Raul Clementino was also recognized for his work with Age Concern, during the Seniors Community Service Awards.
RAUL DECOUTO CLEMENTINO
For 12 years, Raul Clementino helped to put a smile on the faces of Bermuda’s senior citizens by driving the Project Action bus as a volunteer.
Many of the people he drove just liked to get in the bus and go for a ride. It gave them a break from the monotony of life at home.
“Every single one, when they saw the vehicle approaching they would get very excited,” recalled Raul.
He decided to volunteer with Project Action after he saw an advertisement for drivers in the newspaper. He had just retired from his own landscaping business and he was looking for something else to do. The late Judith Stewart, co-founder of Project Action, was one of his former clients.
Raul thought it would be a nice job and went to see her about it. She happily agreed to take him on as a volunteer and he drove the bus twice a week for the next 12 years.
He was born in Lomba de Maia, St Miguel, Azores in 1940, the son of Jose and Maria DoRamos Clementino.
Growing up, he didn’t have many educational opportunities, and left school early. As a young man, he served in the Portuguese army in Portuguese Guinea from 1961 to 1964. He came to Bermuda in 1965 looking for a better life. He said it was not a matter of going home for half a day; you didn’t get a break from the horrors of war.
“We were blowing things up,” he said. “It was a very hard time. I was scared. I would go to bed to sleep and wake up suddenly to gunfire. I was very glad when it was over.”
When he finished in the army, things in the Azores were tough. Wages were very low and there were few opportunities for self-improvement. He decided to try his luck in Bermuda. His early years in Bermuda weren’t that easy, either, but they were still easier than those in the Azores. He earned more money in Bermuda than he had previously. He started his own landscaping business called M and C Landscaping and did very well for himself.
His wife, Connie, daughter of John and Maria DaCosta, also came to Bermuda in 1965. They had never met before coming to Bermuda, but they soon got to know one another. The Clementinos describe it as love at first sight.
“I put my eyebrows to work,” Raul said with a laugh, wiggling his eyebrows. He is known for his gentle sense of humour.
They were married on March 30, 1967 at St. Theresa’s Cathedral in Hamilton, two years after they came to Bermuda.
They went back to the Azores frequently to visit their parents after their children came along.
Raul doesn’t drive anymore, because he has suffered some health issues in recent years. He misses it. Today, he likes to do a bit of gardening. His family enjoys eating the vegetables he grows in small quantities such as lettuce and tomatoes. He still cuts his own grass.
He and Connie have three grown children Bernadette, Robert, and Goretti, and four grandchildren.
“Work hard and live easy would be my philosophy,” he said. “You have to build it first before you can move in.”