Saturday, June 12, 2010

Annual Seniors Banquet Draws Huge Crowd; Brings Smiles to Prince George's Beloved Elders

A full house marks today's event
Every year, Gamma Pi's Senior Citizens Banquet is one of the most anticipated events in Prince George's County. Men and women who paved the way for today's generations look forward to a relaxing Saturday afternoon featuring a hot meal served at the table, exciting door prizes, live musical entertainment and a word from The Word.  In all, the event is one of the many ways that Gamma Pi chapter pays homage to Prince George's County seniors who are often among the most forgotten segment of our population. Today's gathering at the familiar site of Gethsemane United Methodist Church in Capital Heights did not disappoint as nearly 100 seniors joined the Super Chapter for the 2010 version of the Seniors Banquet. Among those in attendance was State House Delegate Jolene Ivey (District 47).

Parents of Bro. Melvern McCottry
For many seniors attending today's program, the highlight was the fellowship itself. So often,in today's fast-paced world, seniors get overlooked and often feel left behind.Today, however, those that attended Gamma Pi's program got all the attention and full attention in a way that reflects their contributions to all of us over the years.

Bro. Rev.Barnes speaks
In addition to the fellowship, there was a stirring sermon brought by Brother Rev.Rodney Barnes, newly installed as the Assistant Pastor of Gethsemane AME Church in Landover, where his wife  was also installed as the Senior Pastor.  Bro. Rev. Barnes talked to the "seasoned saints" about "Living a Life Guided by the Hand of God," leaving the seniors in the room wiping their brow and longing for more at the end. Also, Bro.Marcus Davis and sister Stephanie brought forth several musical selections and teamed with a guest, Brian Hill, on a soulful spiritual saxophone solo. Brother William Reese served as Master of Ceremonies.  Brother Ikey Staton has become familiar to the seniors as "prize man" for leading the prize giveaways and in the tradition of powerful pulpit ministers within Gamma Pi, Chaplain Brother Dr. Gerald Folsom gave the opening prayer and also stirred souls by nearly breaking into a sermon of his own.

In a first, the chapter sponsored a very informative presentation on Stalking and Domestic Violence as it relates to seniors,who are often tripped up by shifty schemes devised in the Digital Information Age. The presentation was given by Barbara Givens, a domestic violence support coordinator in the county and head of Seniors Against Stalking and Domestic Violence.

Seniors enjoy the program
Hours before the affair,a sizable group of Brothers spent the day preparing the food.  On a day when temperatures soared into the 80s, these men of Gamma Pi kept focused behind the scenes in the hot kitchen over stoves and ovens making sure that there was enough for everyone and that the food was tasty. The men served the seniors individually at their tables, delivering stacked trays from the kitchen to the dining room Once again,the men of Gamma Pi showed why they are "The Super Chapter."to Prince George's County seniors.

Finally, portions of the program were streamed live on the Internet via the chapter's new Ustream channel and remain available for re-viewing.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Gamma Pi Men Making Their Collective Mark on Local Communities in Diverse Ways; Area Press Taking Notice

The media and the public may not be able to put the puzzle together, but members of Gamma Pi chapter can do it easily. That puzzle, when assembled, makes it clear that Gamma Pi men and Omega men are the backbone of the local community.
Two members of Gamma Pi chapter, Brother State Sen. Ulysses Currie and Brother Rev. Rodney Barnes, have probably never sat next to one another at a chapter Fraternity meeting. But after recent local feature news reports that focused on their contributions to the community, they they might want to swap their good ideas with one another.
Brother State Sen. Currie, a longtime advocate for Prince George's County at the State House in Annapolis, was cited in the local press for his work securing nearly $400,000 in funds to restore the tracks at Largo High School and at Forestville Academy. Gamma Pi's Brother Rev. Barnes, a 26-year- member of the Montgomery County Police Department, was the subject of a local news feature just last week for his work as an on-site school resources police officer. He and his wife the Rev. Kimberly Brown were also highlighted in the media just weeks ago for their first-ever assignment to serve as Pastor and Assistant Pastor for Gethsemane AME Zion in Landover.

Yet another Gamma Pi Brother, also with a stellar law enforcement career, Brother Demitri Kornegay of the Montgomery County Police Department, has been mentioned in numerous news stories over the years for his contributions as a high-ranking police official, his work as an author and as a sought-after motivational speaker. This Sunday, June 13, Brother Kornegay is preparing to host the 21st "Rites of Passage" Ceremony for at-risk area young men at Galilee Baptist Church in Suitland where he founded the program and serves as a Deacon. Brother Kornegay's "Men Under Construction" initiative gives young men age 14 and older life skills and "home training" that keeps them out of jail and on track to productive lives. Visit Brother Kornegay's website for more information about "Men Under Construction" and about the upcoming Sunday program.
Finally, a one-time Gamma Pi member and longtime member of Omega Psi Phi, Brother Ernest Caldwell, was also featured in the local Gazette just recently. In addition, he was honored on June 5 with a fabulous retirement party in Oxon Hill after more than 40 years as a leader in education in Prince George's County. Brother Caldwell has served as the principal for Crossland High Night School for nearly two decades and is credited with saving many a "lost" student and with devising many innovations in the county's evening school program. He is also an accomplished musician (piano) who along with his wife Frances operates the Caldwell School of Music in the metro area. In addition, he is a longtime church music director.

In an interesting twist of Omega fate, Brother Caldwell was one of the first band and music students of the late father of Brother James Alexander of Gamma Pi when Brother Alexander was just pre-school age while growing up in North Carolina. Later on in their adult lives, through Brother Alexander's father and Brother Caldwell keeping in touch, Brothers Caldwell and Alexander realized they not only lived in the same area but were Fraternity Brothers. They and their families have stayed in touch regularly ever since.