio host Luther Brown, comedian Errol “Naggo” Morris, community worker Dolly “Mama J” Wade and award-winning disc jockey Linval “Super Vibes” Livermore who passed away three weeks ago in Cambridge at age 67.
He was the recipient of the 2000 Canadian Reggae Music Awards Peter Tosh Memorial honour.