In 1979 Hurricane David devastated Dominica. Just days after that disaster, a young Greek-Ethiopian resident in Canada and barely out of his teens packed his bags, gathered some chain saws, and with other humanitarian-inclined Canadians, traveled to render aid to our island.
To make that sacrifice the young Demetrius Apokremiotis delayed his plans for flight school. After clearing roads and spending time helping Dominica, he has spent almost four decades as a pilot. Today the Air Canada pilot is making preparations to rush medical supplies and aid to Dominica with his Ethiopian friend Mel Tewahade, financial advisor to the Ethiopian Crown Council led by the grandson of Emperor Haile Selassie, Primce Ermias Sahle Selassie Haile Selassie.
This moving story of commitment to humanitarian service has brought tears to the eyes of many and mine. In the letter sent to Rebuild Dominica on September 22, 2017, Demetrius mentions a young boy “Danny Lugay” as playing music for him at the home of his hosts, the Lugay family of Goodwill. I know Danny Lugay, as we attended the Dominica Grammar School in the 1970s and lived not too far from each other. That same Danny Lugay is now Member of Parliament for Goodwill, the district in which Dominica’s main health care facility — the Princess Margaret Hospital PMH) — now lies in ruins. The aid being gathered with the leadership of Mel Tewahade and Demetrius Apokremiotis will aid the PMH rebuild, and serve the many Dominicans wounded by the cruel force of Hurricane Maria or those who are otherwise ill.
May this inspiring tale of service to humanity urge us on to redouble our efforts and aid those on Dominica and other parts of the Caribbean now suffering during this awful hurricane season of 2017.
Gabriel Christian, President