WW I vet among centenarians honoured
WESTERN BUREAU: A World War I veteran, a former chemist, and the grand-daughter of an African slave were among the 20 centenarians honoured at a National Recognition Function in Montego Bay last week.
The ceremony, which was staged by the National Council for Senior Citizens, was held at Sandals Montego Bay and the day was spent feting the honourees who ranged from 100 to 115-years old.
“This event is an indication of our commitment to senior citizens,” said head of the National Council for Senior Citizens, Dr Denise Eldemire-Shearer, to the honourees. “You are proof that old age is not the time to lie down and give up, you are a message to all of us that there is life after retirement.”
Their age did not deter them, and the honourees actively participated in the day’s event.
A member of the St James senior citizens’ club, Anthony Brown, entertained the audience with the soulful strains of his harmonica; 115 year-old Angeline Henry took to the dance floor; and 100 year-old Beatrice Fowler, one of the younger recipients, flawlessly delivered a poem entitled ‘Heaven goes to show’.
After lunch, the centenarians were each presented with a commemorative cup and a citation. Among those making the presentations was the patron for the National Council for Senior Citizens, Hugh Shearer, and the chairman of the National Millennium Committee Research and Development Sub Committee, Dr Adolph Cameron.
In his address, Governor-General, Sir Howard Cooke, appealed to the elderly present to get the younger generation involved.
“I ask you one favour,” he said. “Try to get the younger people to sit with you and tell them the story of your life.”
He also appealed to them to counsel the younger generation on the harmful effects of drug use.
“Let us call those young people together and tell them that smoking ganja won’t help,” he said. “Tell them that cocaine won’t help because if you had been smoking ganja and taking cocaine you would have died already. Tell them that you are strong because you eat hafoo yam, and Lucea yam.”
Henry, who appeared none the worse for wear after her dancing, responded on behalf of the honourees.
She told the audience that she felt had been blessed in her old age because she had cared for her grandparents in their golden years.
“I looked after my grandparents before I went to school,” she said from under the brim of a fashionable black hat. “Is their blessings and other people’s blessings that’s keeping me today. Before my grandparents died, they blessed me and today I bless you,” she said as she touched Hugh Shearer’s head of grey hair.