The Little Things – “A Well-Deserved Retirement!”June 15, 2023
Written by Karen McLean | Featuring Jampa Tsondue
Security officer Jampa Tsondue is from Tibet. His country was illegally invaded by Communist China in 1959. Almost 1.5 million Tibetans died during the occupation. Jampa’s parents were among 100,000 Tibetans that fled to India.
Jampa arrived in the United States at JFK Airport on August 1, 1992. One thousand Tibetan refugees were given asylum in the United States with a Green Card upon arrival during the George Bush Sr. administration.
Jampa worked as a Tibetan Buddhist artist while in India. When he came to the U.S., he worked in art restoration and conservation at the U.S. Capital Building in Washington D.C. preserving murals and frescos until he moved to Old Saybrook, Connecticut. He lives there with his wife KC (Kunga Choekyi) of 40 years. She owned KC’s Nail Salon in Old Saybrook but has now closed her business and retired. They have three children and two grandchildren.
Jampa worked some other jobs locally until he found a home here at Essex Meadows where he has been for the last 18 years.
In his spare time, Jampa meditates daily and reads Tibetan Buddhist philosophy in order “bring up the level of his spiritual state of mind.” He loves cooking, cleaning, and other household chores. He even renovated his kitchen and bathroom on his own!
When he retires Jampa will continue creating artwork and “will seek happiness through spiritual practice and will train his mind every day till the end!”
Jampa loved working at Essex Meadows because of the good and interesting people that live here. He said “I miss my parents, especially my Dad.
I never got a chance to serve him, but when I come to work, I feel like I am doing for my own family, and I do it with love and care.” His favorite part of the job was interacting with residents and staff members. He said it is the good people at Essex Meadows that he will miss the most- ALL of them.
I have known Jampa for 15 years and in that time I have come to know what a wonderful and unique person he is. He has been a skilled and faithful member of our team that we rely on for knowledge and consistency. He has helped train many of our newer officers and consulted with us on policies and procedures that have helped to make our community safer. His calm and compassionate demeanor has made him a beloved member of our department and the community. I personally admire his ability to stay composed and centered no matter the circumstances. Devon Leaky, our security supervisor, tells me daily that we have some big shoes to fill when Jampa retires, and I agree. When Jampa arrives for his shift and takes the keys, the radio, and the clipboard I know the building is safe and both Tim Reynolds and I will sleep well that night. It will be hard to say goodbye to him, but we are thrilled to see him retire after so many years of hard work. Knowing he will have time with his wife and family to pursue his interests and enjoy life is a blessing for all of us that have come to know him and call him a friend. Thank you Jampa and congratulations!