99 Year Old Thanks God For His Love

Written by: Phillip E. L. Castell, Director, Communication, Public Affairs & Religious Liberty | Friday, November 24, 2017

The auditorium at the PCJ Building on Trafalgar Road came to life on the wet  Sunday afternoon of November 19, 2017, but it could not dampen the spirit of family and friends who came together to celebrate the 99th birthday of Hazel Walters who was more than pleased to celebrate this important milestone with loved ones.

Hazel, who is affectionately called mamma and Sis. Wallie, turned 99 on November 17, 2017   and was overjoyed to see many of her relatives and church family members who she had not seen in a while.

She was seated at the head table at the front of the auditorium and was the recipient of much love from her family, including grandchildren, Marsha-Jay Marshall and Melissa and Jodi-Ann Dallas. Her two children, Enoch (Bobby) Walters and Donna Dallas ensured everything went seamlessly as the evening progressed.

Hailed as a woman of virtue and nobility by her peers, Hazel’s warm personality and quiet demeanor made it easy for people to love her. Her gift of creating sumptuous meals in the kitchen stood out for many and made her the favorite cook for most of the family gatherings.  

Senior Pastor and President of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in East Jamaica Conference, Pastor Eric Nathan,   brought greetings on behalf of the Conference and presented Sis. Hazel with a gift basket on behalf of the church.  He also thanked her for being a good servant of the Lord during the years that she gave service to the church when she could.

The chief servant leader commended the family for celebrating this milestone with Hazel while she is alive, citing that many times we wait until people are no longer with us to sing their praise. “We have learnt that the time to show love and respect and appreciation to people is while they are alive,” said Dr. Nathan when he addressed the gathering of over one hundred persons. Pastor Carl Cunningham, Assistant to the President in Evangelism and Leadership and the one with direct responsibility for senior citizens in the Conference, congratulated Hazel on reaching this significant milestone in her life Cunningham said with the heightened awareness on the importance of health in society, more persons were living longer thus creating the need for greater ministry and care for the aged.

“Senior citizens are not people we want to be sorry for, we want to empower them and celebrate with them for they have a lot to offer to us,” Cunningham said.

Juliet  Scott, retired principal of the Hagley Park Prep. School and longtime friend of Hazel Walters, put the length of their friendship into perspective when she shared that it predated the advent of social media. 

“My granddaughter received her invitation via social media. Unfortunately, I am not an online person because as far as I am concerned and perhaps Mamma Wally will agree, the only thing we know about online is to put clothes online.”

The younger senior citizen’s comment caused the audience to burst into laughter but Scott continued to disclose that the deep friendship that

exists between Hazel and herself began as a result of them working together in the kitchen at Camp Don in Robins Bay.

Back in the 1970’s and 80’s,  summer camps for Adventists were held at the legendary Camp Don and it was here that Hazel reigned as queen in the kitchen for many years. She was part of the team that cooked thousands of meals to satisfy hungry campers from all over the Conference which at that time included Portland & St. Mary.

“Sis. Wally had the ability to convert the food you didn’t want to eat in the morning at breakfast to something you could eat at lunchtime and what was left at lunchtime she could turn into something everybody would want at dinner, “said Dr. Donna Brown, Education Director, EJC and a close friend of the family who was invited to the birthday celebration.

Brown shared that as a youngster she had problems eating the camp food but Sister Wallie knew how to solve that problem with her cooking.

“People went to camp just to eat Sis. Wallie’s food, “Brown said with a smile. 

In her response to the outpouring of love from her family and friends, Hazel thanked God for his blessings upon her.

“I am asking everyone to listen to my puny voice,” she said. “I don’t know much but what I can say tonight is that God is good. He is so good to me and I have to give him thanks for his love, His mercy and his protection over us.”

The gathering of family, well-wishers and friends which included members from the Trench Town, Hagley Park and Andrews Memorial SDA Church, cheered her on as she heaped thanks and praise to the God of heaven who had blessed her with long life.  

 In giving the closing remarks, son Bobby extended an open invitation to everyone present to her 100th birthday celebration should the Lord lend her life.

“The fact that you have been invited here today means that if God does give her 100 years you all are invited to be there,” he said.

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