Devoted son’s mom pampered on eve of International Women’s Day
On Monday, senior citizen Elmena O’Conner was pampered and treated by members of the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) Area 2 team, which comprises the parishes of Trelawny, St Ann, Portland and St Mary.
Julian Davis Buckle, assistant commissioner, under whose portfolio Area 2 falls, told The Gleaner that, initially, the 89 women in the division planned on celebrating International Women’s Day by going to women’s centres and children’s homes in the parishes, but they had a change of mind when they saw a feature on Wayne Reid in The Gleaner on February 9 talking about his mother.
Reid had made a desperate plea for assistance as, he said, he had given up his job as a taxi operator to care for his ailing mother, who has a heart condition.
“I saw the story and was extremely moved by it, so I posted it in the WhatsApp group with all females and I said to them, ‘Isn’t this something we could look at?’ Within seconds, the response from the females was ‘yes’,” Buckle related.
According to her, the women planned on putting money together to purchase T-shirts to wear as a team when they were going to the children’s home, but then they got an inspiration to instead use the money to make a difference in the lives of Reid and his mother.
When the news team arrived at her home, O’Conner was enjoying a pedicure, courtesy of certified nail technician and firefighter, Acting Corporal Talia Edwards. Prior to that, the senior had her hair groomed.
The team brought specially prepared meals and goodies for the senior as well as her son.
Buckle said what moved her was Reid’s comment during the interview, when he said, “You will have many other girlfriends, but you will have only one mother.”
“That, for us, was it, and we rallied on that,” she said, adding that she enlisted the assistance of LASCO to secure goods for the family.
After interviewing O’Conner before the visit, Buckle said the decision was made to treat her grandson as well, as she noted that for the entire conversation “every other word from her was about her grandson,” 13-year-old Anthony Jaden Reid.
“We said, we have to include him, because he is also an influence in her life,” she shared, telling The Gleaner that she brought a backpack filled with school supplies for him.
The team kicked off the celebration of International Women’s Day by cutting a cake with O’Conner.
On Tuesday, the team headed to the women’s centre in Portland and Trelawny, as well as children’s homes in St Ann and St Mary.
It was a reunion of firefighters as Buckle was pleased to know that Romaine Rowe, founder of the Crofts Hill-based One Connection group, which is spearheading the project, is also a firefighter.
“As an officer who was in charge of Clarendon too, I knew him right away. The Jamaica Fire Brigade is out in numbers, from start to finish. We gonna pilot this project until it ends,” she said, adding that the JFB commissioner and deputy commissioner also contributed to the pre-International Women’s Day project.
Buckle said the best part of the day was the reception she received from O’Conner when she was being feted, which she described as “overwhelming” and “joy untold”.