BY MARK CUMMINGS Editor-at-Large, Western Bureau email@example.com
MONTEGO BAY, St James - JAMAICA Observer sports writer Paul Reid was on Monday presented with the Sam Sharpe Award for his contribution to sports, at a Heroes' Day civic ceremony in the historic Sam Sharpe Square, Montego Bay.
Reid was among six awardees who were recognised at the ceremony for their exemplary service in various fields including, education, sports and community service in the parish of St James.
The others were: Clinton Chin, community service; Mavis Holt, education; Pauline Downer, community development; Cleopatra Eubanks, sports; Gloria Meredith, community service; and Ian Williams of Ras Natango Gallery and Garden, tourism.
"I was surprised that I was nominated... but it tells me that my work over the years has not gone unnoticed, it is really an honour," Reid told the Observer West, after he was presented with the prestigious award by Mayor of Montego Bay Glendon Harris.
A sports journalist for 30 years, Reid who recently covered the London 2012 Olympic Games, as well as the Paralympic Games, both held in England has covered scores of other sporting events, locally and internationally.
Two years ago, he won the Jessie Abramson Award for excellence in track and field journalism from the organisers of the Penn Relays, which is held annually in Pennsylvania, USA.
He was the first non-American to win that award, which has been given out annually since 1980.
In 2010, Reid -- a Cornwall College Old Boy -- was also recognised by the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) for providing excellent coverage of schoolboys' football.
ISSA's executive member Denham McIntyre, who was in attendance at the Monday's ceremony, said the award presented to Reid was well deserved.
"It couldn't have happened to a more deserving individual. He is a hard worker and one who is passionate about his work," said McIntyre, who chairs the daCosta Cup football committee.
Former president of the St James Football Association George Evans agreed.
"The award is well deserved and long overdue. Paul is an outstanding journalist and is very knowledgeable on a wide range of sporting events. He has really made a significant contribution to sports," said Evans, who is also a former Jamaica Football Federation vice-president.
Reid began his journalism career in October 1982, and has since established himself as one of the top sports journalists in the country, and has earned a reputation of highlighting sports in St James and western Jamaica.
"I got into the profession by accident as while I was job hunting, my mother could not afford to pay the tuition for the Montego Bay Community College and so a good friend (Aubrey Campbell) who knew of my love for sports, asked me to "help him out" at then Radio West until I found a job. I was at Radio West helping out Aubrey for about four years until I started to get a subsistence from them for writing the sports cast," Reid recalled.
"I have since worked with the Western Mirror, Jamaica Record, The Gleaner Company and now the Jamaica Observer since late 2005."
During his career, Reid has covered four IAAF World Junior Championships, 2002 in Kingston; 2008 in Poland; 2010 in Canada; and 2012 in Barcelona, Spain.
He also covered the IAAF World Youth Championships in 2009 in Italy.
Additionally, he has covered the civil case of Bob Marley's estate against his former lawyers and accountants in New York in 1992, that lasted over six months.
A number of media stalwarts, he said, has influenced his career.
"Over the years, I have been influenced by the likes of Clinton Pickering, Sharon Earle, Tony Becca, Calvin G Brown, and Carmen Patterson," said Reid.