Tearful Lloyd Noicley says thanks
BY INGRID BROWN Associate editor -- special assignment firstname.lastname@example.org
TEARS flowed freely down the face of 77-year-old Lloyd Noicley. But they were not tears of sorrow. Rather, mixed emotions of joy, gratitude and even disbelief that Jamaicans at home and abroad would reach out to help after he was struck from the list of beneficiaries under Government's social welfare system, the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH).
The plight of the double-amputee, who does everything for himself, including weeding his yard and washing his clothes all from the confines of a wheelchair, was highlighted in the April 28, 2014 issue of the Jamaica Observer North East.
His $3,000 bi-monthly PATH benefit was stopped, leaving him to survive on the $2,800 he receives each fortnight from the National Insurance Scheme.
Now, Noicley said words can hardly express how grateful he is to the Observer North East readers who called to speak with him or contributed towards his upkeep. His tattered wheelchair, which was falling apart, has since been replaced by a motorised scooter courtesy of charity organisation Food For the Poor and this, Noicley said, has been the icing on the cake.
"I can't explain how good I am feeling to know people reach out to help me and I am just so thankful," said Noicley as he wiped the tears spilling down his face. "I just want to tell everybody thanks and I am praying for you."
He was particularly appreciative of a visit from three young people who made the two-hour journey from their St Andrew home to Rowlandsfield, St Thomas, to bring groceries, bed linen and toiletries for the senior citizen.
"What you people have done for me, I ask God's blessing on you," Noicley said as he hugged 24-year-old Danielle Edwards, who was insistent that she wanted to visit him in person.
Edwards said she was so overwhelmed by Noicley's plight that she decided to make the sacrifice to acquire a few needed items for the senior citizen.
"I cried when I read the article, but I didn't want to just share the story on Facebook but be able to actually do something to help," Edwards told the Observer North East.
She explained that although she does not have a lot, she made the sacrifice to purchase what she could and called on friends and family to donate some items.
However, on seeing the joy the gifts brought to Noicley's face, Edwards and her friends, Jordan McCallum and Xavier Malcolm, said giving up their Labour Day to make the journey was more than worth it.
"I am so touched to see him still being able to be so active and positive about life," she said.
Edwards, an employee of Guardian Life, said she hopes her gesture will inspire other young people to give back to the less fortunate.
"You don't have to have a lot to give because a lot of us are facing our own financial challenges, but we can help in whatever little way we can," Edwards said, adding that she has a passion for helping the elderly.
McCallum said when Edwards informed him of Noicley's situation, he was so moved by the senior citizen's plight that he quickly agreed to help in whatever way he could.
"It really touched me to think that this happens daily in our country, yet we see these things and do nothing about it,"
According to McCallum, seeing Noicley beating the odds despite his disability is an inspiration to him. "Coming here and seeing how high Mr Noicley's spirit is, tells me to stop worrying about minor things in life," he said.
"We don't have it like that, but it doesn't take a lot... whatever little you have you can give, and so our hope is for this act to encourage others to do something to help others," he said.
Meanwhile, Malcolm said it did not take any convincing from Edwards for him to agree to make the trip.
He, too, hopes that other young people will be motivated to begin helping the less fortunate.
"I am angry because a whole lot of people live like this and if having food is a right, why do we have to wait for people to do it out of goodwill? Shouldn't it be an entitlement?" he questioned.
St Catherine resident Damion Gordon, who is helping Noicley, said he was motivated by the fact that despite having lost both legs the senior citizen did not give up on life.
"Irrespective of the loss of his legs he still endeavoured to make things work instead of simply feeling sorry for himself and giving up. Things like that inspire me to help," he said.
According to Gordon, he wants other Jamaicans to "try and identify themselves with situations such as Mr Noicley and offer help to these persons in whatever way possible".
Winston Blake, a Jamaican living in the United States, who also helped said it was extremely difficult to read about Noicley and not reach out to him.
"Seeing the condition this man has to deal with, plus not getting his pension I just had to help. This is just my pay back to a fellow Jamaican who don't seem to have a voice and I hate to see people like him struggle," he told the Observer North East from his South Florida home.
Another reader, Hensley Cameron from Montego Bay, said on seeing the story, he immediately mobilised his Facebook friends and was able to collect a one-time donation which he intends to have delivered to Noicley as soon as it is possible to do so.
Noicley said he intends to repair a section of the dilapidated house he is now living in as well as build a concrete ramp to get his scooter inside his room with any contribution he receives. However, in the interim he has covered the windows with pieces of zinc to prevent the rain from blowing in.
"Mi going to buy some cement and build up the ramp," a grateful Noicley said.
Meanwhile, Noicley also lauded the assistance he has received from his 90-year-old neighbour James Canaan, and Canaan's caregiver Aloma Graham, who have been like family to him and who always ensure that he does not go to bed hungry. "I don't know how I would have managed without them," Noicley said.
Canaan said although he himself is a pensioner he has always tried to help anyone he can.
"I don't have it, but I am very happy to help others because I love people. I fear God and I try to do the will of God," he said.
Graham said she will always heed Canaan's wish to share what little they have with Noicley because she remembered his kindness before he lost his legs.
"Mr Canaan seh if is one banana mi fi share it fi the whole ah we," she said. "I will never forget Mr Noicley's kindness because I remember when me have me children and we have nothing, is him mi see coming in the rain with wood and food for us," she recalled. She, too, agreed with fellow community members who told the Observer North East that Noicley, although confined to a wheelchair, remains one of the most selfless persons who continues to give even when he has very little for himself.