Christopher Serju, Gleaner Writer
The senior citizens were the ones being feted, gently tapping the desk or rocking to the beat of Christmas carols as they caught up with friends from neighbouring communities at the De La Vega Community Centre in Spanish Town, St Catherine, recently, but Don Wehby was clearly having just as much fun.
“This is the nicest part of my job,” the GraceKennedy Group chief executive officer shared with The Gleaner in-between greeting some of the more than 60 persons who turned out for the annual Christmas treat hosted by the Grace and Staff Community Development Foundation.
Former GraceKennedy employee Desreen Mighty caught Wehby off guard when she proudly showed him two identification cards from her days with the company, having spent 28 years on staff.
As she started right out of school, the older of the two cards showed her with an Afro hairstyle and with her maiden name, Allen.
However, she proudly pointed out to Wehby that it had been signed by the late Carlton Alexander, former chairman and chief executive officer of Grace.
The retired 75-year-old described the company as “outstanding” and was quite willing to share stories about her time spent there.
Drawn from March Pen, Lakes Pen, Lime Tree, Quarrie Hill and De La Vega City, the beneficiaries are selected by members of the Grace and Staff Community Development Foundation who work in these communities, and the event is eagerly anticipated, according to Joan Black, treasurer of the De La Vega City Benevolent Society.
“It is always well received,” she disclosed.
All the senior citizens were treated to Grace gift baskets, as well as lively interaction with members of the GraceKennedy Group and the Grace and Staff Community Development Foundation, who combined their singing talents to form a company choir, serving up rousing rounds of carols and Yuletide cheer.
It was obvious that, for the retirees, some of whom had been bussed to the location, it was a welcomed intervention.
Wehby really made their day when he promised that as long as he is head of GraceKennedy Limited, they would always have a Christmas treat. For this, he earned a sustained round of applause.