For­mer fire­man hon­oured

Jamaica Gleaner - - MESSAGES - Orantes Moore Gleaner Writer ru­ral@glean­

PORT MARIA, St Mary: EX-FIRE­MAN PHILSON Pryce may have re­tired 11 years ago, but he’s de­ter­mined to re­main ac­tive, and was re­cently hon­oured by the St Mary chap­ter of the Na­tional Coun­cil for Se­nior Cit­i­zens (NCSC) for the con­tin­u­ous sup­port and com­mu­nity work he de­liv­ers in his home­town of Port Maria.

Ac­cord­ing to the parish’s NCSC or­gan­iser, Si­mone Granston-Robin­son, Pryce, who worked for the Ja­maica Fire Brigade (JFB) for 38 years, de­serves to be recog­nised and com­mended be­cause he spends so much of his time as­sist­ing oth­ers.

She said: “Mr Pryce is one of those peo­ple who will go out of his way to serve and take money from his own pocket to pur­chase some of the things we need. He is set apart from ev­ery­body else and al­ways says yes to ev­ery­thing. For ex­am­ple, he likes do­ing out­reach, so as part of Se­nior Cit­i­zens’ Week, he went out by him­self and dis­trib­uted seven food pack­ages to peo­ple.”


In spite of the lav­ish praise, the for­mer fire fighter re­mains hum­ble and in­sists that shar­ing time, re­sources, and knowl­edge with his lo­cal com­mu­nity are du­ties he feels com­pelled to un­der­take.

Pryce told Ru­ral Xpress: “The fact is I got sup­port and as­sis­tance from peo­ple in my com­mu­nity and the wider parish. They helped to build and mould my life and char­ac­ter, so I feel that I should give back.

“I’m 71 years old and en­joy­ing life, and I’m sure life is not over with me yet. I find it very re­ward­ing to keep my­self oc­cu­pied in the Church and se­nior cit­i­zens groups, which have


friendly and in­formed peo­ple who are will­ing to as­sist.

“In the se­nior cit­i­zens groups, there are lots of lo­cal and na­tional ac­tiv­i­ties, and ev­ery­body seems to be co­op­er­at­ing and work­ing to­gether. It’s good be­cause most of us still have our wits about us. We may have slowed down a bit, but we’re not parked,” he said.

Pryce, who served the JFB in St Mary, Port­land and St Ann, is sym­pa­thetic to the plight of the young peo­ple in his parish, and be­lieves that if they had just a few more train­ing and em­ploy­ment op­tions, things would change dras­ti­cally for the bet­ter.

He ex­plained: “In my days, there was much more em­ploy­ment and a num­ber of fac­to­ries where peo­ple could find work. Most districts and ar­eas had prop­er­ties where peo­ple were em­ployed to do man­ual work.

“They weren’t earn­ing much, but they were very thrifty be­cause they were able to send their chil­dren to school, build houses, and some bought cars. In my opin­ion, my ex­pe­ri­ence tells me that things weren’t the worst back then.

“Al­though you might de­scribe them as cloudy, dark, and ‘back bush’ days, they were good,” he chuck­led. “When you com­pare then to now, it’s a dif­fer­ent ket­tle of fish. Now, there is hardly any­thing here for young peo­ple to do.”

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