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Lee A. Freeman Service Award recipient Mr. Jan Golaszewski (middle) seen with (L-R) Director of Department of Counselling Services Ms Judith Seymour, Deputy Governor Hon. Franz Manderson, Chief Officer of Ministry of Community Affairs, Gender & Housing Ms Dorine Whittaker and FRC Programme Coordinator Mrs. Miriam Foster.

Published 7th February 2013, 10:7am

At an appreciation dinner organised by the Family Resource Centre (FRC) last month, the Legal Befrienders service recognised volunteer attorneys for demonstrating compassion and generosity to those in need.

During the ceremony, Mr. Jan Golaszewski received the second Lee A. Freeman Service Award, an honour created by the FRC following the passing of attorney and tireless volunteer Lee A. Freeman. Within the last five years, Mr. Golaszewski has donated several hours each month to assist in providing free legal guidance to men and women.

Recognising the important role of volunteers, FRC's Programme Coordinator Miriam Foster said the annual award allows Mr. Freeman's legacy of hard work and commitment to live on and inspire others.

"Lee gave his time generously and with compassion - and Jan is equally-dedicated," said Mrs. Foster. "We often have to force Jan to take a break in order to give someone else a chance," she said jokingly.

"He embodies the qualities of a model volunteer and we are grateful for his involvement."

Chief Officer of Community Affairs, Gender and Housing Ms. Dorine Whittaker thanked Jan and all FRC volunteers on behalf of the Minister Hon. Dwayne Seymour, for their "commitment to a cause that brings light to an otherwise dark time in people's lives."

Other volunteers were also recognised for their years of service by Deputy Governor Mr. Franz Manderson. These include: founding members Zena Merren-Chin, Sara Collins and Lorna Medina. Also, with over 10 years of service are Legal Befrienders Winston Connolly, Rosie Whittaker-Myles, Keva Reid, Karen Christie, Sharlee Henshaw, Andrew Murray and Vanessa Allard. Serving for over 5 years are Jenny Coleman, Rebekah Brooks, Bonnie Gerow, Dorothy Crumbley, Jamal Young, Stacy Parke, Simon Raftopoulos and Barnaby Gowrie.

Legal Befrienders is a programme that enables qualified attorneys to assist the local community by giving free and confidential legal advice to those who need it most. It began in 1999 as a service to domestic violence victims, but due to the lack of any service like this in Cayman, it expanded to offer advice in all areas of the law. It is one of the most accessed services that FRC coordinates.

The dedicated lawyers and lay volunteers manage the walk-in clinics on Tuesdays from 5:00pm to 6:30pm; and the phone-line service on Fridays from 2:00 to 5:00pm on 945-8869. Contact the Family Resource Centre at 949-0006 or email frc@gov.ky for more information on this service or how you can get involved.

(GIS)