TODAY marks a year since the passing of the former president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), Howard Aris.
The long-time track administrator, coach and physiotherapist died of a massive heart attack during a PNP rally in Portland on Thursday, November 10, 2011.
Aris' widow, Sandra, told the Jamaica Observer that her husband's legacy and the involvement of her family will continue.
"Wherever the contribution was we will continue especially where the (JIII) meet is concerned," she said.
"It has been rough because it was so sudden and it hasn't been easy, and with what he left behind I'm hoping that what's happening now things will continue, and everybody will work together for track and field. What he left behind makes you feel happy having been there through all of it. I know he was special where that was concerned."
Aris was head of the local sport governing body for Jamaica's record-breaking achievements at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, and as Jamaica went one better with 12 medals in London a few months ago, his widow said it was something he would have been pleased about.
"He was so looking forward to that because so many things were in place, but I'm sure he would have been very happy with the outcome knowing that we did so well growing from strength to strength," she said.
As it regards the monetary rewards later presented to the athletes by the Jamaican Government, Sandra said her husband would have also approved of the gesture.
"There were always times when the athletes need help. There are a lot of things that athletes need help with. He was always trying to help out, if they had a problem he left no stone unturned to try to help out," she recalled.
Olympians Associations president, Vilma Charlton, said that Aris was an individual who always challenged those around him to think.
"We will always miss people when they pass on because each of us has different skills, but we are trying our best to keep our dream alive. Mr Aris had a way with him; he always played the devil's advocate but after a way you know he was trying to groom you and to defend what you are saying," she said.
She recalled the controversial Olympic Games of Sydney 2000 and the fallout between Merlene Ottey and the administration of the JAAA.
"If he were on that executive he would have posed the question if Merlene never posted first, second, or third (what would we do), and if he had thought about it in that light, maybe we would not have been that embarrassed. It is a void. We all bring different things to the table," she said.
Charlton added that Aris was always the voice at administrative meetings that made one stop to think. "Each of us has different skills and one hand can't clap. He will be missed especially in meetings."