Fri | Nov 26, 2021

Inspired by warmth of Jamaican people

Published:Saturday | August 2, 2014 | 12:00 AM


Okay, Jamaicans, let a non-Jamaican visitor to your island make some heartfelt comments. I have been deeply involved with Jamaica ever since my bride and I honeymooned here 46 years ago. A wonderful week in Montego Bay (the Playboy Club) and another in Kingston.

Why did we choose Jamaica? I don't know, but imagine it may have been the island's draw of romance, culture and a place neither of us had ever visited - since neither of us had ever travelled outside the United States, or ever honeymooned. Jamaica seemed like a great place to experience our new life together. We went, we experienced, we enjoyed, and we had a wonderful time.

Years later, when our two boys were 11 and 13, we came back to the island to show them where mom and dad honeymooned. We spent most of our time off the resort property enjoying the people and culture of the island. It was simply a wonderful experience.

After we saw the legitimate needs of the people and considered the vast resources in America, we decided to start a non-profit organisation and registered the name Island Health Care Service. This organisation was chartered to provide products, materials, services and other needed resource support to Jamaica's NGOs and, possibly, other Caribbean countries. Hence, the name 'island'.

As it turned out, Jamaica and its people captured my heart! The need was there and the door was open. If I could tell the Jamaica Tourist Board anything, it would be to focus on the people of Jamaica, not the sand, not the water, not the food. I can get all that here in the USA. Trust me.

What I can't get in the USA are the real Jamaican people, wrapped in Jamaican culture. The voice. The tone. The smiles and the expressions. Those are the features that have drawn me into doing what I can for the people.

Over the years, I have shipped a dozen-plus 40-foot shipping containers filled with building materials, school supplies, refrigerators, tables/chairs and clothing to registered NGOs; distributed tens of thousands of US dollars to NGOs; arranged US visas and prosthetic devices to amputees; and numerous other projects and activities that benefit the people of Jamaica.

All this was done because of the Jamaican people - and more will be done. A lot of new things and trendy ideas are written and voiced by public officials and those in authority in Jamaica, but it's the old stuff that draws the heart.


New Jersey, USA