Sat | Dec 3, 2016

Saluting Unsung Heroes – Part 2

Published:Saturday | November 1, 2014 | 12:00 AMTamara Bailey
Friends in Need Volunteer Caren Fong, presents Eric Anderson with one of his gift bags during their unsung heroes honouring initiative.
Ninety-year-old Leonora Brown, a fruit vendor who has been at the Mandeville police station for over 70 years.
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Mandeville, Manchester

So many times we overlook persons who give of their service to others because we think it to menial or too small to be acknowledged. But, non-profit organisation 'Friends in Need' believes these persons are the true backbone of society and should be honoured.

We continue our highlight this week with two senior citizens who have done much and still continue to do more for their families and those they come in contact with daily.

Seventy-year-old Eric Anderson has been a farmer for more than 50 years and a higgler for approximately 20 years, plying his wares in the Mandeville and May Pen markets. But what several persons do not know about him is that this partially hearing impaired man sells three to four days per week to buy all he can to take care of his bed-ridden wife.

"My wife got a stroke sometime ago and she bed-ridden ... cyan move and cyan really talk so is just me alone ... I have to come and sell and buy her pampers, her lotion and her little things. I use to have a daughter that help me but now she sick so I have to wash and clean and cook."

Anderson says things have gotten unbearable for the past year and five months since his wife has been sick but he has to continue to do all he can.

"It hard man, it hard, sometimes you come and you nuh sell nothing much; some days good some days bad and di bad days depressing but wha u ago do but work wid it," Anderson told Rural Xpress.

With some help coming from the Friends in Need organisation, founder Yvonne Townsend is hoping that as his selfless act is highlighted, and that help may come his way.

"When I met this man two years ago and I heard his story I said why aren't we lauding the efforts of men like these in our society, while so many are seen in a negative light why not bring the ones radiating positivity to the fore... this man is such a good soul he sells his okra, sweet pepper and pepper and while he cannot yield much, he uses it all to buy things for his wife."

Townsend continued, "Eric comes here every week and he requests the need for baby powder because he loves to have his wife as comfortable and he'll want to give us some of his produce as a thank you even when he knows that the little money he'll get is just for his wife's necessities and his fare to go back home ... what an awesome man."

Anderson who says he doesn't really believe in bothering persons for help says he'll welcome the assistance of genuine persons.

While this next honoree may no longer have individuals depending on her as the sole bread winner, she continues to make her services available to the police personnel and workers at the Mandeville Police Station

Ninety-year-old Leonora Brown from Porus in the parish has been 'stationed' at the Mandeville Police Station for approximately 70 years, of course not as a police personnel but as the fruit vendor.

Brown describes this as the source of income that sent all her children to school and even some of her grandchildren.

"Yes man ... this where me station fi all dese years. I use to sell orange and coconut first but now I have more things...in the morning I come over the station and then by the evening me go across to the hairdresser and tailor dem."

Providing the station with fruits everyday and collecting her payment weekly is the arrangement Leonora has made with her customers. She says though low in earning sometimes, she doesn't regret it.

"The selling not so bright everyday enuh, but me nuh regret it; me have me good customers dem ova here so me just stick to dem... I don't see meself doing anything else," expressed Brown.

With a tiny frame as deception to her strength, Brown is as fit as fiddle never letting a day pass without coming to 'work' .

As one customer rightfully puts it "nothing can stop her, whether rain, sun, storm or chikungunya she'll be right here".

rural@gleanerjm.com