The Local – Friday, Oct.28
It happened in a split second – metal on bone, laundry scattered, a twisted bike frame on the side of the street, faces blurring in and out of his vision.
It had been a hectic day for Ceto Reid up until that moment when his life literally flashed before his eyes.
It was to be his last day on his 8 month work contract before flying home to his own family and farm in St.Elizabeth, Jamaica. He had been working in Canada for close to 2 decades, the last 9 years working in Niagara on the Lake.
It’s going to be a long recovery, any weight bearing and travel will have to wait until his next assessment in mid December. Since being discharged from the hospital his coworkers have been caring for him when they come home from work and members of the local community are helping with donations to cover necessities.
There are immediate concerns when someone working on a seasonal farm program experiences injury or critical illness.In addition to the physical and emotional stress, they also face immediate expenses for necessities and a typical eight week wait before receiving sick benefits. They are unable to send financial support to their families back home. Often their concerned coworkers try to make up the shortfall, digging into their own personal savings to provide assistance.
When there is critical illness or injuries loved ones are thousands of kilometers away, unable to care for them or be with them in their final moments as was the case in the three farm workers deaths in Niagara this past season.
As a community there must be a way we can develop a support strategy for the following needs and work towards solutions together:
- Family separation is a significant factor when dealing with trauma. Loved ones need to be involved in their care at such critical times. It can take two months or longer to get a visitor’s visa, if they can get one at all. How can this process be expedited in times of emergency?
- The creation of a community based benevolent fund that can assist injured or ill workers with groceries and necessities until they actually receive funds from insurance providers.
We have the power as a caring community to make the changes.
I asked Ceto if he have any words to share.
“ I want to give God thanks for life. I’m so grateful to still be alive after this, it could have ended differently. “ “And these guys,” he nodded to his coworkers next to him “have been so caring! I really appreciate all they have done since this happened.”
“I also want to commend the staff in 5B at the St.Catharines General, but especially two nurses – Antoinette and Wayne. They went beyond the call of duty and really cared for me, always checking in about my pain levels and to see if I was OK. Their care was exceptional and I want people to know how wonderful they were.”
Watching the intent faces of his coworkers I realized that they too benefited from the excellent care of their friend. The ripples of a caring community extend farther than our imagination can take us!