Known as a “can-do” man who is happiest out of the limelight, Thomas “Tommy” Wood’s work ethics and unpretentious demeanour have earned him the respect of many – and an award for service to his country.
Her Excellency the Governor, Mrs Helen Kilpatrick CB, has named Mr Wood to receive the Cayman Islands Certificate and Badge of Honour in 2014 for services to the Civil Service and to the country.
Since his civil service career began, some 34 years ago, Mr Wood has consistently distinguished himself on the job by his ability to multi-task with positive results, and an excellent attitude.
Hired as a Public Works Department (PWD) labourer in 1979, when he was 17 years old, Mr Wood’s initiative led to him becoming a carpenter soon thereafter, and after attending college and gaining practical experience, he eventually took a lead role as foreman in the early ‘90s.
Now one of three PWD supervisors, he leads a staff of 15 that is responsible for the maintenance of buildings. Mr Wood credits his successes to the guidance of his civil service mentor for over two decades, former PWD Manager George Manderson Sr.
As a young Supervisor of Building Maintenance, Mr Wood led a team which tackled field assignments ranging from building maintenance and upkeep, to complete building fit-outs, fencing, landscaping and other essential projects.
While his most memorable assignment from his early years remains the complete construction/fit-out of the interior of the previous Government Administration Building (Glass House), over the decades Mr Wood has come to enjoy managing the logistics and preparations for national events, especially for the annual observances of the Queen’s Birthday, Heroes Day and Remembrance Day.
Special assignments have ranged from managing prison projects (and using prison labour where possible), to establishing accommodations for Cuban migrants, and restructuring the facilities for various sections within the Department of Immigration.
Respected both in his workplace and in his community, Mr Wood has contributed significantly to police emergency operations, including serving for a decade as a Special Constable – especially in the areas of district policing, traffic management and crowd control.
A fixture on the Bodden Town Pirates’ Week Committee for three decades, he became the event’s vice-president several years ago, and elevated the quality of the heritage display to an extent that won his group several District Day awards. As a result, the National Pirates’ Week Committee requested Bodden Town to host a special extended cultural display in the capital in 2013.
Over the years Mr Wood has worked hand-in-glove with a well-known team of stalwarts and friends. He especially thanks Bodden Town Action Committee Chairperson, and former legislator, Heather Bodden for her leadership in various undertakings.
One such project was a commitment to weekly fish-frys, which served to bring the district together to raise funds to help area schools.
Mr Wood’s social involvement has also extended into sports – namely football and dominoes. He took up competitive football in the 1990s – and for several years was named the Cayman Islands’ Defender of the Year. The highlight of his three years on the national team was when they bested Jamaica in a major qualifying match. He has also served as a coach and referee, especially for the youth programme.
Similarly, the Bodden Town’s dominoes team, “PC Dynamite”, won a national championship in the 90s; and, as a member of the national dominoes team, Mr Wood represented the Cayman Islands well in local and overseas tournaments.
On top of all this, and when not otherwise engaged, Mr Wood still enjoys his long-time activity of being handyman and friend to the people of Bodden Town, and sharing in these activities with his wife Myra and his four children.