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Clarendon Native A Leader at U.S. Farm

By: , November 11, 2022

The Full Story

At the busy Miami airport, 15 years ago, Collin Rumble was about to board a return flight to Jamaica after a challenging first season on the H2A Labour Programme, when he decided to assist an older gentleman who was struggling with his luggage.

Little did the Clarendon native know at the time, that the encounter would lead him to a “wonderful” work environment where he would spend many productive seasons.

The gentleman Mr. Rumble assisted was the late George Gillespie, a Jamaican worker and then team leader at the Massachusetts-based Nourse Farms.

“I didn’t have any idea who he was; but my thing is to help. Any time I see people struggling, I like to help them,” he tells JIS News.

Mr. Rumble got a job on the Nourse Farms, and with his exceptional qualities, he was promoted to the position of team leader after Mr. Gillespie passed away some time later.

Mr. Rumble was among a team, meeting with Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Karl Samuda, during his recent visit with farm groups in the United States (US).

“I was so glad to meet the Minister. Where I am [at Nourse Farms], I love these people because they care about us. It was a great moment to meet Mr. Samuda and other farm owners,” he says.

The 59-year-old, who has been married for 27 years, is the father of six and a grandfather of 14.

His farm work travels see him spending eight months of each year in the US, where he cultivates strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, currants, and rhubarbs.

Mr. Rumble says, for him, the best thing about Nourse Farms, which has a workforce of approximately 180 people from various countries including Jamaica, is the fact that the owners “help us a lot”, and that the farm is “a prosperous place for young people to make a better life for themselves.”

He says he has been able to own a home, support his children’s education and care for one of his sons who has been battling cancer for the last eight years.

Chief Compliance Officer and General Counsel at Nourse Farms, Rachel Monette, attests that Mr. Rumble is indeed “a wonderful, delightful human being to be around.”

“That carries forth through his work ethic. The way that he tends to his work is the same way that he tends to his loved ones. I mean, he just puts his all in at all times, no matter what is going on in his life personally. He is the most positive person and really incredible,” Ms. Monette tells JIS News.

She says following Mr. Gillespie’s death “Collin stepped in, in sort of a fatherly way, to look out for the crew and just maintain that really positive attitude, teamwork and work ethic that George always had as well.”

Such is the extent of Mr. Rumble’s kindness that each year, when the season ends and he’s shopping to return to Jamaica, he makes sure to purchase school supplies to share with the children in his community.

He tells JIS News that his spirit of kindness was passed down to him from his parents, whom he describes as “givers” and recalls a lesson from his late mother that has guided him for a lifetime.

“My mom would tell us it’s not who you give something to, that you will get it back from. You’re going to get it back in blessings, and my blessings have started now because I’ve been through the hardness of life,” he says.

Liaison officer for the H2A Labour Programme, Debbie Hutchinson, who has responsibility for the State of Massachusetts, also testified to the character of Mr. Rumble.

She tells JIS News that, “he’s one of those workers who will go the extra mile every single time, and he’s humble.”

“Some of these workers are real gentlemen on the job. They’re not just workers, they are citizens of the world; they give to, not just Jamaicans. If you go to the farm, there are even Latino workers who give Mr. Rumble a level of respect that is unparalleled.”

Established in 1943, the H2A Labour Programme allows foreign workers to enter the US and perform specific duties in the critical food supply chain as agricultural workers. Many Jamaicans participate in the programme each year, through the Labour Ministry.

Mr. Samuda’s recent visit involved a series of meetings in three States. He indicated in a communiqué that the visit was “very productive.”

“We also saw some of the men and we let them know how proud we are of their work ethic and of their contribution to their communities and to Jamaica,” he pointed out.

 

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