Dorraine lived her dream — Veteran broadcaster inspired many

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For almost 40 years, beloved veteran broadcaster Dorraine Samuels-Binger lived her dream of inspiring many people. So much so that she became a household name, capturing the hearts of Jamaicans with her warm, welcoming smile and comforting voice.

Yesterday, at a thanksgiving service for her life, RJR/Gleaner Communications Group CEO Gary Allen reminded the congregation of that dream.

He said that Samuels-Binger, who passed away on March 26, still had her workstation at Radio Jamaica as her creed was: ‘I want to inspire people, I want someone to look at me and say, because of you I didn’t give up.’

“Well, Dorraine, for almost 40 years, to thousands of viewers and listeners, you did that. You inspired many. Walk good, our friend; your memory will never fade and we will never forget you,” Allen said to thunderous applause from the large congregation inside and outside the University Chapel on The University of the West Indies, Mona campus in St Andrew.

In a play on RJR‘s slogan, Allen said Samuels-Binger, who joined the radio station in January 1981, became the ‘Supreme Sound’.

“Her silky-smooth voice, her easy tone, clear diction, her ability to effortlessly lift words off paper and make them into images that seemed to speak specifically to you at the same time that it was speaking specifically to me is a quality which few can compare,” he said.

Allen said she was promoted at least five times and rose to being presenter and supervisor of on-air staff, and according to her colleagues, was one of the easiest talents to work with in studio and on outside broadcasts.

He said she had a strong sense of service to the community which she exhibited through her work with projects, including the Citizens’ Advice Bureau, and also represented the best interests of staff.

Additionally, Allen recalled that Samuels-Binger had copped several awards for RJR and had also been recognised for her outstanding contribution to broadcasting in 1999 with a national honour, the Order of Distinction.

“Fittingly, on the day that she passed we in the RJR/Gleaner Communications Group were proud to report that our political leaders paused the business of the country, noted her sterling contribution and paid tribute across the aisle to this outstanding lady,” he said to another round of applause.

In other glowing tributes, Samuels-Binger was remembered as a beloved and doting mother, a consummate professional, an icon, and a phenomenal and inspiring woman who never missed an opportunity to show love.

Her children — Melissa, Morgan, and Russell — in their tributes read by the eldest, Melissa, remembered their mother as an amazing woman who was very organised, strategic and who not only taught them to be financially savvy but to always strive for excellence and treat others with respect.

“Despite the demands of her job, she never compromised her duties as a mother,” Melissa said, noting that she was born two years into her mother’s media career and became her “handbag”.

“No matter how demanding the work scene got, she made it a point of duty that she would play just as hard as she worked, and as such, many of the out-of-town outside broadcasts turned into vacations. But what really stood out is that we saw that tower of strength, that no matter what came rushing at Mommy, she would always look for a solution,” she added.

Russell, in his tribute, said, “My mother was an amazing person, one who always led by example, and by doing so taught us so much. She was organised, strategic and solution-oriented. She always planned ahead, always ensured that everything was in place.

“As a mother, she loved us fiercely, and was consistent in that love. It was that consistency that brought stability to our lives… she always pushed us to be independent, and to strive for excellence; she wanted us to become our own people, to know right from wrong and to treat others with respect,” he said.

Morgan, the baby of the family who had to be consoled by her brother as her sister read her tribute, said: “You loved me for me, and I never failed to tell you how much I love you… every phone call, no matter how many times a day, ended with ‘I love you’.

“This process without you is really hard, but I can only hope I can be as strong [and] as beautiful as you were,” Morgan said.

“She may have prepared us for life, but she certainly did not prepare us to live without her. However, she’s at peace among the greats, spreading the goodness with that angelic voice. Rest in peace, Mother, we will surely miss you.”

Samuels-Binger’s sister, Carol, in her tribute told the congregation that there were no words to adequately describe the “roller coaster ride” that the family had been on since her sister’s passing.

“It has been agonising and our hearts are broken,” she said, while describing her sister as a “beacon of light; a light which permeated the very fabric of our lives. From the mighty to the small she was a rainbow on a stormy night, a ray of sunshine in the midst of despair”.

She shared with the congregation that her baby sister had a personality from she was born and a whale of voice when she cried.

“Everyone would joke, ‘bwoy, she have to use that voice when she grow up, it can’t waste’ and so said, so done,” she said.

Carol said her sister loved the media tremendously and was very dedicated to her job, so much so that she would step off a plane from her vacation and go straight into work.

“Everyone speaks glowingly of professionalism, but her dedication went far beyond an admirable work ethic. She was about the business of fulfilling her purpose, that of being the best version of herself. Living a life of service, leading by example, demonstrating the magnificence that is the potential in each of us,” she said.

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