Foundation to be set up in honour of fallen hero

The dream of a foundation in the name of Deon Lendore is set to become reality.

In a tribute to the deceased Trinidad and Tobago quartermiler during his funeral service at the Santa Rosa Roman Catholic Church in Arima, yesterday, Member of Parliament for Arima, Penelope Beckles said she is in support of the foundation.

“There’s a special request to set up the Deon Lendore Foundation. It would be specifically for athletes who have challenges, especially financial challenges, so they can achieve what Deon achieved.”

Following yesterday’s funeral service, Lendore, who died in a vehicular accident in Texas, USA, on January 10, was buried at the Santa Rosa RC Cemetery.

Lendore enjoyed many successes for Trinidad and Tobago, both in the individual 400 metres and the 4x400m relay. At 19, he anchored T&T to 4x4 bronze at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England. His most recent 4x4 podium finish in T&T colours came at the 2019 World Relays in Yokohama, Japan, where he teamed up with Jereem “The Dream” Richards, Asa Guevara and Machel Cedenio for gold.

Richards, who was also Lendore’s team-mate at Arima-based club Abilene Wildcats, was among the pallbearers. The Farinha twins, Jonathan and Nathan, also carried their fallen team-mate.

Many more athletes, former athletes and athletics officials paid their last respects to Lendore yesterday. The list includes Cedenio, Semoy Hackett, Reyare Thomas, Andwuelle Wright, Jehue Gordon, Zwede Hewitt, Jamaal James, Jamol James, Wendell Williams, National Association of Athletics Administrations (NAAATT) president George Comissiong, NAAATT general secretary Dexter Voisin and former NAAATT president Ephraim Serrette.

T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis gave a stirring tribute to Lendore.

“Deon was ambitious, patriotic and brave. He talked the talk, led by example and walked the talk. He was an ambassador for his generation, and always answered the call, whether for Texas A&M University, Abilene or Trinidad and Tobago.”

Also among the mourners were Abilene coach Charlie Joseph and American Pat Henry, Lendore’s coach at Texas A&M. Henry was accompanied by his wife Gail.

The funeral programme featured a photo of Lendore, wearing a blue jacket, a white jersey and a broad smile. Instead of mourning in black, his family and close friends dressed in like manner. They came together to honour the deceased quartermiler, accompanying him on a final “lap” from the church to the cemetery.

The blue brigade included Lendore’s mother, Christina Edmund, and his sister, Leah Johnson.
“Let us love him and keep him in our hearts,” Johnson said in her eulogy, “and let his legacy live on.”

Edmund expressed gratitude for all the support she has received since her son’s untimely passing.

During his tribute to Lendore, Abilene president Shedley Branche announced the renaming of the Abilene Wildcats Track Classic.

“It will now be called the ‘Deon Lendore Memorial Track Classic’.”

Lendore attended Arima Boys Government Primary School and Queen’s Royal College.

Arima Boys Government principal, Kurt Fleming heaped praises on Lendore, and called on the congregation to “pass the baton of love” and the other commendable virtues associated with his former student “from generation to generation to generation”.

Dressed appropriately in blue, QRC principal David Simon shared tributes from former QRC principal Lennard Hinkson and former vice-principal Wayne Marcano. Simon also had great things to say about Lendore.

“Deon embodied everything that is, was and will be Queen’s Royal College.”

Principal Simon closed with an adaptation of an iconic Latin statement associated with the institution.

“Magnum Est Deon Lendore.”

The translation, “Great is Deon Lendore” aptly describes the sentiments of the hundreds who showed up in Arima yesterday to say farewell to one of the Borough’s most treasured sons.