Gloria Facey, who lived in the United States and England for a combined 20 years, could have turned her back on her native land.
She instead returned to Jamaica and made sterling contribution not only in healthcare, but also in religion and community development.
She, along with four others, was honoured during a ceremony held on the eve of International Women’s Day at the Bethel Baptist Church in Bog Walk, St. Catherine.
“I feel very grateful; I give thanks to God that he enabled me to be of some help to others in my community,” Facey told The Beacon after collecting the award, which was presented by the True United Sisters organization.
Since she returned to Jamaica, Facey, now 81 years old, served as Guidance Counselor at Guy’s Hill High School and previously as Senior Health Educator at the Ministry of Health.
She also made her mark in healthcare in the United States as well as England – the country where she landed immediately after leaving Jamaica in her early 20s.
The decision to return home was not a difficult one, Facey told The Beacon.
“When I left to go to nursing school [in England], I went with the intention to stay only five years, get my nursing education and return to serve my own country. I could have stayed forever.”
Facey encouraged Jamaicans living abroad to follow suit by giving back to their communities.
“We need to develop our own place where we come from. We sometimes expect people to come and develop our communities or even our country, but we have that responsibility,” she said, adding that she grew up in a financially struggling family in the Golden Grove area of St. Catherine.
“I grew up in a rural community. We were poor, but I was brought up to be contented,” Facey further said.
She wanted more than the level of education she received locally at Seafield Elementary School, and so she pursued higher education when she migrated.
Facey, over the years, attained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Health Science, and a Master of Science in Community Health.
For her, it’s never always about academics. She is also heavily involved in her communities.
Facey is Founder and President of Springfield Senior Citizens Association, Secretary of Springfield Farmers Group, and board member of Guy’s Hill High School. She was instrumental in the building of the Springfield Multi-Purpose Community Centre.
Facey also serves the Guy’s Hill Red Cross Area Group, the Carron Hall Benevolent Society, and the Wheelers Mount Baptist Church.
At church, she is the secretary, deacon, as well as past president and member of the Women’s Federation.
Facey was a member of the church’s mission trips to Haiti, Cuba and Egypt.
Although she has no biological children and has never been married, she has positively impacted the lives of many.
“I would like to be remembered as a people person,” Facey told The Beacon. “I like people; I like to work with them.”
By Horace Mills, Journalist
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