Former Bethel student stars in UK Navy

By Admin. Updated 1:37 p.m., Sunday, December 13, 2020, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).

Feature: Vincentian Shenelle Matthews has been recognized by the HMS Nelson for her excellent work ethic aboard the UK Navy vessel.

Matthews received the first award HMS Nelson UPO Efficiency Award on December 11, 2020.

In conferring the award on Matthews, the HMS Nelson Unit Personnel Office said that despite changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, Matthews, who was new in her role as a Duty Writer, was not fazed by the transition and displayed a strong work ethic.

The office said “when carrying out the role of Duty Writer she has been very professional and confident in helping others”.

“She has singlehandedly completed the Writers section on the monthly Compliance Management Check with minimum assistance; an excellent achievement for someone so junior,” the office said.

This is Matthews’ ninth month on the vessel.

But, her rise was not without difficulties in her personal life.

Matthews completed her secondary education in 2006 at the Bethel High School at age 17. She was pregnant.

After giving birth to her first daughter at the age of 17, Matthews said she went to work to be able to maintain her child, herself, and contribute to her family.

She said after years of moving from job to job, working long hours with menial pay, and little family time, her husband proposed the idea of her joining the UK Navy.

She said that she asked her husband why didn’t he go join, to which he responded: “I can’t swim but you can”. Matthews replied: “I can’t run but you can and you are in better shape than me”. She said that after some debate and consideration about the welfare of their two children, she applied to the Royal Navy in November 2018. At that time, they were not recruiting Commonwealth citizens, Matthews said, but a door opened and her application was successful.

The mother of two who hails from Roucha Bay, Campden Park, also shared that she experienced an emotional rollercoaster when her eldest daughter fell ill in 2019 to the point where she could barely walk.

She joined the Her Majesty’s Raleigh on September 2, 2019, then passed out successfully on November 24, 2019. She then started phase 2 on January 13, 2020, and passed out successfully on March 24, 2020. She was drafted to HMS Nelson strain from phase 2, where she serves as a Duty writer.

Matthews says she loves serving in the navy and is happy for the recognition given to her for her work so far, aboard the HMS Nelson.

She said today, she is a proud mother, wife, daughter, and friend.

Matthews believes that in life, it is not how you start, it is how you finish.

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