“All workers and a volunteer of Dar tal-Providenza recognised with the Premju Dun Mikiel Azzopardi in this pandemic year”

All workers and volunteer Gordon Hewitt of Dar tal-Providenza were honoured with the Premju Dun Mikiel Azzopardi in recognition for their hard work with and dedication to the residents of the Home during this devastating pandemic year.

During a short ceremony at the Curia in Floriana, Archbishop Mgr Charles J. Scicluna presented the Awards to Nadine Camilleri Cassano, Administrator of the Home and Marieanne Abdilla and Rebecca Theuma who represented all the workers. The Archbishop thanked the Home workers for their dedication and care for the residents. He also found time to call and congratulate volunteer Gordon Hewitt who is at the St. Vincent De Paule Residence. Gordon, who was very emotional talking to the Archbishop, was later received the award from Fr Ivan Scicluna, chaplain of the Residence.

The Dar tal-Providenza employees, total just under 300. These workers are distributed at Villa Monsinjur Gonzi, Villa Papa Giovanni and Villa Papa Luciani in Siġġiewi as well as in homes in the communities of Siġġiewi, Qawra, Birkirkara and Żurrieq.

Dar tal-Providenza employees awarded the Premju Dun Mikiel Azzopardi 2020

This year, as appropriate, the Dun Mikiel Azzopardi Award is to be given to all Dar tal-Providenza employees as a sign of gratitude and recognition for their dedication and extraordinary work done during the past hard months of the Covid-19 pandemic to keep the residents and their colleagues safe from the virus.

The Dun Mikiel Azzopardi Award, that was launched in 1995, recognises the work done by individuals as well as groups in helping out persons with disability as well as shows appreciation towards those that provide voluntary support to the work done at Dar tal-Providenza.

For all the Dar tal-Providenza employees, the year 2020 was neither normal nor easy but rather a year full of great challenges brought about by the pandemic. Who would have thought that the year that started with the Festa ta’ Ġenerożità on January 1st would turn into a year of such a destructive virus. This was really a year of great challenges but also a year that showed the big heart, the determination, the dedication, the creativity and the hard work at the Home. These were, are and will remain the Dar tal-Providenza frontliners and we are all grateful to them.

Since the pandemic broke out in our country, the Home’s Administration right away prepared and implemented contingency measures in agreement with the Social Care Standards Authority (SCSA) and the Health Authorities to ensure the wellbeing of the residents as well as of all the employees of the Home. Both in the first shutdown we experienced from March 9th to the end of May as well as the so-called second wave, our workers gave their all, without any exception, to follow these measures even though a lot of times this meant personal sacrifice more than normal. Thanks to the good will and cooperation shown by the workers even through worrying moments, fear and uncertainty, work carried on to everyone’s benefit. There was no lack of creativity either and employees created new activities for the residents who had their communal outings restricted. An effort was also made so that residents remain in continuous contact with their relatives through the use of technology.

The Dar tal-Providenza employees, that total just under 300, include administration staff, support workers, domestic staff, personnel in security and transport, maintenance, laundry, seamstressing, Ability Promoters, stores and the professionists. These workers are employed at Villa Monsinjur Gonzi, Villa Papa Giovanni and Villa Papa Luciani in Siġġiewi as well as in homes in the communities of Siġġiewi, Żurrieq, Qawra and Birkirkara.

Our heartfelt thanks go to all you workers and we are certain that Divine Providence will reward you more than hundredfold.

Gordon Hewitt, volunteer at id-Dar tal-Providenza and winner of the Dun Mikiel Azzopardi Award 2020

Gordon Hewitt, was born on June 16th 1947 and was brought up in Malta in the 1950’s and 60’s by his father who was in the British Army and his Maltese mother. After moving back to the United Kingdom, Gordon had his education first at St. George’s College run by Roman Catholic priests and then at the Catholic University College of St Mary’s.

On graduating in 1970, Gordon returned to St. George’s College where he taught Geography and the sport of cricket and Rugby Football. He ended up as a first-class cricketer and a Rugby Union international referee.

After 19 years, in 1989 Gordon had to take early retirement to look after his mother Sylvia who was seriously ill.

After she died, Gordon got married to Angie Aronica in 1994 and in the year 2000 they moved to Malta and settled in the village Żebbuġ. Once settled in, Gordon and Angie started volunteering at Dar tal-Providenza that they used to refer to as “our 2nd Home” They used to attend five days a week and used to refer to it as “the happiest place in Malta, where everyone smiles.” Sadly, Angie, died of a tender age, however Gordon volunteered on at the Home working closely with residents with a persistent commitment until his health permitted.

Most of Mr Hewitt’s daily work involved taking out residents around the gardens of Dar tal-Providenza and was very active in various activities organized for residents both inside as well as outside the Siġġiewi Home. We especially mention his involvement in drama and other main activities throughout the year. The last play he took part in with the residents was “Il-Presepju tan-Nannu” that took place at the Catholic Institute in Floriana a year ago. Mr Hewitt was also the one who suggested the name of St. Isidore for the Agricultural Centre at Dar tal-Providenza in Siġġiewi where during the week residents preserved aromatic herbs which were then sold to the general public. Every year, he saw to it that a mass is celebrated in the Home’s chapel on the occasion of the feast of St. Isidore, the patron saint of farmers, when residents who worked at the Centre were invited and participated.

Gordon says that the best gift you can give to anyone is to give your time to him or her. This is exactly what Gordon used to do with the residents of Dar tal-Providenza until a few months ago when his health did not permit him to. He built a nice rapport of a sincere friendship with a lot of persons with disability who will surely treasure it throughout their lives.

Gordon also used to volunteer his time with the refugees at the Laboratorju tal-Paċi in Ħal Far.

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