Runcie Kiran Dookeran, the nephew of former Congress of the People leader Winston Dookeran, is now flying the T&T flag recently been awarded the Navy and Marine Corps commendation medal from the Department of the Navy for his leadership qualities, commitment to duty, dedication and loyalty to the United States government by Navy's Lieutenant Commander Lopez in San Antonio for upholding the highest traditions of the US naval service.
In 2006 when businessman Bertram Dookeran found out that a plot was being hatched to kidnap his 22-year-old son, he took the tough decision and sent him to the United States for safe keeping.
Eleven years later, Runcie Kiran Dookeran, the nephew of former Congress of the People leader Winston Dookeran, is now flying the T&T flag having recently been awarded the Navy and Marine Corps commendation medal from the Department of the Navy for his leadership qualities, commitment to duty, dedication and loyalty to the United States government.
Contacted by the T&T Guardian, the elder Dookeran, a father of three, spoke in glowing terms of his 33-year-old son, who has not only made him proud but also his country.
Earlier this month, the award was presented to Kiran by the Navy’s Lt Commander Lopez in San Antonio for upholding the highest traditions of the US naval service.
While basking in the glory of his last son’s accomplishments, Bertram wished his son’s mother, Leela Dookeran, could have celebrated with him. Leela died in 2008.
Bertram, 71, recalled that after enrolling Kiran at the University of The West Indies’ St Augustine campus to pursue linguistics, he had to pull him out of school because he could not remain focused.
“He kept ducking classes and would go to the river with his friends and cook and lime. I told him he was wasting time and brought him into my stock piling business in Mt Hope to manage my accounting books,” Dookeran recalled.
But after a few months on the job, Dookeran said he got wind that there was a plot to kidnap Kiran, which terrified his family.
“I didn’t want to take any chances with Kiran’s life so I decided to send him away,” Dookeran said, as he broke down in tears last Wednesday, stating that it was one of the toughest decisions he had to make in his life.
He said at that time there had been an upsurge of kidnappings for ransoms in the country and he had to protect Kiran from harm or death.
Dookeran said when Kiran migrated his heart shattered to pieces and his family life changed.
“Life was not the same. But eleven years later I can smile and feel proud knowing that all was not lost. Out of evil cometh good,” Dookeran said.
He said when Kiran settled in the US he began pursuing pharmaceuticals and to his surprise, his son began excelling.
Kiran’s academic prowess did not go unnoticed. The Navy saw his potential and encouraged him to join. Kiran was enrolled as a petty officer and was assigned to the Osbourne Branch Dental Clinic, where he topped his class. By 2009, Kiran was posted to Iraq as a dental assistant, where he earned his first US Navy and Marine Corps commendation medal for going beyond the call of duty.
“Then the Navy sent him to work as a dental instructor at the San Antonio Hospital and this is where he was recognised for his accomplishments,” Dookeran said.
During an interview on Skype, Kiran, who recently graduated with an associate degree in Applied Science at the Thomas Edison State University, said his motivation to succeed came from his dad, who taught him the values of hard work, honesty and integrity.
“Some people take the easy street to get things quickly. I have never seen that in my dad. I have always known him to be honest, a hard worker and someone with integrity.”
Kiran said he lives by these three qualities as he tries to walk in his father’s shoes.
“I wasted time at UWI. It was only when I came to the US I realised how important education was and how far it can take me,” said Kiran, a former St Mary’s College student.
But had it not been for self-motivation and time management, Kiran said he still would not made it this far.
“When I got this award I was overwhelmed with joy because even though I am not in Trinidad, I have been trying to be a positive representative for my country,” Kiran said.
“Sometimes you hear negative things about Trinidadians being deported from the US for drugs or guns and it always paints a bad picture for external citizens. I just want to promote that not all Trinidadians are bad.
“We do make accomplishments because of the school we attend, the community we grow up in and the teachings from our family.”
He observed that T&T was losing its community spirit.
Asked if he had any regrets about the path he took, Kiran said no.
“I don’t live my life with regrets. I believe everything happens in due timing. But I am saddened that I could not live my life in Trinidad and Tobago to contribute to society.”
He opted not to talk about his tour and experiences in Iraq.
“I came back safely compared to a lot of other guys. A lot of guys come back with post-traumatic stress disorder. I consider myself very blessed because I prepared myself before going there being in the medical field. I would like to leave those situations there.”
Kiran, whose allegiance lies with US government, said he hopes to serve the full 20 years in the navy.
Source: Trinidad Guardian
T&T news blog
The intent of this blog is to bring some news from home and other fun items. If you enjoy what you read, please leave us a comment..