Having been awarded the Order of Distinction in the rank of Officer, Veteran Broadcaster and Community builder, Pat Lazarus, says the recognition has refuelled her desire to serve.
With a career spanning decades on the radio hosting programmes; in front of the camera as a specialist presenter, and behind the camera producing documentaries, Mrs. Lazarus is known for her drive and professionalism.
In an interview with JIS News, Mrs. Lazarus says she was absolutely surprised and elated to receive the news while at home of being the recipient of a National Award.
“I felt really humbled and gratified that somebody has recognised the volunteerism and work. It’s good and it’s a great feeling. It buoys your spirit because it gives me confidence to move on to the next phase of what I have to do.
Any kind of recognition is a catalyst into getting things done, and people will now listen to you a little more and already I find that kind of response happening and I think it is because of this award,” Mrs. Lazarus says.
Her drive to achieve is reflected in her efforts at honing the skills of future television broadcasters in training at the Caribbean School of Media and Communication (CARIMAC) as an adjunct lecturer.
Colleague Lecturer at CARIMAC, Yvette Rowe, says over the past 15 years Mrs. Lazarus has remained a solid team member.
“She is dedicated to her work and to drawing the best out of the students and doesn’t mind putting in the extra effort if it can help her students understand and grasp the concepts and practise the skills they need in that particular area,” Ms. Rowe tells JIS News.
The same level of persistence she shows with her students is often reflected in her dedication to her community of Rock Hall.
She established the Explorers Club, an environmental group aimed at getting youth in the community to visit different parishes learning, discovering and experiencing Jamaica.
Her son, Simon Lazarus, says he is beyond proud of his mother, describing her as one of his biggest inspirations and who has taught him to always treat others as he would like to be treated – with respect.
“My mom had from the day we moved to Rock Hall, always looked at the Rock Hall All-Age School as a place where things needed to happen and she has always been an advocate and raising funds for them and doing everything.
I’ve never seen somebody leave our gate empty-handed. She has taken care of so many children through an arranged scholarship, school placements and arrangements that I just could not believe she could have done. It is hard to summarise it, but she has been there every single day and she did not stop,” he says.
Mrs. Lazarus’ unrelenting efforts not only helped her secure a sponsor to build the current Tree House at the Hope Zoo in Kingston, but also got the support of residents to develop the community of Rock Hall in St. Andrew.
She became an advocate for the improvement of conditions at the Rock Hall All-Age School, resulting in the institution getting additional classrooms built on the existing structure as well as an entirely new building for classes.
With visions of a multipurpose centre and a vendors’ market in her community, Mrs. Lazarus, who is also the current Secretary of the Rock Hall Citizens Association, remains passionate about achieving these goals.
“You know when you are losing heart about a project? Well I think this has given me a boost, so I think that I can sort of use it as leverage to get what I want done. I think that this award will help,” she explains.
Mrs. Lazarus joined a group of 126 exceptional Jamaicans, excluding members of the uniformed groups, who were honoured on National Heroes’ Day, October 19.