L-R Betty Bethel, Director, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Grand Bahama; Heild, Jones and Bahamas Minister of Tourism, The Honorable, Obie Wilchcombe.
FREEPORT, Grand Bahama Island – A few short weeks after the nation celebrated 43 years of Independence, a strong feeling of pride took over the island of Grand Bahama as Chavano “Buddy” Hield and Jonquel Jones returned home.
Coming back home for the first time since both being selected as the 6th pick at the NBA and WNBA 2016 drafts, respectively, Hield, an Eight Mile Rock boy and Jones, a Holmes Rock girl had a lot to celebrate.
Arriving one day apart, Jones, followed by Hield were both greeted to a hero’s welcome by family and friends, government officials, sponsors, supporters and Junkanoo fanfare sending off waves of excitement.
The arrival was an emotional time for the athletes and even more for the families who were brought to tears.
To kick off their homecoming, the Ministry of Tourism, in partnership with the Ministry for Grand Bahama, hosted its newest ambassadors to two separate welcome dinners at the Pelican Bay Hotel.
Director for the Ministry of Tourism’s Grand Bahama Office, Betty Bethel, shared with the press that, “The Ministry of Tourism appreciates and understands the value that this grand duo has to offer, not to just our island but to “The Islands Of The Bahamas”
This sentiment of support for youth was further highlighted at a courtesy call for Jones and Hield at the Ministry for Grand Bahama.
Hield noted the need for him to keep pushing because a lot of kids look up to him, and the possibility of him encouraging a “future Buddy”.
As a part of his give-back, Hield hosted a three-day camp, sponsored by the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Nike Inc.
Hield said that as a child he would always look for camps to participate in and now that he is back home, just as many of today’s coaches and sports legends have done for him, he chooses to give back in the same way.
Hield gave special thanks to the Ministry of Tourism, saying “I can’t say how much they’ve helped me out … even when I was in the United States.”
Jones, being a long time childhood friend and sporting colleague of Hield also joined in with the camp and encouraged the youngsters to “stick it through’.
She said that, “if you have something you believe in and find the people that are backing you and want the best for you, go all the way with it.”
She added that the welcome home was heartwarming and rejuvenating for her as she prepares to go forth into the remainder of the season.
Soaking up the culture and local flavors of the islands was a sure treat for the duo as they attended the grand finale of Goombay Summer Festival.
The star athletes were VIP guests of the Ministry of Tourism, along with visiting coaches and other professional basketball players.
Taking a moment to relax and enjoy quality time with their families made their visit home worthwhile.