In the past few months some things that we take for granted were brought to my attention as never before - the work of the volunteers of Kingston College.
I began to pay much closer attention to this matter last year when I visited the Clovelly campus in January of 2010. On entering the main gates on that day, I was accompanied by Mike McCook and my son and so I was somewhat comfortable in my surroundings.
However, as I walked through the second set of gates a sense of relief passed over me because I saw several faces from the past. Faces like Mr. Bowler Morant and Mr. G for GoldSmith. As the afternoon drifted into evening, more old boys began to show up.
The first was my class mate Hugh “Pow Pow” Powell who is on the Management team for the track and field squad. Powell left straight from work to come to KC. He religiously does this ever evening. On this particular afternoon, Kingston experienced a serious earthquake – a five on the Richter scale. Powell explained that he was in his office in one of the skyscrapers downtown when he felt the shockwave. His office furniture moved all around as the building shook. In spite of this, Hugh Powell showed up to volunteer because he knew everyone was counting on him.
A little later that afternoon, Hamil Pagon showed up; remember tall lanky Pagon? He also experienced the shocks from the earthquake, but still knew he had a role that everyone was depending on him to play that day.
Fast forward to the middle of the year 2010. I am in NY at a KC event and I overheard one of the recent old boys, Alton Brown say, “I am going to Jamaica next week, does anybody have anything to send to the school?
Another old boy, Clinton Clarke, is always soliciting help for the school from New York. If the Miami chapter is having an event, Clarke is selling tickets to help Miami, the same for Atlanta or Tampa or Toronto. Clarke never misses a beat to help.
I started the article with the Title “Volunteers”, because it seems that a few are quietly doing a monumental job in keeping our flag flying high.
The “SUPER VOLUNTEERS” that I am exposed to are listed below. Obviously there are more, but these individuals are the one I am aware of. If there are more, please let us know because we need to know who they are.
- Glen Laman
- Audley Hewitt
- Robert Kelly
- Robert Rodney
- Gartfield Hall
- Rainford "Perry" Bloomfield
- Merrick Foster.
As I said there are definitely more, but these six gents are constantly doing things for the school all year round in my view.
Glen Laman has been the editor of the KC Times for many years. Each month he gets the publication out to the entire world. The work is time consuming and difficult yet he has managed to do this and also function as president of the Atlanta chapter while maintaining a full time job. How he does it only he and God and his family knows this. Hats off to you my brother.
Robert Kelly, outgoing president of NY chapter, seems never to miss an event on either side of the Atlantic. Robert has a slight handicap but he never uses this as an excuse. He can be considered the 21st century Foggy Burrowes. Robert returned to Jamaica in December 2010 to coordinate changes to the campus as a volunteer. He physically closed his enterprise in Springfield, Massachusetts and oversaw the refurbishment of the Chemistry lab. Go visit the lab now.
Robert applied to be the physical plant manager of KC without a salary, employing trades men from his own financial resources. He is at KC at all hours of the day and week. I visited the school on a Saturday morning this past January and I was told Robert would be there shortly. He flies between NY and Jamaica to attend the various events on the calendar at his own expense not KC’s or the old boys.
The PLATINUM VOLUNTEER is Audley Hewitt. From my days in sixth form and before, Audley Hewitt was always active on behalf of KC. He is the ultimate volunteer. I remember selling ads for the KC year book. Our team visited his insurance agency in downtown Kingston and Audley made sure every agent in his office with a KC connection took out and ad.
During our period of championships and defeats Audley is always present. I challenge anyone to say Audley was absent from a major event in Jamaica or Miami. If he is needed in New York, he shows up.
The New York events provide the best examples of how committed Audley is. This past April during the week of Penn Relays, more than 10 members of the KC team had to travel to NY in order to get to Penn’s. There was no, and I say No, formal transportation available from NY to Philadelphia for the boys and the coaches.
Robert Rodney informed me that Audley would be flying from Miami to NY where he would then borrow his son’s SUV to take five of the team members along with Gary Hall to the event. Now, I repeat, Audley flew from Miami to NY in order to bail out the KC track team. Mark you money was tight, so Audley volunteered to do this at his expense. To boot, Audley sponsored most of the team dinner that night. I witnessed Audley undertaking this endeavor because when Rodney told me what Audley was doing, I had to join in. In addition, Dr. Wilson, who has no affiliation with KC, took his SUV Jeep to JFK to transport the pole for the team member Boland so he could compete in the pole vault competition that Saturday morning.
Over the past 12 years, Audley has played a major role in fundraising for the athletic teams. He spearheads the annual Miami Purple Session featuring the Fab 5 every October. When KC did not perform well at the Gibson Relays this year, Audley stayed back in Jamaica to ensure that the relay teams worked on improving the baton exchanges.
Finally, we have a younger group that is stepping up to the plate: Rainford "Perry" Bloomfield, Gary Hall, Merrick Foster, and Robert Rodney. These young men know what it means for KC to succeed. They have the Volunteer spirit. They spend long hours working, planning, anticipating and giving of their time to help the school. Without their commitment, we might not have a KC that we have today. Fortis Forever to each of you.
Noel C. Spencer
Former President KCOBA 1986