Characters of the Caribbean: Senator Nereida (Nellie) Rivera-O’Reilly

12219569_10206105570611555_1959853815162685954_n (1)1. What is your favorite place on St. Croix and why?

By far I love the beaches. I thoroughly enjoy sitting on the beach at Sand Castle/Cottages by the Sea and Deep End to watch the waves caress the white sand.

I also enjoy stopping by the Bistro in Gallows Bay, our tropical version of Starbucks. It’s a place to meet business colleagues and chat with friends. The extra inch around my waist can be attributed to the chocolate chip mint frappes and the hot vanilla lattes. Yummy!

2. What is the most memorable experience you’ve had living on-island?

The ocean has a calming effect on me. I cherish the fact that I see the ocean in the horizon from practically anywhere on St. Croix. On Saturday mornings I enjoy driving over the bypass and taking in the breathtaking views of our crystal blue ocean. I was born and raised here and sometimes we take the beauty of our island for granted. My work keeps me very busy and the ocean surrounding me gives my body and soul the respite it needs.

Last year my friend invited me to spend the day at Buck Island. We felt like movie stars by simply being. That day I was able to unwind in the company of caring friends. I remember looking at St. Croix and thinking how lucky I am to call it my home.

3.  In what ways do you enjoy giving back to your island community and which non-profits do you most like to support?

I enjoy helping organizations whose mission is to feed the homeless. I serve on the board of My Brothers Workshop STX. This organization works closely with at-risk young men and women teaching them life skills and trades, to prepare them to become contributing members of society. Thanks to the hard work of its founder and trainers, we have been able to transform the lives of young people one at a time. I also have huge compassion for animals. I continue to work on improving our animal cruelty laws.

4. What is the best piece of advice you can give someone new to St. Croix about making the leap to island life?

Bring your heart and keep an open mind. The island people are caring and welcoming. Look beyond the limitations and become a part of the potential. Make friends. Eat well and swim a lot. Love STX with all your heart and it will love you back!

5. Finish this sentence, “Caribbean life is _______ .”

Caribbean life is living in paradise. Living in the Caribbean allows us to engage and forge friendships with people from all walks of life. We learn to enjoy the pleasures of island living through the delicious local foods, colorful and vibrant cultures and traditions that make us who we are.

The Honorable Nereida (Nellie) Rivera-O’Reilly is a St. Croix senator serving her fourth term in the Legislature of the U.S. Virgin Islands.  In her spare time she enjoys running and writing.   Rivera-O’Reilly’s mother is Diana Cruz, her father Francisco Rivera Navarro, and her paternal grandparents originally hail from Puerto Rico.  Rivera-O’Reilly has lived on St. Croix her entire life.  She graduated from the University of Phoenix where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management and Finance.

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