We would like to thank those persons who contributed to making a success of the V.I. Fathers March on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015 and the Back to School Days of Prayer on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 5 and Sept. 6. Also, we want to take the time to thank those who contributed to making a success out of the Back to School Rally and Barbeque at Emile Griffith Park on Saturday, August 29, 2015.
We want to thank Governor Kenneth E. Mapp for issuing the proclamation for the Day of the V.I. Fathers March and Back to School Days of Prayer and urging residents of the Virgin Islands to participate in these events. The Governor’s Special Policy Adviser, Eugene Farrell, gave excellent short remarks on behalf of the Governor to the persons in attendance at the Rally. We would like to thank St. Thomas-St. John Insular Superintendent of Schools Dionne Wells-Hedrington and the V.I. Department of Education for their support. We look forward to working with the Superintendent and the Commissioner of Education Dr. Sharon A. McCollum in the future. Also, we wish to thank Chief of Police Darren Foy and the Virgin Islands Police Department for their continued support for the V.I. Fathers March and for assisting us at the Rally by addressing the fathers and providing support and protection. We also thank St. Thomas Rescue for assisting us again.
We also thank our co-sponsors in the events: the V.I. Department of Human Services (Alston “Magic” Creque, Deshawn Williams and Masikia Lewis), C.A.P.A (Bruce Flamon), the University of the Virgin Islands Antiviolence Peace Initiative (Jamaal Carroll) and Project Safe Neighborhoods (James Latham). Thanks also to Scott Bradley and My Brothers Workshop and Café for helping us in all aspects of the events. Also, thanks go out to Colormax that assisted us with flyers and posters for the event at great discount prices.
We also want to thank all of the members of the Committee who assisted us in so many ways with the planning for the V.I. Fathers March, arranging and publicizing it, getting supplies for the Barbeque and Fun Day, and actually going to the schools on the first day to sign up the fathers. Thank you to Shirley Sadler, Khallid Mills, Maria Creque, Diamond Carter, Debbie Frazer, Andrea Dorsey, Sean Benjamin and Mikail Cepeda for volunteering on the day of the Rally. Thank you to Timothy McKague for assistance with the Website and to Sgt. Bridget Conow and the VIPD Cadets for helping in the publicity of the event, and helping at the Rally. On the day of the Rally, our Master of Ceremonies Walter Brown contributed to making the event a success, as well as the D.J. services of Julian Jackson, Jr. And, of course, Pastor Sam Weekes prayed for the fathers, and we thank him for the prayers and words of wisdom. We cannot forget Josiah James’ pictures on the day of the Rally. Nor can we forget the contribution of Everett, Dee Dee and Karen and the other newspaper salespeople who helped us distribute flyers to the motorists. Finally, importantly, we thank those volunteers who went to the schools on Sept. 8 such as Dolores Todmann, Madeline Lake-Thomas, Archie Jennings, Judy and Olando Donadelle, Shannel Thomas and Annie Thomas.
The Rally and Barbecue Fun Day opened with a bang with a Motorcade of little Bugs, and we thank Germaine Bailey of the Paradise VW Club for making this possible. Also, the Rally benefited from the partnership with Jeanine Blyden and L.A.D.I.E.S. (Little Adults Developing into Exceptional Scholars) who distributed backpacks to the families.
We want to thank the West Indies Corporation, Edy’s Ice Cream, Cost U Less, Bellows International, PriceSmart, Chi-Co Distributing, Sea Chest, Merchant’s Market and E. Hunter Foods, who made contributions of food, water, beverages and other items. We thank everyone who contributed a gift or door prize, including, V.I. Dental Center, Office Max and those who contributed haircuts and hairstyling including Tanza’s Barbershop, Shark’s Barber Shop, Cynthia’s Hair, Hair by Acia, and Braids by Shatel. We thank the exhibitors including V.I. National Guard, St. Thomas St John Chess Club, Rose Maduro, V.I. Fire Services, G Clef Music, Culture Pass it On, Youth Bill, Family Resource Center, Richard “Sky” Gomez’s Zoo Petting and Rotary Club East. Thanks to Neville “Champy” Amy and also to the staff of Emile Griffith Ball Park for their assistance. Also, congratulations to the fathers’ receiving recognition, including Tiba Francis, Leston Stout and Kelvin Browne.
We want to thank the pastors and prayer leaders of the churches in the Virgin Islands who prayed for the returning students, parents, teachers and faculty to keep them safe and successful during the school year. Also, we want to thank the principals and administrators in the schools who assisted with the V.I. Fathers March by helping us on the first day of school.
Finally, and most importantly, we want to thank the fathers and male caregivers for participating in the V.I. Fathers March by taking their children to school beginning on the first day and pledging to be with their children throughout the school year. You have taken the first step to a stronger family and a better Virgin Islands. We all pray for a successful and fun-filled school year for all.
James S. Carroll, of the Jason Carrol Memorial Fund Inc./Mothers Against Guns Inc.