April 8, 2008
In honor of World Health Day, observed globally on April 7, 2008, Health Educator Ms. Shirley Wilkes paid tribute to the late Mr. Norman Dore, in an Award Ceremony held to honor sanitation workers at the Red Cross Building Chapel St. Charlestown. The ceremony was organised by the Ministry of Health in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA).
Tribute to Mr. Norman Dore.
Mr Norman Dore worked in the environmental health department- the sanitary department as it was then called. He started off in the 60s working as part of the sanitary gang in Gingerland, doing the usual- road cleaning, mosquito inspection, picking up garbage and advising people about keeping their premises clean. He worked along side persons like Mr Edmund “Eddy” Dasent. He quietly worked his way up the ranks to become foreman of the gang.
Sometime after, he was transferred to Charlestown district to work as a mosquito inspector, a precursor to what we know as vector control officer. He was very proud of his work and spoke of his daily work with pride. His job entailed going around seeking out stagnant water sources, peeking into person’s drums and coppers, flitting houses to run mosquitoes, poking among discarded tins, coconut shells and other things in people’s yards looking for what he called “wrigglers” (mosquito larvae). For us children, we knew the uses of DDT for bed bugs and mosquitoes, long before we really knew what DDT was. We would follow him from yard to yard on weekends and afternoons to help carry the flit can and the kerosene oil and find the wrigglers. Mr Dore was very active. He used an old bicycle to get around from village to village and this was also his means of transport from Gingerland to Charlestown everyday. He would talk about the areas he had to cover, sometimes within a day- Brown Hill, Victoria Road, Church Ground, Low Street, Upper Government Road, Bath Village. Bath was his favorite- doesn’t know why, but I know his friend Mr Alfred Clarke lived there.
He worked with environmental health officers like Mr Ashton Rawlins, Mr. Parry, Mr. Hanley, Mr Crispin Fahie, Mr Carlisle Hobson, Mr Stedroy Williams and Mr Anthony Webbe and Mr Curtis Morton Many had fond memories of him.
Mr Hobson remembered him as a quiet but firm man, who, when he said something must be done, expected it to be done. He was very reliable ““ trust Mr Dore to do it. He also remembered him as the “gang banker”. He lent money to the workmen when they needed some money to tie them over. He lent but with interest- to ensure that no man borrowed more than once – a real business man.
Mr Clarke remembered him as “the one who gave the orders”, since he also had the supervisory position for those who worked on the trucks and the cleaning gangs.
Mr Williams remembered him as an all rounder in the health department. He encouraged them when at times when things got tough in the department. He always wanted them to look their best in everything they do or in this situation, in places they go. Mr. Dore lent Mr Williams a tie to go to Mr. Webbe’s wedding for the one he had was not suitable for an esteemed environmental health officer to wear to a colleague’s wedding. He also fixed shoes both for the workers in health and the general public.
Mr. Dore worked for 25 consecutive years without taking a vacation- save the usual public holidays and Sundays. He loved his work so much that was always concerned that if he was not there, there will be no one who would want to go check for mosquitoes.
He was scheduled to retire on his 70th birthday on Feb 14th 1984. As the new year of 1984 approached, his family noticed a change in him. At this time he no longer rode his bicycle but caught public transport for work, so he would leave Gingerland as early as 6 am to take the first bus to reach to town for 6:30am to begin work. It was as if he didn’t want to leave behind any unfinished tasks before Feb 14th.
But, he never made it to his birthday. On Tuesday 3rd Feb 1984, he died at his workplace- right in front of the storeroom in the health centre yard. We were told that he had just returned from a trip to Gallows bay where he was attending to a mosquito problem, when he toppled over. He died before his colleagues could get him into the health centre. It was a shock to everyone. He is greatly missed by colleagues and family but we see him everyday when we walk into the environmental health office. His photo is one among the many stalwarts of Environmental Health in Nevis.