Adams celebrates 55th anniversary of T&T Nurses Association of America

Scholarship recipient Leezana Lewis, fifth from left, in green dress, with presenters and President RN Thecla Williams, left, Mistress of Ceremonies Jean Leon, third from left, and Consul General Andre Laveau, second from left.
Scholarship recipient Leezana Lewis, fifth from left, in green dress, with presenters and President RN Thecla Williams, left, Mistress of Ceremonies Jean Leon, third from left, and Consul General Andre Laveau, second from left. Photo by Nelson A. King
Photo by Nelson A. King

New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Sunday joined the Brooklyn-based Trinidad and Tobago Nurses Association of America, Inc. in celebrating the group’s 55th Anniversary and 31st Annual Scholarship Grant Award during a gala ceremony at Glen Terrace on Avenue N in Brooklyn.

Before a sell-out crowd, the mayor presented a proclamation to the group for its remarkable achievements and continuing roles in the community.

“We go so far back; it’s an amazing organization, said Adams before personally handing the proclamation to President Thecla Williams, a registered nurse.

“You were on the frontlines,” he added, referring to the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. “America owes you a debt of gratitude.”


Mayor Eric Adams enters hall flanked by Yvette Rennie, right, president of J'Ouvert City International; Angela Cooper, to his immediate right; and other nurses.
Mayor Eric Adams enters hall flanked by Yvette Rennie, right, president of J’Ouvert City International; Angela Cooper, to his immediate right; and other nurses. Photo by Nelson A. King

rinidad and Tobago Nurses Association of America, Inc. also received a proclamation from Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzales.

In addressing the ceremony, Trinidad and Tobago Consul General to New York Andre Laveau said two professions stand out to him.

“One of them is the Army,” he said. “We don’t have a full-scale Army – just a Regiment. And the other is nursing.

“Nurses are always there; you’re such a humanizing force,” he added. “I thank God for you. To me, that’s the highest of humanitarianism.”

During the five-hour-long ceremony, the Trinidad and Tobago Nurses Association of America, Inc. honored Tobago-born Angela Cooper, Assistant Director Communications & Public Affairs / Director of Volunteer Services, NYC Health + Hospitals / McKinney.

President Thecla Williams addresses ceremony.
President Thecla Williams addresses ceremony. Photo by Nelson A. King

The group also recognized retired Tobago-born registered nurses Maudlyn Phillips-George and Joan David Mayers, and presented its Scholarship Award to Leezana Lewis, a Trinidadian native and nursing student at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College, who, in 11 weeks, is expected to graduate as a registered nurse.

“I am honored and truly humbled for this recognition from the Trinidad and Tobago Nurses Association,” said Cooper in her acceptance speech. “Echoing Jean Leon’s [Mistress of Ceremonies] words, ‘nurses are truly in such great demand and this is all due to the pandemic’.

“I’ve come to realize that nursing is a lifestyle not a career,” she added. “I would know because, for 25 years, I am a proud employee who has grown from being a service Aide in the Food Services Dept. to Assistant Director of Public Affairs and Communications at the best 5-Star Nursing Home in Brooklyn – NYC Health + Hospitals/ McKinney. To God Be The Glory!”

In an audio message to patrons, Mayers, who is married to a Vincentian and currently resides in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, said it was a bittersweet moment” for her, “because I am, indeed, sorry that I could not be here in person to celebrate with you today.

“I am overwhelmed with gratitude to have been selected for recognition as an exemplary member where am being recognized for my hard work, dedication, and services to the Trinidad and Tobago Nurse Association of America Incorporated,” she said in her acceptance speech. “Thank you all so much for being here to share in this occasion.  I am so honored to have my work credited in this way by my nursing colleagues.

“Many years of labor were put into my nursing profession, and it means so much to me that the work I am so passionate about also resonates with others,” Mayers added. “This accomplishment is not something that I did alone, and there are many others who deserve to share in this award.

“Firstly, I would like to thank the Trinidad and Tobago Nurses Association of America Inc, for this nomination as well as my family and friends for their love and continued support,” she continued. “And I say congratulations to my fellow honorees. I hope that this recognition of my work may serve as an inspiration to others in the field. Remember, if my commitment can make a difference, so can yours.

“I will continue my efforts to render excellent quality of nursing care and look forward to bringing about positive change in the profession of nursing,” she said. “I am humbled and appreciative.”

In her remarks, Williams said the “tireless” work of her members “has steered this ship for the past 55 years and will, undoubtedly, do so more many years to come.

“We owe our deepest gratitude,” she said. “2023 truly is our year of gratitude. Let us stand united and move forward together.”

Among patrons were the Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, and the Caribbean American Nurses Association of America.

