Work and winning VIP Award has helped me cope after personal tragedies
When St George’s Club concierge Lorrie Bennett-Bean first heard she was nominated for the Visitor Industry Partnership (VIP) award for front of the house service, she didn’t want it.
Her son, Torrie Baker, had been killed in a cycle accident only eight days before she received the VIP notice. Her husband Millard Bean encouraged her to accept the nomination.
“When I took the letter home he was jumping for joy,” she said. “He was saying, you are going to win this, but I just wasn’t feeling it at all. It was because of him that I pushed through to get through to the event. I did it for my husband.”
Tragically, her husband was killed just 17 days after her son when a roof collapsed on a job site at Morgan’s Point. Several months later she is still learning cope with the horror of losing two loved ones in such a short period of time. Her work has helped tremendously in the grieving process, simply by giving her somewhere to focus her thoughts and energy.
“I have been at the St George’s Club for 24 years,” she said. “I love being at my job. It has helped me get through this period.”
Many of the clients at the St George’s Club have expressed their love and support and sent flowers and cards.
She has plenty to distract her in her job. She is the administrator. She replaced Pam Gordon when she became United Bermuda Party Premier in 1989. Mrs Bean also works front desk on Saturdays, and acts as sales consultant. She is often the first person to deal with complaints from clients.
“I am the type of person if someone comes in with a complaint, I tell the boss, ‘I got it’,” she said. “I dive into it. I calm them down. I let them get it out. Then I say ‘okay sir, let’s fix this’, very calmly and they back right down. Some of them are really angry. It could be something minor but to them it is a lot, to them it is major because they are paying maintenance fees and so forth.”
Mrs Bean also takes on the role of destination bridal consultant at the St George’s Club, helping brides who live abroad get married in Bermuda. She tries to keep the weddings she arranges in St George, locating the ceremony on Clearwater Beach or in Somers Garden, for example.
“All the bride and groom has to do is show up,” she said. “I do everything from the tent rentals to setting up their location, to decor. I hire someone to come in and do that for me. I am hands on making sure that everything is done correctly for that.”
Just recently she oversaw her biggest wedding yet when a bridal party of sixty people came off a cruise ship in St George.
“The cruise ship was an hour late but we got her there on time to start the wedding at 5.30pm,” she said. “The bride came off the cruise ship with her housecoat on and her make-up done. She got dressed here at St George Club and was married on the beach. It was really beautiful. This was the first time I had a bride off a cruise ship. Most of the time they do stay here. She stayed at Southampton Hotel for her honeymoon night.”
Mrs Bean started planning the wedding last August and oversaw every detail. At 9am the day of the wedding she was on the beach helping a crew to rake away seaweed and pick up trash.
“I am the type of person that if you want something done right you have to be there in person,” she said.
She is an affiliated member of the Open Door Christian Assembly. Her pastor often does the ceremonies and women from her church handle the cake and the wedding decor.
“I enjoy doing the weddings,” she said. “I am the type of person if I can make you happy, I am happy. I love to see a smile on someone’s face. I love to bring people joy.”
She said she had to put her own personal tragedies aside when dealing with weddings.
“It’s their special day,” she said. “I get a lot of joy out of seeing people get married.”
Mrs Bean said her church had been a major source of strength and support. At Open Door she is intercessory prayer leader, a dance minister and is on the finance committee.
“I am a busy person, and I love it,” she said. “Everyone is looking at me asking how is she doing what she is doing. It is only by the grace of God.”
She now has a lot to look forward to as her oldest son Latwon Bennett, is expecting his first baby, a baby girl. She is hoping it will be born on her son Torrie’s birthday. She also has daughter Israel, 13 and son Keijon Baker, 19.
“It put a smile on my face when I won the VIP award,” she said. “I didn’t expect to win, but it has helped me.”