Troy Akil Small was the definition of a true soldier and quintessential gentleman, so it was not at all surprising when a massive crowd gathered today at St Matthias Anglican Church in Christ Church to give him one final salute.
It was a fitting military send-off for a young man who devoted his life to serving his country, as members of the Barbados Defence Force (BDF) hoisted his flag-draped casket onto their shoulders, amidst sharp salutes.
Family, friends, and fellow soldiers, in the presence of dignitaries, including the BDF top rank, Minister of Health John Boyce and Minister of Social Care Steve Blackett, this afternoon merged into a single mournful family inside the church, trying to console each other as tears flowed freely.
Small, of Rollins Road, Goodland, Christ Church, became the island’s third road fatality for 2018 when he died in a single vehicle accident along Oistins Road on February 17.
The 24-year-old was attempting to drive himself to hospital for treatment for an asthma attack when tragedy struck, and he never made it.
Delivering a touching tribute on behalf of the BDF, Major Andrew Skeete spoke glowingly of his former colleague, while mentioning his dedication as a soldier.
“He was the true soldier – solid, focused and driving; not fake but humble, fierce and driven, but a respectful defender of all. He was always respectful and committed to the job at hand. His sense of duty was such that he put his medical services into play in the community as the medic with the Christ Church South constituency team for two years,” the senior BDF officer said.
“Troy was selfless, and he trusted persons. He was confident, amusing [and played] the fatherly role, never shying away from providing support, advice, guidance if necessary. He would always tell his colleagues, ‘don’t do anything foolish to make people talk about you. I am not picking on you I am looking out for you,’” Skeete said of his deceased colleague.
Skeete added that Small, who was part of the BDF Reserves and also an entrepreneur, was a people’s person who was brave and hardworking.
“His one nature was excellent people skills. His ever present smile and response when given a task, along with his industry, and most important, entrepreneurship acts, ensured that he was a success and an asset. No job was too small for him.
“He had humility, his dedication . . . was seen as he never let anything get in the way of his commitment to the Reserves. Troy was Small in name but big in character.”
During his short sermon BDF Senior Chapel Hugh Sandiford encouraged those gathered to “treasure each and every day and use your time wisely”, while stating even though Small’s life was short, “it was a life well lived”.
In keeping with tradition, members of the BDF escorted the body of the soldier to his final resting place at the military cemetery, while paying respect with a 21-gun salute and the playing of the last post, as mourners lay wreaths. firstname.lastname@example.org