About Angela Cooper

Humanitarian, Community Advocate, Youth Leader & Advisor, Cultural Ambassador, Alumni Member of World Renown Signal Hill Alumni Choir, Gospel Artiste, Motivational Speaker, Writer, Event Administrator, Surrogate Mother, Founder & CEO – The Coral Reef Experience, LLC. Assistant Director, Communications NYC Health + Hospitals/ McKinney & Friend.

Because she was determined to be an influencer for change in the Eldercare health industry and her community, opportunities led her to the best Long-Term Care facility in Brooklyn – NYC Health + Hospitals/ McKinney. Angela began her tenure at McKinney as a Service Aide and, today, she is Director of Public Affairs & Communications, Director of Volunteer Services and Liaison of the Community Advisory and Auxiliary Board and oversees other departments.

A graduate of Brooklyn College, this multi-talented woman continues to amaze everyone she meets, particularly young people.

Her effervescent personality is so often described as magnetic, charming, assertive, outspoken and at times bold. Angela’s career in healthcare began at the NYC Health + Hospitals / McKinney as a Service Aide in the Food and Nutrition Department.

She was the first employee to be promoted in that facility to Coordinating Manager then Director of Volunteer Services and she is now an Assistant Director of Communications / Public Affairs Director and Director of Volunteer Services. She oversees Marketing, Community Affairs, Costumer Service, Mailroom, the Beauty Parlor, all in-house and community-oriented events and is also the Liaison of the Community Advisory and Auxiliary Board.

Despite all these functions, if she is called to any other facility or department to assist, she is always there.

Under her guidance in the Volunteer Department, she is instrumental for the cultivation of healthy values, morals, and attitudes of the young adults. For the past 15 years, she has supervised over 600 young adults in the DYCD Summer Program. Angela’s dedication to McKinney’s residents continues to be her motivational drive and she’s instrumental in implementing lots of events and programs that enhances the lives of those who depend on her. Angela’s kindness and honesty drives her, and she lives and breathes McKinney.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, she has never stopped working and never missed a days’ work, despite her own underlying conditions. She has weathered the storm to ensure that residents and over 450 staff were safe and fed. Her community respects her, her elderly adores and in general Brooklyn loves her.

Despite her hectic and committed work schedule, Angela still extends herself tirelessly to many community-based organizations and is profoundly involved with several of them.

Once called upon, she will take the helm and ensure that your project/program exceeds your greatest expectation, and all this is done pro – bono. The following are a few of the organizations/ events she has implemented, spearheaded, and volunteered. She was the first person to expose the New York City Council to a Caribbean Styled Christmas show at City Hall / Implemented the Annual Trinidad and Tobago Independence Awards Event and spearheaded Brooklyn’s’ First Official Inauguration Ceremony for Congresswoman Yvette Clarke.

She is a Member of Trinidad & Tobago Alliance of NA Inc. / Member of Trinbago Progressive Association/ Tobago Empowerment and Alliance Mission and more.

She’s been recognized/ commended by New York City Council, Ney York State Senators, Brooklyn’ Borough President, The Mayor’s Office, Congresswoman Yvette Clarke and many, many other civic organizations for her infinite philanthropic efforts. She was also awarded the first and only NYC Health + Hospitals/ McKinney Award, the Schneps Caribbean Healthcare Award, the Schneps Caribbean Heritage Award, Schneps Brooklyn’s Power Woman Award and many more.

Angela has extended herself as far back as her homeland, Tobago. During Christmas time, she can be found in Tobago distributing care packages Nursing homes and putting smiles on children’s faces. She is the go- to- person in Brooklyn and is truly a Cultural Ambassador for Trinbagonians or any organization that needs assistance.

Lady Cooper (as she is fondly called) wants to be respected for whom she is – a strong, encouraging, authentic woman.

Her hope is to leave a legacy of lessons to those who have ever had the privilege of entering her space because her purpose on this planet is to be in a position where she can impart her wealth of knowledge to supplement the lives of others. She believes that whatever you learn – you teach. She truly aspires to be that purpose – driven woman with an indelible personality.

About Maudlyn Phillips-George

Phillips-George has been living a life of fulfillment and joy, traveling around her native country, Trinidad & Tobago, and her adopted country, the United States, since her retirement.

Phillips-George was born in Tobago and migrated from her native country at an early age.

She graduated from Tilden High School in Brooklyn and studied nursing at Hunter College Bellevue School of Nursing.

Maudlyn gave up her nursing scholarship to travel back to Tobago to marry her husband, Garry George, a Trinidad and Tobago Regiment soldier.

Maudlyn obtained a Bachelor of Nursing degree at Long Island University Brooklyn, and worked as a staff nurse in the medical/surgical, ICU/CCU units and other areas at Kings County Hospital Center. Maudlyn later became the head nurse on the medical/surgical units at Kings County Hospital.

