Our Community - Brenda Lee Henkis - "Nursing a dream in San Pedro"

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 11, No. 20            May 24, 2001

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Brenda Lee Henkis

Do you know what you want to be when you grow up? Many people don't. Some just go along with whatever becomes available and others pursue their dreams without success. Some say that their lives are in the hands of "destiny." Destiny or not, this week we are pleased to introduce a young woman who pursued her dreams and even though at times it seemed they had been shattered, there was light at the end of the tunnel - Ms. Brenda Lee Vasquez Henkis.

    Brenda was born in San Pedro on March 14th, 1964 to Monica and Flavio Vasquez. The quaint fishing village of Brenda's childhood provided a humble and happy environment to grow up in with her three sisters and two brothers. She attended elementary school on the island and as was customary in those times, Brenda then went in search of a job to help the family with expenses. She first worked as a waitress at Paradise Resort Hotel and then moved on to Ambergris Lodge (now Mayan Princess). Although she felt good that she was helping her family, Brenda had always dreamt of furthering her education and becoming a nurse. Because there were no night classes available on the island, Brenda felt that her dreams would be only that - dreams. Nevertheless, she was determined to reach her goals and decided to move to Chetumal, Mexico where she could work in the mornings and pursue her high school diploma in the evenings. She enrolled at La Valentin Gomez Farrias Secondary School and between work and study, Brenda was able to achieve her high school diploma. Having accomplished this filled her with a sense of pride and her ambition to succeed escalated. Brenda was on a roll and went on to pursue her nursing career. After three years of intense training and a year of required social service, performed at the Social Security Hospital in Chetumal, Brenda was certified as a nurse. Brenda excelled in her nursing studies and immediately after her certification received a number of job offers from private doctors in Chetumal. Nevertheless, she was ready to go back home and politely declined.

    Back in San Pedro and ready to put her skills to the test, Brenda was informed that she needed to complete six months of social services before she was licensed as a nurse here in Belize. It was this same time that her boyfriend proposed marriage to her and she accepted. She moved to Grand Cayman Island with her new husband where she worked with handicapped children for the next three years. Although her marriage dissolved, it provided Brenda with one of the most precious gifts she has ever received, a son - Eleseo Damian Henkis, now 12 years old.

    Brenda returned to her birthplace in 1991 and was immediately offered a sales position in the tourism industry. She accepted and worked in this field for a number of years. In November of 2000 though, Brenda was once again given the opportunity to work in the medical field. She describes the incident as "destiny." The opportunity came when a resident of the island accidentally chopped his finger and went to Brenda for treatment. Having the necessary skills to treat this type of wound, she willingly accepted the patient and attended to him on a daily basis until his finger was healed. Her kind gesture eventually reached the ears of members of the San Pedro Lions Club who, at the time, were looking for an administrator for their Lions Clinic. They felt that Brenda was suitable for this position and on November 28th, 2000 she was hired. Today, Brenda Lee Henkis plays a vital role in the everyday management of the San Pedro Lions Clinic. Besides nursing, her duties include the collection of consultation fees and daily record keeping. Brenda has also been very helpful with suggestions for the recent renovation of the clinic. Ms. Henkis told the San Pedro Sun, "I would like to express a heartfelt thank you to the San Pedro Lions Club for giving me the opportunity to live my dream. I am committed to do my best and to working closely with the Lions for the continued welfare of the clinic."

    During her free time, Brenda says she enjoys being with her son. Together they enjoy watching educational programs on the Learning and Discovery channels.

    Brenda Lee Henkis pursued her dreams during a time when things were very difficult. She strived for her goal, did not give up and was finally rewarded with an opportunity to do what she enjoys most. Brenda has brought new ideas and administrative skills to the Lions Clinic. She has reached for the sky and managed to touch the stars on her way to helping the lives of many people in "Our Community."

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