We were surrounded by gunshots | Linstead club celebrates 38 years after tough start

It’s a beginning that is worth being told, even if only for a lesson in perseverance.

On 15 September 1980, thirty brave men gathered to help improve the lot of children who lived in and around Linstead, St Catherine.

They formed the Kiwanis Club of Linstead.

“Most times when we were having our meetings, we were very fearful because we were surrounded by gunshots,” said William ‘Ruddy’ Ricketts, one of two founders who are still alive.

The other, Deryck Dilworth, is said to be ill.

Ricketts said the gunshots that scared the Club founders were part of the violence that gripped Jamaica in the 1980s.

Ricketts, however, is ecstatic that the Club has survived the tests of times.

“I can stand here with pride knowing that the future of this Club is in good hands,” he said during the organization’s 38th anniversary celebration last Wednesday (September 12) at Linstead Methodist Church Hall.

President of the Club, Stacy-Ann Lawman, said the institution has made a ‘significant impact’ on the lives of the children it promised to serve.

“I pray you do not lose your momentum to serve one child, one community at a time,” she added.
A similar sentiment came from the guest speaker, Abdon Campbell, President Designate of the Kiwanis Foundation of Jamaica.

“All of us have a responsibility and a duty to help the children,” he declared. “Too much has been happening to our children.”

Robert Moo-Young, Governor of Eastern Canada and the Caribbean, urged senior Club leaders to ensure they serve as mentors for younger members. He also challenged Linstead Kiwanians to continue the ‘good work’.

The Kiwanis Club of Linstead, in the meantime, has just over 50 members, including three who were inducted last Wednesday. They are Shauna-Lee Brown, La-Tisha Clarke Thomas, and Jasmine Edwards Lennox.

Here are some of the moments captured during the anniversary celebration:

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