Retired Director of the Department of Emergency Management, Judy Thomas, has been challenged to commit her knowledge to writing.

Minister of Home Affairs, Adriel Brathwaite, who was among those attending a retirement function in her honour at Champers Restaurant, issued the challenge to Ms. Thomas, who has become known as a leader in disaster management.

???Find time to record your 49 years of knowledge,??? he said, noting that respect for Ms. Thomas in the area of disaster management went beyond Barbados??? shores and extended into the region.

It was the former Director, Mr. Brathwaite recalled, who exposed him to the jargon involved in disaster management when he assumed office in 2010. He especially encouraged her to use her knowledge and skills to engage young minds in the area.

However, he advised her to ensure that she found time to put herself first. ???Yes, you may have a wish list of the things you want to do, but take it slowly and do what you can. Retirement allows you to put off things until tomorrow,??? he said.

Mr. Brathwaite also noted that despite the challenges the DEM faced, the level of production belied its staff levels. That, he said, spoke to the fact that under her leadership, Ms. Thomas allowed employees to be a part of her vision in fashioning the department.

Meanwhile, Acting Director of the DEM, Kerry Hinds, expressed her gratitude and that of the department to her former boss, adding that Ms. Thomas had not only left an indelible mark on their lives, but had made a sterling contribution to Barbados and the region. ???I am sure there will still be opportunities for you to contribute,??? Ms. Hinds stated.

Meanwhile, Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, Ronald Jackson, described Ms. Thomas as someone who was very passionate about the business she was in, and from whom he had learnt a lot.

During the evening, tributes also flowed from Cabinet Secretary, Lucine Wharton-Isaac, a former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry; Permanent Secretary, Gayle Francis-Vaughan; and close friends, including Dr. Elizabeth Ferdinand.

Mrs. Francis-Vaughan described Ms. Thomas as a woman who gave ???unselfish, unstinting service with what she was given but still got the job done???.??An emotional Ms. Thomas thanked those present for their compliments, and instructed Ms. Hinds, to ???feel free to change anything that needed to be changed???.

???Disaster management is a dynamic discipline???it is an organisation that has to emerge out of a series of things, so feel free to make decisions based on the circumstances you find yourself in,??? she advised.

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