Fearless with a heart of gold – Pt 2
When one considers the resilience and efficiency of Dale Greaves-Smith, a look should be taken at the man responsible for it all - her father - who, in all his wisdom, ensured that his children had tenacity to last them a lifetime.
Greaves-Smith, the youngest of four children - two boys and two girls born to Frederick and Mildred Greaves - grew up in the Seventh-day Adventist Church and was taught to practise what she preaches.
“My father was a very wise man. When there were fights between the siblings, both children would receive a spanking. Dad said one person cannot fight, and so to avoid a spanking, we kept our fights and disagreements to the minimum. He was an undertaker by profession and also a small cane farmer. I enjoyed going to the field with him and chatting with the persons working there.”
Greaves-Smith recounts playing hide and seek in the factory space where her father stored coffins back in St Lucy, Barbados, and riding home from school in a hearse. It is no wonder she is as fearless as they come.
But not only is she fearless, Greaves-Smith has a heart of gold and has been involved in the work of adding value to lives for the longest while.
“At a very early age, we learnt about caring for the less fortunate. Every visitor to our house was given an item, usually food stuff, by my mother when they were leaving. She would make up parcels for us to deliver to persons in the area, especially the old and indigent. We were taught to value and respect everyone. No matter their current situation in life - the cane cutter and the doctor - we had to show the same respect to both.”
Greaves-Smith is a member of the Rotary Club of Mandeville, a past president of the club, and a past assistant governor of the Rotary District 7020. She is an appointed justice of the peace for the parish of Manchester. Interestingly, both her parents were justices of the peace in Barbados.
“I am particularly proud of my year as president of the Rotary Club of Mandeville as it was during my tenure that we built and furnished two classrooms at the New Green Primary and Junior High School, contributed equipment valued millions of dollars to the Mandeville Regional Hospital, and did extensive repairs to a home for an elderly couple in Huntley. The wife was partially deaf and her husband was blind. Assisting them was extremely rewarding. I know that service is the price we pay for our space on Earth, and to whom much is given, much is expected.
Reliable support system
With a flexible, yet demanding job at Sagicor, the family woman said there were difficult days, but with her support system, she learned to adjust.
“I am really grateful for the career path I chose at Sagicor as I was able to structure my days to fit my schedule. My husband took the kids to school in the mornings. I did pick-ups in the evenings, the extra lessons, scouts, girl guides, basketball, netball and, of course, the homework.
Though her children are now grown, Greaves-Smith said that weekends are dedicated to family and under no circumstance is that compromised.
“It’s a lot easier now that my children are grown, but I still make sure that we spend time with them. We arrange family events and holidays, and we travel together now. When they were younger, we looked at places in Jamaica that we would like to visit, and then we make it happen. One activity that we always did, we would just go for drives all around the parish. It was simple, but fun.
Greaves-Smith added: “We would also plan overseas family trips in the summers. We are creative nowadays, especially because of COVID. My daughter, who is a user-experience designer, is married and lives in Toronto, so yesterday, we baked using WhatsApp video, following the recipes together. My son, an electrical engineer, who lives in Kingston, is my willing assistant. Last month I made Conkees (the Bajan name for Dunkunoo). He chopped down the banana leaves for me.”
After years of taking so much too seriously and forgetting to live in the moment, Greaves-Smith said her focus now is enjoying her life.
“I love to travel to unusual places. My favourite destination is Las Vegas - and no, I do not gamble. Last year, we had z family reunion with my siblings in Grenada and three with my immediate family locally and overseas. My husband and I did a five-day trip around Jamaica. My son and his partner joined us on the western leg. I like to paint - abstracts – and also read light stuff and mystery murders. I watch old movies like Columbo and Matlock. I also like to go fishing, but I haven’t gone in a while … . I want to visit the pyramids in Egypt- hoping that this can still be a reality after COVID.”
More important, she said that she believes strongly in paying it forward and blessing others as she has been blessed.
“Many years ago, my manager took a chance on me. He hired me knowing that I was a foreigner without a market to sell life insurance. He took that chance, and I am forever grateful. Now, there are many instances where I see children and young people who just need a chance. I gladly assist and pay it forward. Sometimes it’s the only chance they may get, and I am always pleased with the outcome,” Greaves-Smith said.