The Brooklyn-based umbrella Vincentian group in the United States, Council of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Organizations, U.S.A., Inc. (COSAGO) honored two community stalwarts, as it wrapped up the nation’s 37th Independence Anniversary celebrations in the Big Apple.
Registered Nurse Judith Lewis and retired public school teacher Olson Thomas were honored before over 400 patrons at a gala luncheon at Grand Prospect Hall in Brooklyn. COSAGO organized the event in collaboration with the New York Consulate General.
The honorees also received a New York City Proclamation from Brooklyn Councilman Dr. Mathieu Eugene, the Haitian-born representative for the 40th City Council District, which covers Flatbush and East Flatbush, among other sections, in Brooklyn. Registered Nurse Celia Bramble, a former president of the Brooklyn-based St. Vincent and the Grenadines Nurses Association of New York, and a COSAGO executive, was instrumental in getting Eugene to bestow the proclamations.
In addition, COSAGO and its president Laverne McDowald-Thompson received citations, from Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, which were read by COSAGO executive Ancilla Friday, who is also public relations officer of the Brooklyn-based Club St. Vincent, Inc., one of the leading cultural and educational Vincentian groups in the United States.
Mc-Dowald-Thompson, an erstwhile elementary school teacher in her native land, acknowledged the DeShong sisters and Claudette Thomas-Butler, of Kingstown, and Club St. Vincent, Inc. for their efforts, over the years, in helping to raise funds to assist Vincentian athletes competing in the prestigious Penn Relays at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
Thomas, whose teaching career in St. Vincent and the Grenadines culminated in 1971, as principal of Union Methodist School in South Central Windward, said he was “thrilled” to receive the award.
He said he shared the award with members of the Brooklyn-based SVG Humanitarian Organization, of which he is president. These included Earl Bailey, who introduced him; Allie James and Erlene Peters.
“I’m very proud of my country because of what I have done,” said Thomas, a retired Math specialist with New York City Department of Education, whose enthusiasm for culture is described as “exemplary.”
As a songwriter, his list of songs includes: “Welcome to St. Vincent and the Grenadines;” “Love One Another;” “Banana Man;” and “Stand Up for What is Right.”
Thomas, who is also a poet, was the founding member of the now defunct Dulce Melos Orchestra, of Georgetown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ second largest town.
New Consul General Howie Prince, former head of the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO), challenged cultural and sports ambassadors in the Diaspora to “step up their game,” putting on the spot two such ambassadors present – Cyril N. “Scorcher” Thomas and Stanley “Luxie” Morris – to state “what it means to be an ambassador.”
Adapted from Caribbean Life – Nelson King