I was born on July 6, 1959. The first of four generations, I was my Mama’s, Grandmother’s, Great Grandmother’s, and Great Great Grandmother’s first child of those respective generations. I was also born into a family of ministers. My Great Grandfather was the pastor of the family church in Jersey City and the bishop over a region in New Jersey.
I am the oldest of my mother’s six children. While growing up I was relied upon to be attentive to my younger siblings and to tend to many of their needs. I learned at an early age to be a hardworking and giving person. All of the women in my family that I could identify with had a strong work ethic at home, out in the community, and on their jobs. These women were also strong role models for me in their Church involvement. Some were deaconesses, ministers, choir members and directors as well as an Evangelist.
When I was a young boy, I remember my mom worked in a pencil factory. At times she would bring home some that did not pass inspection to be boxed and sold but were still usable. I would go up to the roof of the projects we lived in and throw some of the pencils off to the children down below so they could use them. This is an early memory of my feelings of compassion towards other people in need. I had a similar experience when my mother worked in a factory that baked cookies. She would bring home boxes of cookies with imperfections that could not be sold but were still edible. I would distribute these to the kids in the neighborhood the same way I had done with the pencils. I was always feeding somebody or helping someone. This just led to me being a helper which naturally put me on the path to work in Health Care as my profession. I worked in Home Health Care for thirty-five years.
I am currently an ordained Deacon in the Unity Fellowship Church of Christ Movement. I am also involved in volunteer work in my neighborhood as a Community Board member for District 10 in the Bronx. I sit on their Health and Human Resources Committee as well as Co-chairing the Parks and Recreation Committee. I am also an alternate member of the NYC-DOH HIV Planning Group. We discuss strategies for better treatment and prevention of HIV in the End the HIV Epidemic movement. In addition, I serve as Co-Coordinator of a Poll site on Election days.
I see myself as having the heart of a Deacon. I have spent time with sick people, some of whom were in the final days of their lives. I have visited shut-ins and have done their food shopping. I accompany people to doctor’s appointments and made trips to hospital ER’s or to just sit at someone’s bedside. I have attended memorial services and funerals for Thos who have transitioned. I have also provided emotional and spiritual support to the survivors of those who passed on.
I am humbled to have been able to be of service to others in the ways I have described. It is an honor and a privilege when someone in need allows me to be part of their healing process. I am blessed and I am also healed by my service.