An MBE for Eziethamae
Eziethamae Eleanor Bodden, MBE Recipient
The name Eziethamae Eleanor Bodden is synonymous with local culture and community life, and receiving a Member of the British Empire for services to the community is a fitting tribute for this quintessential Caymanian lady.
She belongs to a mind-boggling list of cultural and volunteer organizations, yet still finds time for photography and the Cayman National Choir. Asked how she does it all, Eziethamae reveals a refreshing humility as she shares her straightforward pledge: "The Lord God and my family are most important to me but I also love to help in my community."
Born in West Bay in 1960, she is the middle child of seven. She fondly recalls her early years and characterizes her parents, Joseph and Ima Ebanks, as an upstanding couple who taught their children to "live the straight life" and "do good where you can."
As an outspoken advocate of preserving the Caymanian way of life, Eziethamae joyfully reflects on an era when Sundays were quietly spent with family and the church community, true days of rest before new weeks began: "Keeping our Christian heritage alive remains a big focus for me, as well as family togetherness," she says.
Having graduated from the Cayman Islands High School in 1977, Eziethamae completed her studies at the Cayman Islands Hotel Management Training School in 1982. She also studied different courses over the years and in 2004 she earned an equivalent associate degree with merit from the UK Institute for Learning and Management.
Her first job after high school began in 1977 when she was front desk and reservation manager for the then Royal Palms Hotel. A brief stint with the Department of Tourism followed, when she was the familiarization trip coordinator.
The next 13 years were spent in the private sector, as assistant manager of the Plantation Village Resort and later manager of the Grand Bay Club Condominiums. Then in 1993, it was back to the public service. Fifteen years later, she is still with the General Registry where she is currently front desk manager.
Eziethamae's past and present service in professional, social and charitable organizations is truly inspiring and pays testament to her selfless service ethic.
Currently a director of Generation Now and Future Sports Club, and a director, volunteer and trained disaster preparedness logistics leader for the Cayman Islands Red Cross, she is also a board member for the National Museum. She is Deputy Chairperson of the Tourism Attraction Board, the Cayman National Choir, the John Gray High School HSA, and the Cayman Islands Pastors Appreciation Committee.
In addition, she serves on the National Tourism Management Policy Steering Committee, the Cayman Islands Civil Service Association Management Council, and the Cayman Islands National Curriculum Committee. She is likewise a member of the National Trust (and Secretary of the Trust's West Bay District Committee), the National Cultural Foundation, the Cayman Islands Cancer Society and the Lift Jesus Higher Committee.
And again in her immediate neighbourhood, Eziethamae is chairperson of the West Bay Community Council, the West Bay Heritage Committee, and the National Parenting Programme's West Bay Committee. She is also a member of the West Bay Action Committee.
Further, she is an active participant in the Boatswain Bay Presbyterian Church and is always ready to help with any fundraiser at just a moment's notice.
In the past she served as a board member for the University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI), Immigration, the International College of the Cayman Islands (ICCI), and the CI Hotel and Condo Association.
She was also a Vision 2008 team leader and a founding member of the Lighthouse School.
As a proud mother of two daughters, she passionately supports them in their quest to complete their education. Martina (19) is currently enrolled at UCCI studying for her associate degree in hospitality management while Marzeta (23), is completing a master's degree in marketing at the UK's University of Surrey.
When she has any time left at all, Eziethamae admits to being addicted to photography. "I always have my camera with me, and not even high heels will stop me from leaving my car to take the perfect sunset picture."
She has little doubt that living in Cayman affords people a special kind of existence: "Not to say there aren't any drawbacks to living in a small community, but one has unique opportunities to get to know neighbours and live in closer unity," she says.
Asked for a message for her fellow countrymen, she unhesitatingly responds with John F. Kennedy's famous words, "It is not about what your country can do for you, but rather what you can do for your country." To which she adds her own distinctive-and unsurprising advice-"But always put God first."
For further information contact: Cornelia Oliver