Trench Town hero

Man rescues boy from raging flood waters in gully

BY RACQUEL PORTER
Observer staff reporter
porterr@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, September 11, 2017

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Chants of “Hero! Hero! Hero!” echoed throughout the historic Trench Town community in Kingston yesterday as residents hailed 24-year-old Tremayne Brown for rescuing a 12-year-old boy from drowning in raging flood waters on Friday.

Young Renaldo Reynolds said he was on his way home from Jones Town Primary School during heavy rain when he was encouraged by a group of older boys in the vicinity of Seventh Street to jump into a gully on Collie Smith Drive.

“I put one foot in the water. When I was coming out my hand slipped and I started to wash away,” Renaldo told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

According to Renaldo, otherwise known as Didda, residents saw what was taking place and started screaming for help. Within seconds Brown jumped into the gully in an effort to save the boy who he had never met before, although their houses are metres apart.

Despite the danger, Renaldo told the Observer that the only thing on his mind during the ordeal was that he would receive a beating from his mother who, he said, had warned him on numerous occasions about playing in the gully.

However, the boy started fearing for his life when Brown complained about feeling tired.

When the reality that they might not make it out of the angry waters alive hit Renaldo, it spurred him to call upon the power of prayer, even though he admitted yesterday that he had not attended church since January.

“God, I want you to guide us, protect us, and take us out of this water,” Renaldo said he prayed, adding that, shortly after, Brown held on to the branch of a tree, preventing them from being washed further down the gully.

They were eventually helped from the gully and taken to Kingston Public Hospital where they were treated for cuts and bruises. Renaldo was admitted overnight, while Brown was released.

As residents continued to praise Brown yesterday, he related the frightful experience while seated in a chair on First Street.

Brown, an obviously humble man, said he was on a worksite at Boys' Town Community Centre when he heard the screams for help. Without thinking twice he jumped into the gully to save the boy.

Brown said when the water carried them to the vicinity of May Pen Cemetery he managed to hold on to a tree branch. But it eventually broke.

Despite thoughts of giving up floating in his head, the slim-built Brown, who said he was deported to Jamaica from the United Kingdom six months ago, related that he quickly held on to another branch.

“When the first branch broke all my energy was done, and I thought this could be it. As we got to another branch the little boy started praying and I found strength. I don't know how. And then I prayed and two other boys came to help us,” Brown said.

When the Observer visited Renaldo's home, the sound of George Nooks' Ride Out Your Storm blasted from inside.

Renaldo's mother, Kereen Duggon, who saw her son on Saturday for the first time after the ordeal, said they had made plans to purchase books on Friday but she went alone when Renaldo did not show up.

“When mi buy the book dem and a come up I was in a taxi when I saw one big crowd. So mi say to miself, 'a coulda wah dis now',” Duggon said, adding that she became concerned on seeing her grandson's mother in the crowd.

“When I came out of the taxi mi say, 'What happen?' A little boy said, 'Didda dead. Didda gone inna the gully.' Mi just start bawl and try go in the gully. Some people hold on to mi, and mi no remember nothing more,” Duggon said, explaining that she later learnt that she had passed out.

The mother of five said when she eventually saw Renaldo the following day she had no thought of beating him.

“When I saw him mi couldn't even say nothing to him, mi just a look. I was shocked. I couldn't even believe that he was alive. Everybody a say mi a go beat him 'cause dem a say him rude, but I couldn't do that. Mi glad so till,” Duggon explained.

Within minutes of learning how her son survived, she went to Brown's home to say thanks.

“A just tears; mi just hug him up and a cry to how mi love him, to how mi rate him. Is like a God send him as an angel,” Duggon said.

Despite her joy, Duggon was apparently disappointed that Renaldo failed to heed her warning, as one of her older sons had a similar ordeal in the same gully.

“Mi tell him say a four pickney dead in the same gully already,” the mother said, noting that their bodies were never found.

Duggon admitted that while Renaldo is “rude”, he is helpful and she could not imagine life without him.

Meanwhile, Brown's father, Stanford, said he was pleased that his son was able to save a life.

“A lot of people ran from the water. A lot of guys ran, but he made up his mind that he was going into the water, and he saved him by the mercy of God. I am just giving God the glory and the praise,” the elder Brown said.

He also urged children not to play in the gully, whether or not it is raining.

Renaldo, who now sees his ordeal as a life lesson and went to church yesterday morning, urged other children not to give in to peer pressure.

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