Over 40 TSTT employees were commended for their selfless acts of kindness during the devastating floods that affected thousands in October. The employees were also presented with tokens of appreciation during a brief function recently hosted by Dr Ronald Walcott, TSTT CEO, at the company's Port of Spain headquarters.
The staff from the Access Plant Department, supported by other technical and administrative staff, voluntarily braved the floods and muddy conditions to render yeoman service to the affected communities of Greenvale Park, Ascot Gardens, Bamboo Settlement, St Helena, Valsayn, Madras and Las Lomas. Many of the employees dedicated their time for up to five days, from the Saturday to Wednesday, to transport persons from flooded homes, assist with the home cleaning and restoration efforts of many others and ensure that the national disaster and response personnel and persons affected by the floods could communicate with each other and stay in touch with friends and family.
Dr Walcott congratulated the employees on behalf of the TSTT board and management, noting that he was proud of their continued generosity to others during times of need. "You can only assess a person's true character when things are not going well. I am proud of the way our staff continue to respond to others in distress. Without any prompting from management, they called and indicated their desire to go into the affected communities to help in any way they could. This started a humanitarian response that grew and became a coordinated team effort. The employees of TSTT demonstrated the true humane characteristics of love and compassion to others in times of need."
Dr Walcott noted that in order to get things done in those chaotic times, they also had to demonstrate initiative, leadership and innovativeness. “I thank each and every one of you, including those who, despite their own personal challenges during the flood, came out to ensure that the nationwide network stayed up and working. Your efforts were in no way small and we are justifiability proud of you all."
Debra Nicholas-Brizan, manager of Access Plant, North East stated that the Access Plant employees were heavily represented in the flood relief efforts because TSTT's outside plant utility trucks, vehicles and equipment were suitable for moving around in the flooded areas and for the cleaning and other tasks that needed to be done. She shared that there was no hesitation from staff to come out to assist, as well as to purchase any equipment, cleaning supplies and food that was needed, including power washers, baby items and toiletries.
"My team was in Ascot Gardens and Greenvale Park from Saturday to Wednesday. We tried to bring as much help and relief as possible by assisting persons to move furniture and appliances out their homes and clean. It was really devastating to see the amount of loss that people went though. There was as much as nine feet of water in some homes."
Nicholas-Brizan also commended the staff for their efforts. "The love showed to others they didn't know was heartwarming. Some of the employees were covered in mud but they stayed and worked tirelessly until late into the night, every night."
Ronnie Mohammed and his team from the Labs and Innovation Department were also recognised for ensuring that free WiFi service was installed at several Relief Centres including the La Horquetta Regional Complex, the La Horquetta South Government Primary School and the community centres at Arouca, Madras, Malabar and Las Lomas. They were out in the areas until midnight on the Saturday and Sunday to install the WiFi for use by both the residents who were staying at the shelters, as well as the volunteers and national disaster and response personnel who were there during the day coordinating the relief efforts. " The affected residents who were at the shelters were elated when they could connect and communicate with their friends and family. There was even a big roar of approval at one of the shelters when an announcement was made about the free WiFi. I felt good to be able to provide some sort of comfort during this highly distressful time by trying to bring some sort of normalcy back to the lives of those affected."