It did not take much convincing for Commonwealth Bank (CB) employees of the Freeport and Lucaya Branches to come together to give back to their brothers and sisters, in East End, that were severely impacted by Hurricane Dorian in early September.
Dorian made landfall September 1 and basically sat over the island for almost 48-hours, bringing record level storm surges which demolished hundreds of homes and businesses in East End, Central Grand Bahama and West End.
Due to the devastation, relief aid – local, national and international – poured into the island immediately after the all clear was given, and CB executives were among donors making sizeable contributions.
However, according to CB Freeport Assistant Branch Manager, Genesta Jackson, the staff at the two local branches wanted to contribute, “separate and apart from CB.
“Deontlay Todd, after a personal visit to East End came up with the idea and immediately the staff was onboard. I made the announcement one morning and in no time the contributions began coming in,” said Jackson.
“The bank did something, but the staff wanted to do something separate and apart,” she reiterated. “So, we just decided that we were going to purchase and get supplies and we did that.
“All the staff contributed in some way or the other, even those that experienced losses themselves – they contributed either financially, product, supplies.
Everybody didn’t make the drive down, but all of management participated, all the staff participated, those in the photographs were the ones that were able to make the drive down.
“We congregated at the Lucaya Branch just to put it all together – the packages and care packages – for the community and we teamed up with persons who were willing to drive their trucks to assist with the delivery. Mr. Larry Lewis of Paradise Water Sports offered his service free of charge. He took us by bus to East End … Dwight Moore, Patrick Jackson along with other drivers, assisted in getting the supplies to the east,” Jackson said.
“We went up on Sunday afternoon to make the deliveries. The packing took place the Saturday prior, ” she revealed.
Noting that the staff was excited about the initiative, Jackson said, they wanted to personally present the packages to the residents in East End.
“We wanted to connect with the community, we didn’t just want to send the items or have it delivered. We could have done that, but we really wanted to connect with the residents,” she added.
Describing the initiative as exciting, Jackson said, this will not be the only contribution from the staff. “We want to go into Sweeting’s Cay … we were not able to make it there in the last exercise, but that will be the next initiative. We have already begun collecting items for delivery, so that will happen very soon.”
She thanked all the staff and volunteers that contributed and participated in some way to the exercise.
CB was the first banking operation to open following Hurricane Dorian, despite having flood damages at the Freeport Branch.
“Despite long lines, days after the storm, we were the first bank to open to the public, operating the Lucaya Branch with standing room only,” said Jackson. “This was all in an effort to serve our clients and the public in general. Again, we say thanks to staff, managers, clients and the public.”