Mon | Dec 5, 2016

Overwhelming support moves single father to tears

Published:Saturday | February 14, 2015 | 12:00 AMHorace Fisher
Conroy Nelson is sandwiched between twin daughters form left, Alicia and Alisha as they show off their new house which was donated by Food for the Poor.
Conroy Nelson (left) and scholarship sponsor, Beverley Mason (right) shared lens time Alicia and Alisha in Mason's shop in May pen, Clarendon.
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Some time ago, Conroy Nelson, in a tearful outburst, chronicled to Rural Xpress his difficulties caring for twin daughters Alicia and Alisha Nelson. The single father, who was then sharing a one-room apartment with the girls, also lamented the need for the young ones to have their own space.

In that emotional interview, he recalled that since the twin's mother walked out on the family, he was forced to play the role of father, mother, and breadwinner; however, with the full-time responsibility of caring for his daughters, earning an income was then a rare occurrence.

Today, 'Daddy Jonny', as Nelson is affectionately called, is again in tears ... tears of joy after his story unleashed an overwhelming outpouring of support for him. According to the fast-developing community mentor, Rural Xpress has swung his fortunes 180 degrees, with Food For The Poor leading the way.

"You not even know what The Gleaner has done for me. Since the story come out, my life has changed completely. We have moved from the one room to our own two-bedroom house. Thank God for Food For The Poor and The Gleaner," he said, smiling when Rural Xpress caught up with him at his new Effortville, May Pen, home.

"A lot of the everyday pressure has come off my head now since Big Sister (Beverley Mason) see the story and gave Alicia and Alisha an education scholarship," Nelson also boasted.

He said, apart from the house, the scholarship, marriage proposals, job offerings, and thousands of online well-wishers, other young men in the tough May Pen community where he resides are now using his experience as their own motivation and look up to him as a role model.

Mason, a higgler in the May Pen market, and Otis James, who managed the James and Friends Education Programme, heaped praises on Nelson for the exemplary role he plays in his children's development.

"It's not every day you find a father who is so committed to his kids' development, so when I saw the story, and James asked me to play a role in the girls' education, I didn't hesitate to take them under my wings," Mason told Rural Xpress.

Mason, who has five children of her own, also promised to continue her support for both Nelson's girls through primary and high school, provided that they maintain good grades.

"He has now become a positive role model for other inner-city fathers to copy ... and if we have more fathers like Conroy (Nelson), Jamaica would be a better place because the lack of fathers in the homes is contributing to the decay in the society," James declared.

rural@gleanerjm.com