In a huge outpouring of tribute, Jamaicans and friends – some 1,500 strong – packed a Decatour, Georgia, church on Saturday (January 5) to celebrate the late Ainsworth and Jacqueline Mallett and son Drew, the Georgia-based Jamaican family, which perished in a tragic accident on the New Jersey Turnpike on December 27, 2012, when a tractor-trailer rear-ended their motor car.
The sympathisers packed into the Tabernacle Assembly of God church in Decatur, coming from across the USA and Jamaica to lend comfort and support to the surviving daughter, Nicole, who escaped the accident that claimed her 51 year old father, 49 year old mother and 12 year old brother, as well as the family dog.
Formally of Stone Mountain, Georgia, the Malletts owned and operated the Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery and Grill franchise, a popular gathering place for the Caribbean-American community in and around Lithonia.
Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Stephen Vasciannie, unable to join the mourners in person, sent in a message expressing how “Words alone are clearly never adequate in situations like this,” but telling the surviving 18 year-old daughter, and family and mourners that “Even in the midst of your grieving, may their memory and exemplary service continue to inspire you all to live with meaning and purpose.”
Ambassador Vasciannie’s message was read by Jamaica’s honorary Consul in the state of Georgia, Vin Martin.
Among other dignitaries in attendance were US Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA), President and CEO of Golden Krust, Noel Hawthorne and DeKalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson.
“It is our fervent hope that especially in the immediate days and months ahead you will draw comfort from the warmth of family, friendship, and community at this most trying time, encouraged by the wonderful memory of the departed ones whose lives you are now celebrating,” the Ambassador continued, as he reached out to the mourners, on behalf of the Government and the People of Jamaica, adding his own sympathies and those of his family and the Embassy of Jamaica in Washington, DC.
Ainsworth and his family were driving back to Georgia after visiting his ailing mother in a Connecticut Hospital over the Christmas holidays. The accident ended their journey on a New Jersey freeway. But, the devastating effect of the tragic incident is evident in this funeral congregation and in other Jamaican communities that mourn the loss of this family.