Herma Williams-Burke has turned down numerous rewards offered in return for her philanthropic doings in and around her community of Bog Walk, St. Catherine.
She recalled even turning down a furnished house that was being willed to her by an elderly neighbour whom she cared for voluntarily.
“My neighbour did not have any children. Before I go to work, I would go by her, make sure she got her breakfast, clean up the place, tidy her and so on,” Evangelist Burke explained.
“My neighbour decided that she wanted to will the place and furniture to me, but I said I was not helping her to get anything; I was just doing it for love. I did not accept the house, and I didn’t have a place for myself; I was living with my parents… I didn’t even own a bed at that time.”
Evangelist Burke told The Beacon that, although she did not accept the furnished house, many other doors opened for her. “I was so blessed; some doors were opened; God is really good to me,” she declared.
On the eve of International Women’s Day, the True United Sisters organization in Bog Walk awarded Evangelist Burke with the Dawn Boreland Award for her contribution to Community Development and Religion.
“I don’t do things to get any reward from man and all of that; I just do it because I love it – not to be seen; I just love to help others,” she said while expressing gratitude for the award.
Since Evangelist Burke embarked on her philanthropic journey in 1991 by starting to care for her late neighbour, she has not looked back.
She has been counselling persons, as well as helping people who are of unsound mind and those in hospitals, nursing homes and infirmaries. She combs their hair, bathes them, and feeds them.
Evangelist Burke, who said she once provided transportation free of cost for Charlemont High students who live mainly in her community, also helps to prepare students for various exams.
She, on Thursdays, teaches members of her church who struggle with reading.
Evangelist Burke, a past student of Linstead Primary School and Dinthill Technical High, worships at the Assemblies Of The First Born Church International in Bog Walk where her husband Courtney Burke is pastor.
She told The Beacon that her benevolence is fueled by her Christian leanings.
“I got a vision that I should just serve,” she said, adding: “I just want to be remembered as a servant.”
Evangelist Burke has been a Christian for 22 years.
She is now self-employed, but worked in the Accounting field for 14 years and as a secretary for two years.
Evangelist Burke sometimes evangelizes in countries such as the Cayman Islands and the United States.
She is a graduate of the North Coast School of Ministries.
Evangelist Burke holds a diploma in nursing and a degree in social work.
By Horace Mills, Journalist
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