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Kittitian Mother Is Human Transportation For Her College Son

Updated on February 19, 2017
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MsDora grew up, received early education and taught school in the Caribbean. Read her love and pride of St. Kitts - people and place.

------------------Merlene Connor----------------- 2013 Kittitian Mother of the Year
------------------Merlene Connor----------------- 2013 Kittitian Mother of the Year | Source

The 2013 Kittitian Mother of the Year Award was presented to Merlene Connor who lives in a rural area of Saint Kitts. Merl (as she is affectionately known) was nominated for the award by the classmates of her 20 year old son, Devrone Connor who is a student at the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College in the capital city of Basseterre. For the past three years, the students have watched Merl’s dedication and determination in her struggle to ensure that her disabled son receives a college education.

Devrone was born with a birth defect which caused his feet to remain underdeveloped, resulting in his inability to walk. During his infancy through preschool days, Merl worked in preschool programs and was able to enroll him in the facility where she worked. It was easy carrying him in her arms. Later, it was still manageable carrying him on her shoulder to primary school. By the time he turned twelve, it became uncomfortable to carry him any other way except on her back. She has become human transportation for him ever since.


Merl and her son traveling downhill on the footpath.
Merl and her son traveling downhill on the footpath. | Source

The Real Problem

Devrone has a wheelchair which he keeps on the college campus. When he gets there, he can maneuver his way to his classes. The problem is not getting him to the campus, although there is a twelve mile travel distance between the campus and his home. The real problem is the location of their house—about two hundred yards from the main road, with a footpath inaccessible to any type of wheels.

On leaving the house in the morning, Devrone gets on his mother’s back, and she travels downhill about one hundred yards. She must step on stones across a small wadi which becomes a stream during the rainy season. When she crosses over, she must trudge another hundred yards uphill, finally climbing up five steps. She can put him on the steps while she takes a rest before the bus comes. Then she lifts him again to his seat on the bus. On arrival at the school, she lifts him from the bus, and takes him on to the school premises. Then she takes a two minute walk to work at a child nursery. She reverses these steps at the end of Devrone’s school day.

The problem can be solved if Merl Connor and her family relocate to a house near the bus stop; and if they could, they would. There has never been enough income for them to consider that option, and Merl has been unsuccessful in obtaining assistance. She has also seen her share of unemployment, having been only recently re-employed.


Merl and her son before they cross over to the uphill climb.
Merl and her son before they cross over to the uphill climb. | Source

Responses to the Award

Merl thinks that what she does is a normal part of her duty. “The life of every child is precious” she says, “and having a disability should not rob him of the opportunity to have a normal life.” She never thought that she would be awarded for performing a routine part of a mother’s duty to a son. Since her selection to receive the award, she and Devrone have been solicited for radio and television interviews, and she is still wondering what the fuss is all about.

She and Devrone are very close, and are usually on the same side in family discussions with the other four children (two males and two females). This time, however, Devrone does not share his mother’s view that what she does for him is normal and routine.

“It’s about time for my mother to be recognized,” he says. “My mother is making a huge difference in my life. She could have left me at home, because of my disability, but she chose not to, and I am very grateful.” Devrone who is on track to graduate with an Associate of Arts in General Studies is quick to point out, “This would not have happened, if it were not for my mother.” His goal is to become a physician, and the family supports his dream.


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The Award Sponsor

The award was presented in a Mothers’ Day ceremony at the Manhattan Gardens Conference Center in Basseterre. The event was sponsored by The Reign of Elegance, an organization dedicated to the social development of Kittitian youth, under the direction of Mrs. Telca Wallace.

The organization hopes that by highlighting positive motherhood, they present exemplary role models for the youth and for other parents. They have presented a Mother of the Year Award every two years since 2007.

Update

From left: Sita Farrell of the US Embassy, Telca Wallace of Reign of Elegance, Merlene Connor (Devrone's mom), Devrone Connor (seated in wheelchair), Ambassador Dr. IzBen Williams, Ms. Della Stanley (President & Exec.Assistant of Ripple Institute).
From left: Sita Farrell of the US Embassy, Telca Wallace of Reign of Elegance, Merlene Connor (Devrone's mom), Devrone Connor (seated in wheelchair), Ambassador Dr. IzBen Williams, Ms. Della Stanley (President & Exec.Assistant of Ripple Institute). | Source

On Monday, January 27, 2014 Devrone Connor received a new wheelchair for use on his college campus. The wheelchair was donated by the joint efforts of the Wheelchair Foundations in Barbados and the United States.

The presentation was made to Devrone at The Ripple Institute in the presence of his mother and officials from The Ripple Institute and Reign of Elegance.

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    • brittvan22 profile image

      brittvan22 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Very inspirational and a great demonstration of the love of a mother and the strength of the human spirit!

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 4 years ago from london

      Normal for her, no doubt.

