|August 11th, 2017 — If you attended the Sandy Point schools and remember when it was time for vaccination and there were two nurses who visited the schools. You would hear the students saying, I want the “white nurse” dig me, I don’t want the “brown nurse” dig me. The white and brown was used to describe the colour of their uniform. Well, this honoree was the one referred to as the “white nurse”.
Born on 1th April 1934, Pearline Venetta Henry, née Mc Intosh, is the daughter of Arnold and Mary Mc Intosh, an entrepreneurial couple who did business in the town of Sandy Point. Nurse Henry confesses that she always dreamt of becoming a nurse and insists even today that Nursing is a calling rather than a profession.
This clarion call to be a nurse was answered on 16th January 1956 when she started her training at the Cunningham Hospital, St Kitts. In 1959, after completing the initial phase of her training as a student nurse, she received her first certificate as a Registered Nurse. In 1960, she went on to successfully complete a course in midwifery.
She served as Staff Nurse at the Pogson Hospital, Sandy Point for eight (8) years – 1960-1968. She also served at the Peebles Hospital, Tortola, BVI from 1968-1971. She then returned to her homeland and served the Sandy Point Community as District Nurse/Midwife from 1972-1977.
In 1978, she was off to the West Indies School of Public Health, Jamaica, where she did the Health Visitor’s course. Upon her return home, she was posted in the St Pauls/Dieppe Bay district where she served as Public Health Nurse in charge until 1982, when she was promoted to the post of Family Planning Administrator St Kitts-Nevis, a position she held until her retirement in 1994.
In addition to certificates in Nursing, Nurse Henry has also been the recipient of several awards for dedicated service in this field. She has achieved many milestones in her personal and professional life, among these she counts her blessing of three (3) children, six (6) grandchildren and four (4) great grandchildren of whom she is justly proud.
Nurse Henry has contributed to her community as a caregiver, nurse, musician, seamstress and an overall positive influence and role model.
Music has always had a significant place in the young Venetta’s life as a piano was among the furniture in her parents’ home and both of her parents played. At the age of ten she was sent to music lessons at the home of Wilhelmina Armatrading (also known as Miss Meen).
Piano lessons continued for her until she was able to play the instrument for morning devotions, at the Sandy Point Girls’ School, and the Girls’ High School, Basseterre, St. Kitts. Her passion and natural talent were obvious and when she was fifteen years old Miss Armatrading started teaching her to play the church’s pipe organ.
During the years 1968-1971 while working as a nurse in Tortola, British Virgin Islands, Nurse Henry rendered musical service at the Methodist Church in Road Town. Similarly, in 1978 when she studied at the West Indies School of Public Health, Jamaica, she also played at the Coke Methodist Church in Kingston. She served her church at Sandy Point as organist and choir director from 1981 to 2000.
It is interesting to note that Nurse Henry declined to accept payment for her services. She said her services were voluntary as she wanted to give thanks to Almighty God for the talent that He had given to her.
After the year 2000 she reduced her schedule to one Sunday per month, then opted to retire in 2013. Over the years Nurse Henry has served not only the Methodist Church but has also made herself available to other churches on request, if their church did not have a resident organist, especially for weddings and funerals. These churches include the Moravian, Anglican, Roman Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist and Wesleyan Holiness.
She gave sixty-four years of her life serving in the music ministry, having started at age fifteen years, and retired at age seventy-nine years. She is therefore thankful to Almighty God for the blessings bestowed and for affording her the wonderful opportunity to use her talent in His service.
To God Be the Glory!!!