WATCH: Ewarton Resident, Leslie Bowen, Awarded For Service To CommunityJanuary 4, 2023 0 By Jamaica Beacon
Leslie Bowen feels honoured to have been among five people awarded for community service in his native Ewarton, St Catherine.
“I feel honoured to know that mi a serve the community over a period of time and people really acknowledge what I do,” he told The Beacon after collecting the award from the Ewarton Community Development Committee (Ewarton CDC).
Much of Bowen’s decades of voluntary work centres on sports as well as upkeep of Bramwell Clarke Park and Sports Complex – the community’s main sporting and recreational facility.
“When the sports complex wasn’t generating any money and everybody neglect it, I am always there for the youth and making sure they have a place where they can come for recreation,” he said.
Noting that he expected nothing in return, Bowen said it is only recently that he started receiving an occasional stipend.
He explained that he mainly cut the grass and marked the football field and running track.
Spending much of his time at the sports complex, Bowen developed a bond with a number of the young people and eventually became an organizer of his community’s football team and league.
He noted that one of his friends, Wayde Lewin, assisted him tremendously with the young footballers.
Bowen’s penchant for sports is not surprising.
He recalled playing football for about two years for the then Alcan bauxite company located in Ewarton. He started when he was 17.
Bowen was never employed at Alcan, but the people who worked there treated him well while he played for the company.
That generosity is what inspired him in the early 1990s to start giving back to the community.
“I decided to give back something to the community and the youth, but mi never have any money,” Bowen said.
“That’s why mi come in the community centre and try facilitate the youths to the best of mi ability.”
Sports and recreation, Bowen argued, is vital to any community.
“To me, sports is a thing that can unite the community and keep the youth dem occupied,” he reasoned, adding that young people have less time to get involved in anti-social activities when are otherwise occupied.
Bowen further asserted that, outside of sports, he does not hesitate to throw his support behind community-based organizations and initiatives geared towards improvement of his hometown.
“If a drain or anything block in the community, I would go out there and clean it,” said the alumnus of Ewarton Primary School and Ewarton High, formerly Ewarton Secondary.
After completing high school, he enrolled in a skills training programme at Commodore district in Linstead, St Catherine.
However, he dropped out of the pogramme after becoming a father.
Early fatherhood, Bowen disclosed, posed many challenges for him.
“Right now, mi haffi counsel the youths about early relationship and how it can damage boy pickney,” he said. “Having a child early set mi back big time.”
Bowen recalled giving up football and skills training to pursue farming to help support his child. He is now a proud father of three.
Bowen, who is a poultry farmer, encourages young people and others to volunteer in order to make their communities better.
“I volunteer because a lot of things need to do in the community,” he declared. “Mi seh to myself sometimes that it look like volunteerism dead; wi haffi duh a post mortem to find out wah duh volunteerism. But I would encourage the youth fi mek wi start back with volunteerism.”
In addition to Bowen, four other community stalwarts were awarded on 24 November 2022 during a ceremony hosted by the Sashoy Thomas-lead Ewarton CDC at Bramwell Clarke Park and Sports Complex. The others are: Brian Perry, June Thompson, Beverly Jobson-Grant and Dalfin Brown.
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