Former fireman honoured
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."