|Mrs Valerie Facey, who recently received an Hon Doctorate from the UWI, with her late husband the Hon Maurice Facey. - Gleaner photo|
Excerpt from Observer column - 24 Feb 2014
When I hear folks criticising Jamaica and Jamaicans, I have to remind them that because ‘bad news sells’, we don’t hear enough about the heroes in our midst. It was therefore important that the Jamaica Association for the Deaf (JAD) had a special event last week to honour Valerie Facey for her 60 years of voluntary service to the organisation. We learned how she worked to establish the Danny Williams School for the Deaf when she discovered that there were many deaf youngsters virtually locked away for years with no skills training. In the 1950s, this twenty-something American-Jamaican was knocking on doors in such communities as Jones Town and Passmore Town to encourage parents to allow their children to develop skills. A brochure circulated at the event showed exquisite restoration of old books at the JAD bindery.
As expected, Mrs Facey passed on the kudos to her father-in-law Cecil Boswell Facey who was Chairman of the organisation, founded by Rev F.W Gilby in 1938, and to R. ‘Danny’ Williams who was also invited by his father-in-law Lister Mair to volunteer. But those who have worked with Valerie Facey know of her hands-on commitment to any cause she espouses.
Governor General Sir Patrick Allen saluted Mrs Facey’s “powerful influence for good” and her “tangible commitment to the marginalized and overlooked”. We saw Valerie Facey at work on the Advocacy Committee of the Women’s Leadership Initiative – she inspired us with her insight and respect for the opinions of the young mentees with whom we worked. A great lady indeed.
- Jean Lowrie-Chin