Kitson Town honours ‘bright sparks’
Custos of St Catherine, Icylin M Golding has hailed Kitson Town for fostering hope and creating “bright sparks” in the area, after the community honoured 10 of its own, mainly golden agers.
The custos, representing Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen at the recent Kitson Town Builders Awards ceremony, where recognitions were given to individuals for their work in community building, healthcare, skills training, and security, said the moment was of great significance.
“The significant achievements of our heroes in this community, whose dedication to community service has ignited a spark of hope and progress in our lives, and one of the sparks is the Kitson Town Civic Committee,” Golding said at the event held at the Kitson Town Resource Centre.
The honourees were former furniture maker, 103-year-old James Taylor; retired public health nurse Una Woodfine; retired builders Fitz-Albert Brown and Robern Brown; late dress maker Elvylena Ellis; the late Reverend Joan Fennell; philanthropist Estrianna Harrison Laing; and former President of the Kitson Town Citizens Association, Steve Parker.
Jermaine Hurst, who recently came to national attention, after his heroic act prevented a young woman from attempting suicide along the Portmore Causeway, was presented with the Chairman’s Appreciation award, while former Head of the police in the area, Inspector Wayne Constantine, was also given the Chairman’s Appreciation for his community policing efforts.
The custos added that the awardees dedicated their time, energy, and resources for the betterment of Kitson Town, and they have all made a “remarkable difference” in the community.
“If our awardees did not know how solve conflict peacefully, we would not be here today, and they did it in their own way, because they were purpose-driven,” she told her audience.
The event was organised by the Kitson Town Civic Committee and held under the theme “Rekindling the Past for a Great Future.” Custos Golding underscored that the theme was a reminder that the legacy of the past can “certainly inspire us” to create a brighter future, arguing that the recognised individuals were “exceptional” and made it their mission to do what is necessary, as “selfless community stalwarts.”
Chairman and Founder of the organisation, Garfield Angus said the group was formed to recognise persons and institutions that have contributed to the development of the community, noting that it has “excelled in many ways, through community actions, and, we must be thankful to those who gave of themselves to make us better.
“We intend to continue to recognise persons who have positively touched our community, and this will be done every two years. Try and find a way to support our efforts. If you try, you will discover that there are many ways in which you can contribute to building your community, and to recognise deserving community builders,” Angus said.
A beaming James Taylor said he was delighted for the honour, and called on the youth of the community to stay away from crime and seek personal development.
“Stop with the drugs, stop needing dumplings in your hands, put down the gun. And the girls them believe that they get whey. Stop giving yourself lightly and commonly, because when yuh get di baby, man gone left you alone. Respect yourself,” he said.
In her endorsement of the event, educator Marjorie Rose, who was initially trained by Elvylena Ellis, before she entered the teaching profession, said although she did not want to make clothes as profession “that is where my journey started,” adding that she now has many clients, which supplement her income, all because of the dress making skill.
Principal of the Watermount Primary School, Karlene Thomas Laing described the honourees as “pillows and guiding lights” of the community and. Through their efforts, they have “made a profound impact on those around you. You have demonstrated true heroism,” she said.
Member of the group, Shantell Campbell called on community members to get involved in serving, because “it gives great pleasure to be part of the Committee,” and to recognise persons who have done their part for others to enjoy.
“It gives great joy to serve and to give back to our community, and I thank those who have sponsored, and have been part of this initiative. Do what you can, when you can, to make this world a better place,” she said.
Sponsors of the event included Digicel Foundation, NADS Family Health Care, WT Feeds, M and M Loans, and several community members.
The Kitson Town Civic Committee was established in 2017. Since then, it has honoured two early childhood educators who gave almost 100 years of service to the community. In 2022, they painted the Kitson Town Basic School, and prior to that, members of the group raised computer tablets and other support for teachers at the Kitson Town Basic School.