Beval Lewis Townsend still feels pain in her legs and has a walking impairment due to a nasty two-car crash, which transpired in 2009 while she travelled home from work in St. Elizabeth.
But her setbacks have not deflated her generosity.
The self-proclaimed social worker, who has been a widow for nearly 20 years, remains a tower of strength for people in and around her community of Four Paths, St. Elizabeth.
It is not surprising that, in 2009, her community recognized her for her outstanding service.
“I continue to volunteer my services through the construction of homes through Food For The Poor, clothes distribution, food preparation and distribution, counselling, writing recommendations, doing vital signs, and even mediating in legal cases involving abused families,” said the 54-year-old, who is a trained practical nurse.
She said her two adult daughters assist with her philanthropic work, which is often done with her personal funds. She also sometimes shares her home with people in need.
Townsend said she does not always make her work public or solicit public help because the situations are sometimes sensitive.
She helped a family to seek public assistance this month because the particular case had become too heavy for her to lift alone. The case involves a St. Elizabeth mother, Bernadette Baker, who struggles with two differently abled sons, whose fathers are said to be delinquents.
During the public appeal, which Townsend facilitated through The Beacon, the family received significant public help as well as intervention by state-owned agencies.
Townsend, whose initial childhood dream was to become a police officer, changed to nursing in her early teens. “What I like most about my job is to see the relief and pleasure persons experience upon being helped,” she said.
Townsend, whose twin brother died shortly after birth, grew up with her late mother who operated a small business. Her father, who is also deceased, was a shopkeeper and farmer.
Townsend attended Merrywood Basic School, Mulgrave All Age, Maggoty High School, Montego Bay Community College, St. Elizabeth Training Institute, and the National College of Professional Studies where she studied practical nursing.
She previously worked as a nurse assistant and receptionist in Kingston with the late Dr. Don Atto Gore, as a garment construction teacher at Salt Spring Academy in St. James, as a supervisor at Manchester Apparel, and as a practical nurse at the infirmary in Santa Cruz.
The philanthropist, who affectionately is called Miss Bev, told The Beacon that she wants to be remembered ‘as someone who puts the needs of people above all’.
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