Mon | Jul 15, 2019

Fortis 79Hers form bond with Mustard Seed boys

Published:Wednesday | June 19, 2019 | 12:32 AM
Angeria Savory (centre), president of the Fortis 79Hers, along with members of the group, donated vitamins to the Mustard Seed Communities recently. Accepting for the charity organisation are Karlene Palmer (second left), assistant administrator, and Nicola Bennett (left), nurse/caregiver.
Members of the Kingston College graduating class of 1979, the Fortis 79ers, at their 40th anniversary reunion in June 2019 in Jamaica.
Members of the Kingston College graduating class of 1979, the Fortis 79ers, at their 40th anniversary reunion in June 2019 in Jamaica.
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The beaming faces of the boys would have melted any heart. They radiated such joy, as the ladies from the Fortis 79Hers, decked in their purple and white, sat with them on a sunny Saturday afternoon, chatting and sharing stories and jokes, each learning about the other.

The heart-warming affair, for both the ladies and the young men, took place during the recent 40th anniversary reunion of the Kingston College 79ers, when the spouses of the KC old boys visited the Mustard Seed Communities location across from the North Street, Kingston, institution to spend some time with the young men and donate much-needed vitamins.

By the end of the visit, the ladies had ‘adopted’ the boys, pledging continued support to aid in their needs.

President of the group, Angeria Savory, explained how the occasion came about.

“The Fortis 79ers have been getting together for a couple of years, and the wives started to eventually attend. I hosted the reunion in Tampa, Florida, in 2018, and I realised that the ladies just sat around and watched the men reminisce on old times,” stated the wife of Steve Savory.

“I decided to start the group as the wives of the 79ers, hence the name ‘Fortis 79Hers’. I wanted us ladies to embark on a charity endeavour, giving back in a meaningful way, and I wanted it to be in Jamaica because of the origin of the 79ers.”

Angie, as she is affectionately called, said that after bouncing around some ideas, Maxine Smith, a 79Hers, suggested the Mustard Seed Communities, especially because one of its locations was right across the street from KC, and Maxine and her husband, Errol Smith, have been working with the charity organisation for some time.

Angie presented the idea to the group, and it was immediately accepted.

The ladies bought an adequate supply of vitamins for the home for their first visit, with the aim of getting a better understanding of the needs of both the facility and the boys once they got to Jamaica in June.

CHARITY ELEMENT

“We are really happy that we have added this charity element to the annual reunion. Giving back to those in need is very important, and our significant others fully support us. The warmth we felt from the boys left us speechless. It has now become our permanent charity. Some of the ladies are sponsoring individual boys, but overall, we will be doing whatever we can to assist the Mustard Seed Communities and the children, including the girls’ home in Spanish Town, which we intend to visit as well,” said Savory.

The Fortis 79Hers expressed gratitude to Karlene Palmer, assistant administrator, and Nicola Bennett, nurse/caregiver, who facilitated the visit to the residence, which is home to some 20 boys.

“Just by talking to the boys that Saturday afternoon, we realised that they just want simple things, like a soccer ball, art supplies and garden seeds, because they love gardening. They have a grass patch at that location that they would like to have paved so that they can play basketball. All the boys and staff said they needed fans as well,” shared Angie.

“The boys seem well taken care of. The environment of the home is quite clean, and they go to church regularly. It really is touching how they enjoyed just a simple visit and the attention they get from the outside world.”

The 79Hers president, who is also a dialysis nurse, added, “I’ve long realised that it doesn’t take much to help those in need. All it requires is the heart and willingness to do so. Most people really just want someone to care and to show that they care.”