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A tribute to Basil Neymour

Published: Sep 18, 2013

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Dear Editor,

The first time I had the privilege of meeting Basil Neymour was in the eight or ninth grade. Some association was hosting something to honor him and I was asked to say the poem “Phenomenal Woman” in honor of his wife.

Even at my young age I appreciated the fact that those planning an event for this man were wise enough to know that he wouldn’t accept an honor if his wife wasn’t honored with him.

Several years later Neymour took me on as one of his many personal projects. He ensured the necessary funds were in place when I needed them and that we had conversations following the end of each semester. These conversations included questions about my grades, the subjects I was studying and topics of interest related to those subjects. During those intimate moments in his living room with Mrs. Neymour at his side and my family with me was when I learned the most about him.

I loved to catch him right before the news started so that I could sit through it with him and hear his comments on politics and national issues. He had a passion for development, hence his career as an engineer. But he didn’t only build roads in those tiny island communities. He built lives; he built hope. He could see potential for development in anyone and anything. In spite of his material wealth, he didn’t see himself as more or less than anyone else.

It seemed like every time I visited, he had adopted another islander and brought him or her under his roof to live with him. Who does that? Neymour did. He lived Jesus’ instruction in Matthew 25:35: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.”

This man was more than a philanthropist; he was a father and a friend. Anyone who met Neymour knows how he loved sports, but observing him in those moments, I came to see that sports was just a means to an end. For him, it was the development of the young people. He would talk animatedly about the members of his track club: “Bianca doing this”, or “Brittany doing that”. He knew each of them by name; he knew what they were studying; what their struggles were; he knew because he cared.

He cared about young people and their total development. He wanted results on the track and in the gym, but he was even more passionate about results in the brain. He was a practical man, and for him it was not so much about the grade as it was the lessons learned.

My sincere condolences to the entire Neymour family, to his adopted children, to the entire sporting community, and to the Bahamian people who lost a giant of a man today. The roses we gave you while you lived can never fully compensate for all you’ve given us.

May we live as you lived as a tribute to you, with open hearts and wallets, always for the betterment of our country.

Five lessons we can take from Basil Neymour:

1. Love, respect and honor your spouse and family.

2. Invest in young people; they are pure potential. We have the power to harness that potential for good.

3. Invest in your country.

4. Work hard and the rewards will follow.

5. True riches lie in people, not in a bank account; they will determine your legacy. Invest in them.

– Anastarcia Huyler

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