10K for KATS - ROB & SANDY LYONS SAILING, KIDS & THE COMMUNITY
By - Nancy Terrell (Special to BVI Beacon)
The BVI KATS Team is really in luck this year they may not have been the top winners in the recent Chief Ministers Cup but they certainly scored big in the money department. CCT Boatphone General Manager, Rob Lyons, presented a check for $10,000 to the team for the Platinum Sponsorship of the regatta and committed as a sponsor for the year 2002.
As one of the premier sailing events in the BVI, the Chief Ministers Cup is put on by the combined Rotary Clubs of the BVI and is a sailing competition using a one-design J-24 with six youth sailors and two officials on each team. The event this year held some 18 races and attracted over 80 young people from Trinidad & Tobago, the Cayman Islands, St. John, St. Thomas, St Croix, Antigua, Bequia in the St. Vincent Grenadines and three teams from the BVI - Jost Van Dyke, Virgin Gorda and Tortola. The event was won by St Croix, followed by Antigua and Barbuda.
The CCT Boatphone Board of Directors Meade Malone, Margaret Penn, Glen Harrigan & Dr. Henry Jarecki budget a substantial sum for community service so it was with great pride when Rob Lyons presented the generous check to BVI KATS Leaders Tom Gerker and John Lewis, who also heads the BVI Olympic Committee.
Rob & Sandy Lyons have been leaders in their community since they arrived in the British Virgin Islands. Rob hails from the Washington D.C. area and received his training in engineering & computers in the US Army where he was stationed with the Satellite Communications Agency between 81 & 85, travelling the world fixing satellite earth stations. He started with CCT Boatphone in the BVI in 87. Between 88 and 94 he worked in Anquilla, St. Maarten and St. Thomas, where he commuted daily for four years to Crown Bay, the location of his office at that time. Lyons has seen the company grow from 5 to over 30 employees with now over 6,000 customers alone in the BVI. Not bad for a territory that doesnt have a population of over 14,000 on Tortola alone.
Lyons also engineered the computer program for calculating the results for the BVI Spring Regatta in the mid 1990s. An avid sailor, he has raced as a member of Kevin Rowlettes winning team on Synergy and Rushin Rowlette where he has participated in all international regattas since 94. He is the current President of VISAR (Virgin Islands Search and Rescue) a position he has held for the past two years; he has been on the board for the past eight years. VISAR is the Coast Guard for the BVI and is highly regarded throughout the Caribbean.
Sandy is likewise dedicated to the BVI community. Hailing from Stuart, Florida, she came to the BVI in 87 to run her mothers store, Sea Urchin. Barbara & Luther Thomas started the apparel
business in 1978 in the BVI. Luther has since died and Barbara has returned to Florida to retire leaving Sandy as sole manager for the three stores in Road Town and West End locations.
Sandy has an extensive dance background and, as a member of the Royal Academy of Dance, taught ballet, tap and jazz for 15 years in Florida before coming to the BVI. She has continued to teach dance to BVI children for the past 14 years and is a sponsor for all competitions in the Miss BVI and Miss World BVI Pageants where she serves as an official judge. She is the Director of the New Cutting Edge Dance Team and her students have performed in many events throughout the BVI. Sandy has also staged and presented the very famous Annual Fashion Show for the BVI Spring Regatta each year during the past decade.
The two met in 1987 and were married in 90. Daughter Alexa, quite a dancer in her own right, was born in 92. Together Rob & Sandy Lyons are one of the most community minded and popular couples in the BVI. They both dedicate their time, talents and money generously within the BVI and the territory is much the better for having them as residents. As for the donation to the KATS team this should really give them the incentive they need to sail, race and then sail some more for a big win in future regattas.