Sunday, May 17, 2020

Moms's COVID-19 Fight Emphasizes Unity, Support and Brotherhood of Omega Psi Phi on Mother's Day

Bro. Terence Hare with offspring Sarah and Terance II

Two months ago, Gamma Pi Chapter Bro. Terence Hare was not really sure what his Mother’s Day 2020 would look like. Truth be told, he faced the fact that it might be a time of mourning for him and his family. After all, his 81-year-old mother, Maxine Hare, was laid up in a hospital intensive care unit in Charlotte with the coronavirus. Suddenly, the headlines about the most dangerous global pandemic since the Spanish Flu in 1918 hit home for Bro. Hare – these weren’t just nameless, faceless numbers talked about on the news. One of those people stricken by this deadly killer was “MOM.”

Well-wishing neighbors
Today, Bro. Hare is not mourning, but is rejoicing. Since Saturday night May 9, he has celebrated Mother’s Day about a thousand times, thankful that he was able to see his mother go through the worst of the disease and emerge healed just in time for Mother’s Day, when she was able to go home. So, while Mother’s Day was observed on May 10 this year, May 9 will always be a holiday for Bro. Hare and his family to mark that very special homecoming. No more tubes. No more ventilator. No more tests. No more hospital gowns, or beds. No more nurses and doctors trooping in and out all hours of the day and night monitoring her vital signs. No more sitting on ins and needles wondering how it would turn out.

“It was the best Mother’s Day ever,” Bro. Hare said, in hat has to be an understatement, as he looked into the television camera during an interview with Charlotte TV station WSOC Channel 9, which did a feature story on Mother Hare’s triumphant struggle with the disease. She and Bro. Hare's daughter are both members of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. 

During his mother’s two-month long hospital convalescence, Bro. Hare experienced firsthand, in a unique and special way, the tightly linked Bonds of Omega as he received support from his Line Brothers (2015) including one who lived in the Charlotte area (Perryn Stewart) and another who rode down with him on  nearly 500-mile drive from Bowie, MD to Charlotte (Sheku Alieu) to be by his side and help him care for his mother for two straight weeks.

Neighbors and family shown support 
In another ironic twist about this story, while Bro. Hare’s mother was recovering from the virus, Bro Stewart’s wife, Sarah, was also recuperating from coronavirus in self-isolation at home. Still, Bro. Stewart managed to bring dinner by a couple of times while caring for his wife, who has now recovered and is doing fine.

In many respects, Bro. Alieu actually found himself keeping tabs on everyone. In true Omega fashion, he was able to handle it all and be the Brother that both Terence Hare and Perryn Stewart needed at the time. Hey, it’s something about this Brotherhood of Omega…through thick and thin…

“Mother Hare was admitted on a Wednesday, but Terry kept it to himself until the doctor called him on Sunday night to tell him she was critical,” said Bro. Alieu. “Terry and I packed and left Sunday night within a couple of hours of the call. I stayed there about 2 weeks until she was no longer critical.”

Sadly, the coronavirus, also called COVID-19 by its laboratory label, has stricken more than 1.5 million Americans in just two short months. Nearly 90,000 Americans have died from the disease in the same time frame, and more than 307,000 (imagine three full NFL stadiums on  Sunday afternoon) have died across the globe. Thanks to God, a loving son, other family and friends, and the love of Omega Psi Phi shown through Brothers Alieu and Stewart, Maxine Hare is not in that sorrowful number. She is still with us, very much alive.

Line Bros. Hare, Alieu, Stewart and Tyrone Smith
[You can reach out to Bro. Hare via email]

Sunday, May 3, 2020

In True Super Chapter Fashion, Gamma Pi Answers the Call on COVID-19 for Prince George's County

Styling the "PPE," America's new health gear in the midst of COVID-19, Brothers prepare as families roll in 
“We’ve made a commitment to be of service to this community and we will honor that pledge through thick and thin. When duty calls, our boots are on the ground ready to go.”
                                                                                             Bro. Steven Walls, Basileus

Since the State of Maryland went into a shelter-in-place posture in March in response to the dangerous COVID-19 crisis, the Brothers of Gamma Pi Chapter have been anything but sheltered when it comes to Social Action. While being careful to follow government-mandated guidelines on social distancing and wearing proper protective equipment, the chapter has been on the move throughout the county helping to provide relief for the residents of the community through a variety of Social Action projects. Dressed smartly in their Royal Purple and Old Gold “PPE,” members of The Super Chapter braved the threats of the lurking virus “to be of service.”  

