Bermuda Day Grand Marshal 2018 – What We Share: Honouring Contributions to the Filipino Association of Bermuda
Working in a country whose language and culture are not your own can be challenging. That is why the Filipino Association of Bermuda was first formed as a non-profit charitable organisation in 1997. They first participated in the Bermuda Day Parade in 1996, with the purpose of promoting unity among Filipinos and Bermudians in Bermuda. The Association represents Filipinos coming to work in Bermuda and helps them settle within the local community. It also encourages and develops the skills and talents of its members through a variety of social, cultural, athletic, and educational programmes.
Sonia Quintos Loudermilk, who has been on the island for 32 years and is one of Bermuda’s longest serving leaders in the Filipino community, was a former President of the Filipino Association and currently sits as one of the Board of Trustees. In that role she is like an ambassador to Filipinos arriving on the island. She assists with their employment issues, passport applications, and other consular matters, while generally helping them make a home from home. In addition, she has assisted distressed seafarers and workers sometimes providing them with temporary shelter and guidance. Sonia has been working at the Marketplace as Customs Clearance officer for 29 years and could be credited as the first individual to introduce Filipino food in the island’s Marketplace grocery stores.
One important aim of the Association is to share Filipino culture with Bermuda residents. To that end, Genoveva (Ghenie) Edwards, founding member, former Vice-President and current President of the Association, has been very active in organizing Filipino social and cultural events. She has also served as Chair of the Filipino Club 2000, whose main objective is to help its members in time of need and bring about closer cooperation between members and the community. She, too, has been on the island for 32 years and, as a devout Catholic, has served in St. Theresa’s Cathedral as a Proclaimer and a Eucharistic Minister. Married for 28 years, she and her Bermuda-born husband James Edwards have two daughters and three grandchildren. She has worked as an accounts clerk at Colonial Medical Insurance for 11 years.