MONICA Felix is a gem. A retired nurse, she’s one of the most down-to-earth persons you’ll ever meet (if you’re that lucky) and she’s terribly sweet. I interviewed Mrs. Felix via telephone recently and she had me grinning from cheek to cheek. She’s truly a people’s person and it’s easy to see why she’s a member of the Soufriere Pitons Lions Club.
Monica has been a member of the club for years and she absolutely loves it. It’s home to her, and the experience, according to Monica, is like no other.
“I joined the club in 1986. It was always my desire to join a non-profit charitable organization so I joined the Soufriere Pitons Lions Club when Lions Club International gave the green light for women to become Lions,” she said.
“I like to serve those who are less fortunate and as a community health nurse I saw a lot of underprivileged people. Seeing the patients at the health center is one thing but going to their home is another thing. When you go to their homes you realize that some of them have nothing to eat and nothing to give their children. When I went home, I brought all these problems with me. In a non-profit organization I can (help more),” she explained.
The Lions club turned out to be just the place for her. She dived into her duties with a heart full of pride and nothing could describe what she felt inside.
“On a quarterly basis our club, the police, and the mental health nurse at the Soufriere Hospital get together and we pick up all the destitute and the mentally ill persons between Choiseul, Soufriere and Fond St. Jacques and we bring them together. We bathe them, shave them, clothe them and feed them. I couldn’t have done this on my own so being in an organization like that gives you a bigger table,” she added.
Monica has a big heart and helping others, no matter how big or small, means the world to her. She is committed to the club and always gives 100% whenever she’s on the field. Monica recently received the Melvin Jones Fellow Award for dedicated humanitarian services, one of the most prestigious awards given by the organization.
“Melvin Jones is the founder of the Lions Club. The international (club) encourages all clubs to nominate a hard-working Lion to give them an award of that magnitude so the board in my club came together (and) I was nominated to be the recipient of that award,” she said.
Monica has received many other awards from the club including Lion of the Year and President of the Year.
“As an active nurse and housewife, serving the less fortunate has never been a deterrent to this lion. She held various club positions on several counts such as president, secretary and treasurer. At zone level she served as Zone Chairman with responsibilities of supervising five lions clubs and two Leo clubs. She served as Region Chairman where she monitored the services of clubs from Barbados, Grenada, St. Vincent and St. Lucia,” the club said in a statement.
According to the group, “her energy and outstanding performance continued and permitted her to serve at district level in the capacity of District Diabetic, Cancer Awareness and Lions Club International Foundation Campaign Coordinator. Mrs. Felix is known for championing major Lions community projects, such as health fairs with emphasis on vision and cancer with focus on prostate and breast cancer screening and fundraising for children who are visually impaired.”
It’s one of the reasons why she is revered. Funny enough, Monica never planned on being a nurse. In fact, it was the last thing on her mind. She was determined to become a police officer but God had other plans. And of course, God always orchestrates things so beautifully.
“I think nursing is a call for me,” she said with what seemed like a smile on the other end of the line.
“I always wanted to be a police woman but when I applied they wrote back and said I was too young. I think I was about 16 at the time. A friend told me they were hiring nurses at St. Judes and I applied and got a response. It’s not that I wanted to be a nurse, there was nothing to do after I left school. Since I did not get through with being a police officer, I applied to do nursing and I was accepted at the nursing school,” she explained.
There was a gentleman from Micoud, I remember very well. I gave him a bed bath and when I was finished it was not that it was bad, but in my mind I did not do a good job.”
She still remembers an experience with one of her patients.
“There was a gentleman from Micoud, I remember very well. I gave him a bed bath and when I was finished it was not that it was bad, but in my mind I did not do a good job. I took him on a wheelchair and I took him to the shower and I gave him a full bath. I said to myself if it was my mother, I would not have liked to give her a bed bath so I gave him a full bath and I took him back to his bed and I felt satisfied,” Monica added.
According to her, “from there, everything I did for a patient I did it like I was doing it for my mother, father or for a sibling and I retired as a nurse and I cannot regret because whatever I did, I did it well.”
She certainly did and retired at one of the top positions in nursing. The Soufriere resident is a hard worker and even though she’s still as busy as ever, she’s enjoying every bit of retirement. The 64-year-old loves spending time with her grandkids (she has two wonderful sons whom she loves dearly) and she also loves a good party.
Her greatest passion?
“Living a happy life.”