Photo of the Week
October 28, 2001
Background: The Army sponsored two annual fairs at Forts Davis and Clayton each year. Since the mid '80s, I was the Fair Director for both sides of the Isthmus. When I first started coordinating these fairs, they gave me soldiers on special detail to help with the setup. I got different persons each day. This wasn't going to work! I convinced higher headquarters to let me contract my workers so that I had the same crew everyday. The first time around, I hired a crew out of Colon. The tall guy (Jaime Ponce) on the far right of this photo was my crew boss and got the rest of the guys for me. The crew changed a little from year to year, but had the best workers that anyone could have asked for. The best part was, these guys were all maliantes from Colon and would scare most folks if they came across them on the streets of Colon. They may even mug you...I developed a great working relationship with these crews and found the guys to be the best workers I could have ever asked for. I befriended them all and they loved to work for me. These guys taught me so much about the Colon culture in many different levels of class. Jaime worked with me for over 10 years through trials and tribulations. He is now my good friend and hope to see him again the next time I go home.
The photo above was snapped a few weeks before my final departure from home. The 1996 Directorate of Community Activities Fair was my last one and this was my crew. We are all standing near the steps of the "Jump Tower" that the Fort Kobbe airborne unit ran during the fair. Jarman Field, Fort Clayton is in the background. This field was full of carnival rides and booths a few days before this photo. I loved the excitement running these fairs and the people that help me during set up, operation and tear down. I miss them all.
A couple notes of interest in this photo is the guy that is standing the highest on the stairs and wearing a black ball cap. His name is Rick Iglesias and interesting enough, was a former waiter at the Tivoli Hotel in it's last years. The guy in the red/orange shirt and afro is named Tito. He is a descendent of a French and Jamaican family mixed from the past during the French construction days.
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