JIS News

Chairman of the National Poppy Appeal Committee, Lt. Col. Oral Khan is appealing to Jamaicans to support the drive to raise funds in the sum of $3.2 million, to assist ageing Jamaican ex-servicemen who fought in World War II.
Lt. Col. Oral Khan, told JIS News in an interview, that the 2003 National Poppy Appeal, launched on October 5, would officially end in April 2004. The drive seeks to raise funds to help the Jamaica Legion, an association of ex-servicemen.
The Jamaica Legion, among other things, assists the Curphey Home, an institution for ageing ex-servicemen. The home, which is located in Newport, Manchester, accommodates 21 veterans, and is the only one of its kind in the Caribbean.
Additionally, there are 700 ex-servicemen around the island, who are receiving welfare assistance through the Legion. “Most of the veterans are advanced in their golden years, and not everyone has someone to assist them,”Lt. Col. Khan pointed out.
“These veterans were not selfish. They went to the war, they made their contribution, risked personal injury and death.the war was won, and we’re enjoying freedom today. And the least that we can do is to help them in their latter days, just to have a decent existence,” he stressed.
“If people play their part,” he added, “we can meet the target, so I am just appealing to everyone.when you see the poppies, give generously, it’s going to a worthy cause,” he emphasised.
The Jamaica Legion, is part of a Commonwealth organisation. “We’re associated with the British Legion, which is part of the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Servicemen Legion,” Mr. Khan said.
Although the sale of poppies will be the primary fund-raiser at this time, Lt. Col. Khan explained that each parish has a committee, normally chaired by the Custos of the parish, which will also undertake other fundraising activities, at the parish level.
The poppy appeal will also serve to increase awareness and encourage remembrance of the veterans’ contribution to present day freedoms.
This awareness, it is hoped, will be heightened on Remembrance Weekend and especially Remembrance Day, which will be celebrated on November 9. “Around the Remembrance Weekend [November 8-9], we hope to have cadets across the island, with cans on the streets soliciting contributions,” he noted.
Poppies have been distributed to all parishes including business establishments, schools and banks. Persons are being encouraged to make a contribution of any amount, in return for a poppy, which will be pinned on their clothes.

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