      Still, rather special and worth the accolade. A beacon or benchmark to mothers, (indeed all of us) on selfless love.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 4 years ago from Norfolk

      An exceptional mother and an inspirational story MsDora. So many children no longer appear to value their education and yet here we have this shining showing us how great our children can truly become if they have a powerful and loving figurehead. This is a true example of what I call 'women power'. Voted up, thanks for sharing.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      wow MsDora what an inspirational heart touching real feel hub.. you put together the right words ..damn this was just amazing

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Frank, I'm wondering if I learned some story telling tips from you. That's quite possible. Thanks for your comment.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Sallbea, "women power" indeed. I admire the mothers who demonstrate that. Thanks for commenting and voting.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Manatita, I agree with you. Merl is a great example of selfless love and dedication to her child.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Brittvan, thanks for that phrase "strength of the human spirit." Both mother and son manifest that.

    • Purpose Embraced profile image

      Yvette Stupart PhD 4 years ago from Jamaica

      What an inspirational story? I understand the terrain she has to travel with her son on her back, she really has a courageous heart. Thanks MsDora for sharing this story as we approach Mothers Day.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Wonderful and inspiring. I like the big smiles in the photos. To have done it for so long so successfully shows great spirit. Around here the boy would have been kicked out of the house at 18 :-(

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well that was amazing and beautiful and brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing this remarkable woman's story with all of us.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      You're welcome, Billybuc. Merl is a remarkable woman indeed, and an inspiration to all of us.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Eric, both mother and son are pictures of cheer. He is extremely grateful to his mother.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Purpose, thanks for your input. Merl is really a good poster mother for me this year--and I hope for others.

    • samazi profile image

      Masimba Mukichi 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      There is nothing greater than a mother's love. Indeed Merlene is a wonderful mother and her story has inspired me. Thanks for highlighting her plight, it can give other mothers in the same predicament that they are not alone and there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Samazi I wish Merlene would read your comment. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Nicole Winter profile image

      Nicole A. Winter 4 years ago from Chicago, IL

      What an incredible woman, thank-you so much for sharing her story, here, MsDora! I really hope that someone involved in the awards program can do something to give this family a hand, they're a shining example of how important a devotion to education is. So many kids today aren't "bothering" to go to school these days, the difficulties these two face should be taught in every classroom and lauded in every home.

    • profile image

      Blackvelvet Burroughs 4 years ago

      Oh my! Stories like this reminds me that there is hope yet for the human race. Such a selfless act of love! If that isn't love then I really don't know its true meaning. I admire both mother and son for the dedication both has towards Devrone's education. He has not allowed his disability to set him back and that is indeed an inspiration that students who have the normal function of all their body parts but who are wasting away their opportunity at advancing themselves can use as motivation.

    • profile image

      Dee 4 years ago

      Speechless

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Dee, thanks for letting me know you read it. I appreciate your one-powerful-word comment.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Blackvelvet, thanks for your input. I agree that this story is about love and home and also rebuke for the time-wasters who are physically able.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Nicole, thanks for your comment. The awards people are soliciting help and I'm hoping that they will get some very tangible assistance. Mother and son deserve it.

    • profile image

      So Precious 4 years ago

      I have always seen this woman doing this and have always admired her dedication to her son, since he was ;ittle, i love it, congratulation u deserve it

    • profile image

      Amazed 4 years ago

      This is such a heart warming story. I got goose bumps reading this. God will reward you both in a great way for demonstrating to others what love really is.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      SO PRECIOUS and AMAZED, I will pass your comments on to Merlene. I agree: She deserves it!

    • profile image

      Carrie smith 4 years ago

      Where can I send a donation to her. Her actions deserve rewards and praises. It shows the length she is willing to give her son a bright future. I wish the parents I deal with on a day to day basis had 10% of this lady's will and determination

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Carrie, I am encouraged by your kindhearted response. Thank you very much for your willingness to help. If you send me your contact information at my email address (msdoraspen@gmail.com), I will pass it on to the award organizers. They'd appreciate talking with you. Hope your parents can be inspired by her story.

    • profile image

      Cyndie D 4 years ago

      This is what I call LOVE, love that knows no limit. I want to personally say how I admire Merelene Connor, she is a shero and an example to all of us as to what is dedication and the true measure of love. I feel that we can come together and help improve her living situation so that in turn we can help her with her son and ease of mobility and in other areas..... I am all teared up and will be the first one to speak up about how we as citizens of St Kitts and Nevis can answer to her expression of love for her son Devrone and HELP.

      Let us show what "together for better" really means.... I love and admire you Merlene, you are an exemplorary Woman, Mother and Sister.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Cyndie, now you have me tearing up. Will make sure that Merlene get your comment. Thank you.

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 4 years ago

      Hi msdora.

      Graceful. Great story, wonderfully put together an " ordinary " to Merlene in reality and extraordinary mothers love to rest of the world. True love where only reward is joy and satisfaction of a giver. In this case the ' receiver' is grateful . As previously stated, The God sends a mother where He can't be in person.. .

