Mr Clembert Powell: A Life Devoted to Service and Humanity

It was with great sadness that we received the news of the passing of Mr Clembert Nathaniel Powell, the former Commissioner of St John Ambulance Jamaica, in January 2024. The following article is shared on behalf of St John Ambulance Jamaica.

Mr Powell’s story is not just a chronicle of personal achievement but a testament to the impact one individual can have on the lives of many.

At the age of 28, Mr Powell commenced his dedicated journey with the St John Ambulance Brigade in Jamaica, marking the start of an extraordinary six-decade commitment to service. Despite his initial hesitance, his tenure turned into a lifelong dedication, embodying the ethos of Pro Fide, Pro Utilitate Hominum.

His leadership and teaching skills were commendable and exemplary, as he trained numerous individuals in first aid across Jamaica and the Caribbean. His philosophy, “Do as I do, not as I say,” was not just a motto but a way of life, as he led by example in both his professional and voluntary endeavours.

Mr Clembert Powell

His impact extended beyond first aid, as evident in his contributions to organisations such as John Crook Limited, Metropress Limited, and Daniels’ Hardware. Moreover, being recognised as the International Volunteer of the Year for Kingston in 2010 further underscored his diverse talents and unwavering commitment to making a meaningful difference.

Mr Powell’s life was firmly rooted in his faith and moral values. His long service as a Sunday school teacher at the Church of St John the Evangelist and his dedication to his duties in the Island Special Constabulary Force showcased his commitment to both his community and country. He demonstrated exceptional courage and compassion in helping victims following the catastrophic events of Hurricane Charlie in 1951 and the Kendal train crash in 1967, said to be the second-worst railway disaster in the world at the time.

Beyond his professional accolades and community service, what truly made Mr Powell a distinguished individual was his humanity. Recognising that the essence of first aid lies in the simple and selfless act of assisting a fellow human being with nothing but “naked hands” and a genuine desire to help, he embodied a compassionate spirit in the service of others. He believed in the power of improvisation and the wisdom of using what is readily available—a philosophy that speaks volumes about his resourcefulness and ingenuity that transcended conventional boundaries.

Mr Powell’s life served as a profound example of humility, service, and leadership. His teachings, both in words and deeds, will continue to inspire those who had the privilege to know him and those who will come to know him through the legacy he left behind.

In remembering Mr Powell, we are reminded of the significant truth encapsulated in his words:

“There is nothing more rewarding than saving a life.” 

His life was a vivid illustration of this belief, and his memory will continue to encourage us all to live with kindness, courage, and an unwavering commitment to the service of humanity.

Farewell, Mr Powell. Your journey was a blessing to many, and your legacy will forever be a guiding light. Your life was indeed a true embodiment of Pro Fide, Pro Utilitate Hominum, “For the Faith, for the Service of Humanity.”