Presenting Mr. Alexander Maillis!


Extract and copyright
the Nassau Guardian

By MARK SYMONETTE
Guardian Staff Reporter

October 8, 2000
Five distinguished Bahamians were added to a growing list of "national heroes" on Thursday. Nurse Persis Rodgers, Fernley Palmer, Alexander Maillis, Mamie Astwood, and Leonard "Boston Blackie" Miller will now join Bahamian greats such as the late former Prime Minister Sir Lynden Pindling, Governor-General Sir Milo Butler and Sir Randol Fawkes on the heroes list. "Who is a hero?" asked Father Sebastian Campbell during brief ceremonies for the heroes in Rawson Square yesterday. "There are many answers. Somehow, regardless to how it is phrased we must agree that a hero is one who makes a national sacrifice; such a person swam against the tide of popularity, they were unselfish, with money never being a motivating factor." Fr Campbell said political party supporters were "too easily confused with" national heroes. Mamie Astwood has been a pioneer veteran educator, serving the country with unparalleled commitment, distinction, dedication and love for nearly 50 years. An English teacher, Mrs Astwood was described as an educator who lived teaching, "not looking for financial gain." Leonard "Boston Blackie" Miller's name is synonymous with sporting in The Bahamas.
He had been involved in sports-horse-racing, boxing, cycling, cricket, softball and swimming- for more than 50 years. He founded the Amateur Cycling Association in The Bahamas in the 1950s and 1960s, and actively participated in Nassau Harbour swimming competitions. He is currently a coach at the C C Sweeting Junior High school. In 1974 Miller defeated Willie Johnson, the Florida champion ranked 8th in the world, who at the time went on to fight and lose against World Champion Floyd Patterson. Alexander Maillis, a descendant of one of the early Greek sponge merchant families, was a World War II veteran and a former Senator. He was drafted into the U S Army where he was trained as a paratrooper, and in German language and studies at the University of Indiana before crossing to Liverpool and then to Normandy, France, where he was attached to General Patton's US 3rd Army Air Corps Intelligence.
Alexander Maillis, a descendant of one of the early Greek sponge merchant families, was a World War II veteran and a former Senator. He was drafted into the U S Army where he was trained as a paratrooper, and in German language and studies at the University of Indiana before crossing to Liverpool and then to Normandy, France, where he was attached to General Patton's US 3rd Army Air Corps Intelligence. On his return to The Bahamas, Maillis threw himself into the restaurant business, operating the Imperial restaurant and night-club. In 1958 he resumed his legal studies under Articles in Nassau, eventually becoming an Attorney in July, 1967. In politics, he was involved with both the United Bahamian Party (UBP) and the Progressive Liberal Party, serving for many years on the National General Council.

On his return to The Bahamas, Maillis threw himself into the restaurant business, operating the Imperial restaurant and night-club. In 1958 he resumed his legal studies under Articles in Nassau, eventually becoming an Attorney in July, 1967. In politics, he was involved with both the United Bahamian Party (UBP) and the Progressive Liberal Party, serving for many years on the National General Council. Fernley Palmer is one who believes that nothing is truly great in any man except character. Affectionately known as "Captain" Palmer received his education at Sands' School, Western Junior and Eastern Senior Schools. A building contractor by profession, Palmer has been a member of the Boys Brigade organization for more than 53 years. Palmer was cited nationally for his calibre of leadership when he received the Member of the British Empire (MBE) medal in 1983.
He had served as a member of the Port Authority and the Bahamas Telecommunications Corporation for many years. Persis Rodgers was described as a woman with a "heart of gold," who had literally devoted her life to helping the elderly without homes in the community. She had dreamed of becoming a concert singer before she even dreamed about nursing. Rodgers was one of the pioneer nurses for public health along with Zenobe Neely, Merlene Hanna and Maud Sands. The ladies would hit the streets to teach people how to live healthy lifestyles and to take pride in their homes. She worked many years for The Bahamas Red Cross, traveling the Family Islands. She was later assigned as the first Tubercular Welfare Officer. The Persis Rodgers Home for the Aged was the first private institution of its kind in The Bahamas.
It was conceived in 1971 as a real Bahamian home where the elderly who are not sick can look after themselves with pride. Built on the site of the old Children's Emergency Hostel on a four-acre site off Farrington Road, the home currently houses a maximum of 37 residents, but the demand for admission is high. Fr Campbell said that for three years such a ceremony was used to publicly recognize deserving persons as national heroes. The first was the late Sir Lynden Pindling who was officially hailed as a "National Hero." Sir Lynden died in August after a long, but valiant battle with prostate cancer. "We have been adding others to this great hall of fame," he said. "Heroes such as Dr Burnside, Nurse Hilda Bowen, Irene Coakley, John Chipman, the Region Bells (who performed Thursday), Richard Dean, George Mackey, Canon John Pugh, and Fr George Wolf among others."