Yannick Gregory was an exceptional young man
YANNICK Andrew Gregory, a 25-year-old son of the parish of Manchester, who died in a motor vehicle crash on Christmas Day, was remembered on January 11, in a thanksgiving celebration held at the Mandeville New Testament Church of God, as a caring person to all, and a Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) member with promise.
Throughout the service, the packed church was both the scene of laughter and shedding of tears, as tales of the late soldier were recounted; while those closest to him sobbed openly. His mother Yolanda Findlay recalled the humour and support he provided to her over the years, and the special care she received on her last birthday, two weeks before his tragic death.
In a tribute read by family friend Tricia Harrison, Findlay said her only child was her best friend and pondered "now my only child is gone, how will I make breakfast knowing he won't partake? On my last birthday, Yannick took time off from work to take me shopping. He treated me like a queen. The next day, Sunday, he cooked dinner for me," she said.
The younger Gregory was a son that any good father would prize, according to his father, Andrew Gregory.
"Yannick grew up to be a brilliant young man; everything he put his mind to was a success. He was a son that every father would want to have. He was loved by his parents. Most of his childhood was spent with his mother, and she did a very good job, thank you. He made everyone comfortable. I love my son, and he made me a proud father. I am using this opportunity to encourage all the young drivers to take caution on the road. It is very dangerous. Young men, respect your fathers, and, fathers, take care of your children. Love them, cherish them, keep them close to you, whenever you can," he said.
His stepmother, Charmaine Gregory, said the relationship that he will always remain in her heart.
"He and I developed a mother and son relationship, and I always enjoyed listening and reasoning with him. He had a solid explanation for everything. He was concerned about people, rather than himself; he would give away, even if it was his last. I will always remember Yannick; he is missed dearly by me; and he will always be in my heart," she said.
For journalist Glendon Baker, who is also a community leader in Heathfield, where the departed lived, "he had a relationship with his parents, Aunt Zaid, and grandmother Madge, which was more than enviable. Yannick always had a pleasant word and a smile for those he encountered, and the calibre of the young man is seen in the respect he earned from the entire community, both those far older than he, and his peers as well.
"A positive young man with much potential who has left us so soon. Be joyous in the fact that we all were privileged to have met, socialised and became friends with a youth who was gifted. As we grieve, let us find solace and closure in the fact that a young man who is worthy of emulation was part of our lives," Baker said.
Major Ricardo Blidgen remembered his late JDF member as one who was disciplined and enthusiastic, and one who inspired others with kind deeds.
"He was seen by many as a young soldier with a lot of potential and a bright future in the JDF. He consistently proved his worth, always shouldering his share of the duties, and motivating those around him to do their share as well. He served as a true soldier, he wore size 8 boots, but those boots are going to be hard to fill," the major said.
He was eulogised by his uncle Alwyn Gregory as an ambitious, capable, and driven young man.
"He told me that his ultimate goal was to be attached to the Engineering Regiment of the JDF, as an electrician. He also told me of active plans he had to go into the taxi business, this year. I believe you would agree that this is an impressive list of vocations of such a young man. Few of us know of the pain that Andrew and Yolanda have felt since Christmas morning," Gregory recalled.
"I encourage you to temper your grief by casting your mind back, and recall an act or deed, some occurrence or occasion that involved Yannick, and made you smile or laugh; some aspect of his character that endeared him to you or caused you to respect him. His mother told me he proved to be a man to his words, and he made every effort to keep his promise to her. Let us remember his acute sense of responsibility, and his honesty. His affable and caring nature," he added.
Other tributes came from his former schools, the Snowden All-Age School, and the May Day High School and the May Day Church of God.
The sermon was delivered by the Reverend Garfield Wilson.
His remains were interred at the Oaklawn Memorial Gardens in the parish.