As Chief of the Jamaica Defence Force, Major General Anthony Anderson had the opportunity last Saturday night to salute retired troops in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) for their charitable work.
Anderson was the guest of honour at the 19th annual awards ceremony of the Jamaica Ex-Soldiers Association’s Canadian chapter.
The chapter has been quite active in the last two decades. It supports the Curphey Retirement Home for Ex-Soldiers in Jamaica, provides bursaries to students in Canada and hosts cultural events.
The Canadian chapter was the first organization comprising former Jamaica soldiers to be established outside the Caribbean country. Associations have since been set up in New York, Florida and England.
“They have all maintained an interest in the organization even though they left and came to Canada,” said Anderson who enlisted in the Army in 1984 after graduating from Calabar High School and the College of Arts, Science & Technology. “In the military, they learned about service and they are now giving back. It could have been very easy for them to migrate and start a new life without remembering those they left behind and the less fortunate.
“Tonight I would like to encourage those ex-solders who are not members of this organization to consider joining and becoming part of a great group that is doing tremendous work in their adopted homeland. This organization is really doing well for Brand Jamaica and Brand Jamaica Defence Force.”
Jamaica’s consul general in Toronto, George Ramocan, thanked the ex-soldiers for the roles they played in the Army before coming to Canada and their contributions in their new homeland.
“It takes courage, strength, love and discipline to stand guard and protect the land you call home,” he said. “With the steadfast commitment of your members and community partners, this association will, without a doubt, continue to flourish and remain a staple in our communities here and in Jamaica.”
This year’s bursary award recipients were Lekeeya Kinghorn, Jedine Anderson and Nicole Edwards.
A graduate of Emily Carr Secondary School, Kinghorn is a first-year York University student while Edwards, who graduated from Father Michael McGivney Catholic Academy, is attending the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. She aspires to work with a law enforcement agency.
Anderson graduated from Chinguacousy Secondary School and is a first-year student at the University of Guelph-Humber.