By Gemma Raeburn-Baynes

Last week managers, directors, faculty, and staff at John Abbott College in the West Island gathered to surprise O’Carroll Seales on his 80th birthday, a two-fold recognition that includes 50 years of services as an employee at the institution, something only two other members on staff can boast.

“This is a rare occasion to celebrate such a long-standing employee”, says a co-worker.

O’Carroll, a quiet family man migrated to Canada from Trinidad & Tobago in 1969 at the age of 26. He met his wife, Verna Pinder, and they raised five daughters. Tracie, one of his twin daughters, works alongside her father at the college and refers to him as her boss.
He and his family emerged as well-respected members of our community, playing significant and supportive roles in the development of businesses, cultural groups and organizations.
Upon arrival into Canada, O’Carroll worked at Seltzer Catering as a co-ordinator.
He later accepted a job at College Ahuntsic but after one year he moved on to John Abbott College to work in the copy centre as a printer, a trade he acquired in his homeland.
It was not long before he introduced more machines and presses to the college and moved into what is now known as The Printing Services Department, taking on the role as coordinator.
With four staff members reporting to him, O’Carroll and his team pride themselves on giving good service to faculty, students, administration and staff. He also provides job-training opportunities each year to students by hiring them as temporary workers during the school year.

“I enjoy getting up early and going to work at the college. My main objective is to serve the teachers who appreciate what I do”, says O’Carroll. And that they do. As a gift to him on his 80th birthday, a congratulatory booklet, signed by all faculty and staff, was created with hand-written notes of appreciation.
When asks about his long tenure of 50 years at the college, O’Carroll says he is motivated by the generation of students he meets each year. “They keep me young”, he says with a smile. “Each year a fresh batch of students come in, as well I have made an incredible number of life-long friends at the college. I am blessed to be healthy and happy and look forward to working
every day.”

At 80, O’Carroll has no plans of slowing down. He admits that he looks forward to working every day. He says he has a fear of retiring but would like to travel some more.
He says his greatest accomplishment is his children and grandchildren.
The Contact joins the rest of the community in wishing O’Carroll Seales, “Continued Good Health and Strength and a Very Happy 80th Birthday.”