      Voted up and beautiful.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Michael, thanks for putting the focus where it belongs--on true love between this mother and son. Really exemplary!

    • profile image

      florence burgundy 4 years ago

      No greater love than a mothers after God wow I give respect to this mother....so many mothers lock away their kids and are ashamed of them because they have a disability because of this mother this young man is going to have an education where he can work and care for his financial needs in years to come when Mom can no longer care for him...in today's world where it is mandatory for work place to hire people with disability and not discriminate...and if he go on to acheve his goal and become a physician that would great. Keep up the good work mom God's blessing on you.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Florence, thanks on behalf of Merlene for this comment. I'm sure she'd be encouraged. I am too.

    • profile image

      Yvonne 4 years ago

      Dora, this woman is truly a Virtuous Woman, “She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed… Proverbs 31: 26-28. This is such a heartwarming story! Please, email me information to contribute? Her son is so blessed, God chose this mother to mother him. Reading this story I can see the bond between mother and son. Both mother and son have benefited!

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks Yvonne. Your comments will be very comforting and encouraging to the mother. Truly virtuous!

    • profile image

      Sharon 4 years ago

      How much would it cost for a home closer, and if one could get this money together, how would one go about helping?

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Sharon, thanks for your interest. Please contact reignofelegance@outlook.com for an answer to your question. They would be very happy to speak with you.

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      That is a beautiful story! Thanks for sharing it with us. It's good for a mother to do everything she can to help her children succeed, but she has done much more than many woman have to do to accomplish that. Very sweet.

    • MsDora profile image
      Author

      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Katryn, I totally agree. She's not only a model; she's a super-model. Thanks for your comment.

    • profile image

      Christine Clarke 4 years ago

      Wow! What a touching story! She is an excellent mother...Awesome! God bless you abundantly Merl..

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      It is heart warming to read of this mother receiving the award, but even more wonderful to know that her responses to her son's needs are being highlighted and used to inspire others. It is precious to read of the thankfulness that her son has for her efforts. Thank you for sharing their story!

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      RTalloni, you're right. Many readers say they were inspired. Both mother and son are good examples of love within the family.

    • SAM ELDER profile image

      SAM ELDER 3 years ago from Home

      Devoted mother.. Your hub reminded me a song that if you like you can add into this great hub. It is called "Pearls" by Sade.

      There is a woman in Somalia

      The sun gives her no mercy

      The same sky we lay under

      Burns her to the bone

      Long as afternoon shadows

      It's gonna take her to get home

      Each grain carefully wrapped up

      Pearls for her little girl

    • MsDora profile image
      Author

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks Sam. The poem shares the theme of a mother's devotion. Thanks for your input.

    • Journey * profile image

      Nyesha Pagnou MPH 3 years ago from USA

      MsDora, This is truly an amazing story. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 3 years ago from Essex, UK

      Too often popular adulation is reserved for the latest celebrity pop star, film actor or sportsman who just does his/her job with a degree of talent.

      Too often true heroes go unsung. It's good that this woman - whilst seemingly only demonstrating a mother's love - should be recognised in this way for her commitment, devotion and selfless determination. I hope that the recognition leads to some material benefit to make life easier for her and her son.

      Thanks for sharing. Voted up. Alun.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks your observations and suggestions, Greensleeves. As far as I know, there are government agencies who offered help. Just hoping that they carry through.

    • ARUN KANTI profile image

      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 3 years ago from KOLKATA

      @MsDora- She has shown what a mother’s true love is. It is unlike anything else and is not bound by any law. The story should be an example for all parents to emulate and if the relationship is bound by such selflessness and unconditional affection the world would be a different place to live in! Thanks for the excellent hub. Voted up and shared.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Arun, thank you very much for visiting, reading and commenting. I totally agree with your observation: the world would be a different place.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is an amazing story about a wonderful woman. She is making a huge difference in her son's life and future. I hope things get easier for the two of them in the near future.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Alicia, thank you for your concern. The organizers of the event solicited help on her behalf, and I heard that some things were being done by other people in her interest.

    • profile image

      Lyna 12 months ago

      It is not sufficient to simply give this lady an award. With all the money that St Kits is reaping from the citizen by investment program, the government needs to step up right now to relocate this family in recognition of the mothers unusual dedication and humanitarian service to her son. She is more than a mother!

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 12 months ago from The Caribbean

      Lyna, thanks for reading and voicing an opinion. Great if the government would read and respond. I totally agree with you.

    • profile image

      Alexis 8 months ago

      truly an inspiring story and really nice gift of a wheelchair. Has there been any talk of assisting with paving of the road so that the chair can be out to use??

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 8 months ago from The Caribbean

      Alexis, thanks for asking. The pathway from Devron's house to the main road passes through a ravine; the better solution is for him to relocate. I haven't heard any talk of that. He has an even bigger problem now. The business places in St.Kitts are not wheelchair accessible (that's what I hear) so now he's ready to work, he cannot find employment.

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