Table tennis stalwart Joseph Mansano received a Rotary honour at the end of February 2021.
The Paul Harris Fellow was bestowed by the Rotary Club of Central Port-of-Spain (RCCPOS) as part of its vocational service initiative to honour persons who have provided meritorious service.
Club president Neil Selman highlighted: “Joe’s selfless service over the past twenty years in the field of table tennis, and his continued work within the Patna & River Estate Community are well deserved of recognition. We opted to present this gentleman with a Paul Harris Fellow as a way of saying thank you.
“The vocation service distinction was created to recognise vocational excellence and to honour individuals for significant advancement in their vocational field. It is also designed to inspire further enthusiasm and to give added reward to exceptional achievers. We believe that it also sets an example to others, particularly youth, to strive for vocational excellence for the benefit of their discipline and communities,” Selman explained.
The event was supported by the Patna/River Estate Community Council. Ferdinand McIntosh, Council president celebrated Joe’s contribution: “Joe is from a breed of people past and present who seem to have community service in their DNA. Community Service is the blood that pumps
from the hearts of commitment to the body of our community. Mr Mansano is the first officer (of the Council) to receive a PHF from a Rotary Club, and he continues not only to play tennis but also assist our children, youths and young adults in learning the art of table tennis.”
Ann Marie Noel (past representative of the Ministry of Community Development) also offered words of praise. “During the past eighteen years working with Community Development, I have known Mr Mansano. He is part and parcel of the Patna River Estate Community and Community Council. He served in many positions including Welfare and Youth Officer. Whatever office Mr. Mansano holds, he is committed. He performs his role with excellence.”
Why was Mansano selected? Here are just a few of the reasons. He started playing professional table tennis over 40 years ago in England. Upon his return to Trinidad, he continued participating in the sport, with clubs like the Wolves and the Tarantula Table Tennis Clubs.
Mansano went on to volunteer as umpire, historian and coach. He formed two Table Tennis clubs to assist with the further training and development of youths - Tarantulas in Patna and the Carenage Blasters Table Tennis Club. And in 2009 Joe prepared and presented a DVD on the history of Table Tennis from 1944 onwards.
Joe still plays table tennis every Sunday at the Community Centre. He is a founding member who continues to assist in managing the Community Centre and deals with many of the venue’s plumbing issues. At 82, Mansano is the Council’s youth officer.
Mansano thanked all speakers for their kind words and the Rotary Club for honouring him with such a prestigious award. His closing remarks were “I will continue in my normal way to give service above self, here and also all over the world. My vision is that with table tennis, it teaches you to live a proper and well coordinated or organised life, not only as a youth but also in your old age. As one of my favourite Calypsonians, Sparrow sang, age is just a number; and as long as you have life and strength, faith in yourself and faith in God you can work wonders.”