Like clockwork, Brothers had the process planned to a "T"
On April 2, several Brothers directed traffic at four county schools – Wise High, Suitland High School and Surrattsville High and Benjamin Stoddert Middle School – while the students and their families picked up free Chromebooks provided by the Prince George’s County Public Schools.

About one dozen Gamma Pi members served simultaneously at the four schools, helping to keep a safe and orderly flow of traffic in and out of the school property. Brothers also helped with the laptop distribution in between regulating the traffic flow.

Bringing Fresh Homemade Sandwiches to the Homeless; Groceries to Hungry Families

On Saturday, April 8, the Brothers of The Super Chapter strode into the PG Homeless Shelter to deliver sandwiches to the residents. The food was prepared in advance at the home of one Brother whose wife and daughters stayed up into the wee hours of the night to prepare the sandwiches, wearing protective gear in their home kitchen. For the residents and staff in the homeless shelter, the Brothers of Gamma Pi were the light shining brightly through the storm. In the middle of this frightening pandemic, somebody thought enough of them to take the risk to prepare and bring them fresh food. 

Brothers discuss distribution strategy
The Brothers also completed two major free food distribution projects for the community in April and one in early May when the virus was raging in the midst of a stay-at-home order. On two consecutive Saturdays, April 18 and 25, Gamma Pi, partnering with its Friendship Charities Foundation, Inc., 501 (c ) 3, led the distribution of more than 1,700 grocery bags full of free food to needy families who represented three area schools in the chapter’s adopted community – Suitland Elementary, Drew Freeman Middle School and Suitland High School.

Omega Style Strategic Planning

At these events, the chapter organized the planning and the process, overseeing every aspect of distribution of the food from unloading the truck to unpacking the boxes to putting the packages into the hands of families as they drove through the Suitland High School parking lot. Once in the parking lot, bags were quickly deposited into their open trunks by the Brothers.

On Saturday, May 2, Gamma Pi kept the pace going in the local community but at a different location. This time, it was Largo High School in Largo, Md. During the morning and midday, Brothers oversaw the delivery of hundreds of boxes of food for residents in need. Again, it was Gamma Pi leading the way in helping to connect much-needed free foods to families in need, many who suddenly experienced "the bottom falling out" when the shutdown occurred for public heath reasons.

Checking out the horizon for more vehicles
The work at Largo actually began the day before when a contingent of Gamma Pi men loaded and unloaded a truck that was used to transport the food from refrigerated storage to Largo High located along Largo Road. 

Offering Manpower to Local Government

Basileus Bro. Steven Walls initiated the food drive projects while in conversations with local officials over a period of weeks. Obviously, this was not on the chapter's agenda for this year as COVID-19 appeared out of nowhere and caught fire fast. “We’ve made a commitment to be of service to this community and we will honor that pledge through thick and thin. When duty calls, our boots are on the ground ready to go.”

Keeping the machine running
All the work the Brothers put in during a difficult and uncertain time has solidified Gamma Pi’s reputation as a reliable, committed and courageous Social Action pacesetter in the Mighty Second District of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. To the public, this is amazing, but to the Brothers of Gamma Pi, this is everyday Omega Psi Phi. We observe...then we serve...

Thanks to the Social Action team headed by Bro. Ikey Staton, Jr. and Co-Chair Bro. Tony Kelly for doing an excellent job organizing the team into action for The Super Chapter. Other Gamma Pi members who have been singled out for their leading roles are Brothers Mabili Akinyele, Tiresias McCall (distribution manager), Donovan Benton, and Ed Ryans, who is an official with the county schools.

Some of the volunteers identified by Vice Basileus Rick Allison have included members of Galilee & St. Paul’s Churches, the Ayana J. McAllister Legacy Foundation, Fort Washington Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, The Chi Beta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, the Prince George’s County Public Schools, Mettle Works and Pits.  Logistical support was provided by the Athletic Republic.

(Thanks to Brothers Raphael Terrell, Tony Kelly & Marcus Whitfield of the Public Relations Committee and Brother Tyrone Smith for photos and video clips)


Also, click here to see how Gamma Pi is helping college-bound students in its Project ENRICH program stay on track with the program despite the pandemic, using the wonders of technology