She later earned a Master’s degree in public administration with a concentration in Health Administration from Long Island University.

Maudlyn, her supervisor, and other staff helped initiate a Case Management Department at Kings County Hospital Center. As a Case Manager, she was an avid learner, enthusiastic and motivated, and quickly mastered the skills and functions of Case Management.

She worked tirelessly in helping to create and develop a successful Case Management Department. Maudlyn became the department Director and soon after was promoted to Senior Associate Director of the Case Management and Utilization Management Department for fifteen years.

Maudlyn also worked as a visiting nurse with VNS Health (formerly known as the Visiting Nurse Service of NY) for 10 years. She culminates her active nursing career after serving Kings County Hospital Center with thirty-four years of unblemished service.

Maudlyn has received numerous awards at Kings County Hospital for appreciation, teamwork, and excellent leadership skills and was Head Nurse Employee of the Month.

She received a certificate of appreciation for her valued service from the Ex-Servicemen Defense Force Association of Trinidad and Tobago.

Maudlyn is a former member of Chi Eta Phi Nursing Sorority and Black Nurses Association, a proud member of the Grace Episcopal Church Wellness Committee, and a proud member of the Trinidad &Tobago Nurses Association of America Inc. who served as the Recording Secretary and presently as the Assistant Secretary.

Maudlyn enjoys traveling, cruising, doing crossword puzzles, home designing, and decorating. But most of all, she enjoys cooking elaborate dishes and entertaining.

She is the wife of Garry George and the proud mother of four children: Tyrone, Dwane, Nichole, and Michael; she is the proud grandmother to 5 girls, Kayla, Gia, Mia, Lia, and Malani, and to one boy, Cameron.

About Joan David Mayers

Mayers hails from Bethel, Tobago and has attained the following: Over 30 years  of progressive, dynamic, passionate leadership, research and clinical experience. She is a graduate of St. Joseph Convent, Arima in Trinidad and Tobago, Long Island University (BSc. in Nursing), Masters Degree in Nursing from SUNY Downstate and is board certified in Nephrology nursing. She is a member of several nursing organizations. Well versed in interdisciplinary communications and creative in problem solving.

Mrs. Mayers was a Renal Nurse Educator who managed the care for ALL categories of patients diagnosed with renal diseases: pre-dialysis, dialysis (all categories) and kidney and liver transplant.

In collaboration with the physicians Joan was involved in the first national clinical trial studies for the use of Epoetin Alfa (Epogen) in hemodialysis patients. Her Nursing research on Dietary experiences of the English-speaking West Indian hemodialysis patient led to dietary reform in nutrition teachings of this population. This prospective, qualitative research study was the first culturally sensitive research published on dietary influences in that International Nursing Journal, the American Nephrology Nursing Association.

Authored more than 12 writings.  Recipient of NACLI’s Excellence in Nursing Practice award, the BLUE-RIBBON award from ANNA and Trinidad and Tobago Alliance Health Care award.

She has alliances with the America Nephrology Nurses Association and co-Founded the local chapter, Trinidad and Tobago Nurses Association of America Inc. since 1990, (current PRO) and the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Retired Nurses Association since its inception in 2012 (2nd term Executive) and current recording secretary.

Joan’s hobbies are sewing, cooking, appreciating soca music and honing new Internet Technology skills.

Ms. Mayers is married to her “amazing” husband, Cleophus, for almost 50 years, and is very grateful to her family and friends who continuously encourage her to Make today worth remembering by embracing the following: “Live my truth, Express my love, Share my enthusiasm, Take actions towards my dreams, Walk my talk, Dance and sing to my music and Embrace my blessings.”

About Leezana Lewis

Lewis was born in Trinidad and grew up surrounded by family members who worked in a variety of healthcare positions, and taught her to be strong, resilient and ambitious.

A commitment to the nursing profession and desire to assist patients to achieve their maximum health potential, originates from volunteer experiences in the hospital. These experiences gave Leezana the opportunity to witness what patient care is all about; how grueling and rewarding the nursing profession really is and how to build trust with patients and their families.

Leezana is led by a determination and passion to succeed and become a Registered Nurse.

The education and discipline at Medgar Evers School of Nursing provides the framework for her to excel as a nurse. Besides student life, Leezana volunteers at the American Cancer Society Relay for Life and The Junior Achievement of New York; a nonprofit organization mentoring underprivileged kids to complete high school and enroll in college.

Leezana believes that a career in nursing is the most rewarding and fulfilling profession.

According to Leezana, “the beauty of nursing is that, regardless of who the patient is, I will be there, with love and joy, to make a difference in their life. I know I have the courage to take on the amazing privilege of saving a life, making life better, or helping someone die with dignity.”