The Brooklyn-based Vincentian umbrella group Council of St. Vincent and the Grenadines USA, Inc. (COSAGO), in conjunction with the Manhattan-based Consulate General of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to the United States, on Sunday honored two outstanding community workers during the 44th Gala Independence Anniversary Ball of St. Vincent and the Grenadines at Russo’s on the Bay in the Howard Beach section of Queens.
Retired Registered Nurse and Colonel in the US Army Reserve Celia Bramble and US Army veteran Lennox Joslyn were honored with COSAGO’s Lifetime Achievement Award and Humanitarian Award, respectively, before over 450 patrons at the very spacious and elegant catering house on Cross Bay Boulevard in Queens.
Bramble and Joslyn, who serve as COSAGO’s financial trustee and member of the Fundraising Committee, respectively, were also presented with proclamations and citation by Mayor Eric Adams and Council Member Mercedes Narcisse.
COSAGO’s General Secretary Ancilla Friday, who serves on the Mayor’s Caribbean-American Advisory Committee, presented the proclamation on behalf of the mayor.
Haitian-born Narcisse, a registered nurse, who represents the 46th Council District in Brooklyn, was on hand to present the proclamation and citation to Bramble and Joslyn, respectively.
COSAGO also presented a Special Award to veteran Caribbean broadcaster Don Bobb, a Vincentian national, who usually serves as Master of Ceremonies at the Gala Ball. In his absence, Laverne McDowald-Thompson, COSAGO’s vice president and immediate past president, accepted the award on his behalf.
“I congratulate our honorees, Col. Celia Bramble and Lennox Joslyn, for their outstanding humanitarian service in the Diaspora,” said COSAGO President Crispin Friday, husband of Ancilla Friday, in his welcome remarks.
Before presenting the proclamation to Bramble, Narcisse said that Bramble, her nursing colleague and longtime friend, has dedicated her life to nursing education and service.
“Her commitment to the Vincentian community and contributions to healthcare have been remarkable, and were fittingly recognized at this prestigious event,” she said.
Narcisse also noted Joslyn’s contributions to humanitarian causes and his “unwavering dedication to uplift and support the Vincentian community.”
“It’s always an honor to recognize individuals who have made such a profound impact on our community,” she said. “Both Celia and Lennox have shown dedication, passion and commitment in their respective fields, and it was a pleasure to honor them tonight.
“Celebrating the 44th Anniversary of the Independence of St. Vincent and the Grenadines alongside such inspiring individuals makes this event all the more special,” Narcisse added.
Bramble told the ceremony that “to say that I am honored and humbled to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award would be an understatement.
“I am extremely grateful to Ms. Erlene King, who felt that I deserved this nomination, as well as to all those who supported her,” she added. “I am thankful that the work that I have been so passionate about resonates with others.”
Joslyn thanked COSAGO for the award, adding: “Each of us can do something that I did.”
In addressing the ceremony, Consul General Rondy “Luta” McIntosh, said the Diaspora is “dear to the heart” of Prime Minister Dr. Ralph E. Gonsalves, adding that it is “so dear that he recently amended the Immigration Act to allow for second generation Diasporans to become citizens of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”
McIntosh said although each Caribbean country is “unique in its own way and has a lot to boast about, let me remind you that we are one, and we must work together as we are stronger as a collective than on our own.”
He also appealed to Vincentian nationals to indulge in “a few things” in his “begging bowl”.
“I beg that you apply for the day off for our 2024 flag-raising ceremony; I beg that, in 2024, you participate in as many independence activities as possible; I beg that every Vincentian get a Vincy passport; I beg that every Vincentian get a Vincy passport for their children and grandchildren born here; I beg that you invest more in sweet SVG; I beg that more organizations be affiliated with COSAGO,” he said.
“Once again, let me wish all Vincentians a happy 44th Anniversary of Independence, and may the Almighty continue to bless our nation and our people,” he added.
Erlene Williams-King, a member of COSAGO’s Fundraising Committee, who served as Mistress of Ceremonies, asked for a moment’s silence for the passing of Vaughan Toney, the Vincentian-born, former president and chief executive officer of the Brooklyn-based Friends of Crown Heights Educational Centers, Inc., who died on Labor Day, Sept. 2; and Colin Liverpool, a Vincentian-born lawyer, who also went to the Great Beyond earlier this year.
The Vincentian-owned D Magma Band and DJ Supa Eyes provided entertainment to the sell-out patrons. Williams-King’s daughter, Abena Amory, rendered the National Anthem of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as provided the opening act for D Magma Band.
About Celia Bramble
Bramble is a retired nursing education specialist with decades of success in developing innovative programs for civilian and military personnel. She began her nursing career in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
She immigrated to the United States in the late 1960s for an opportunity to advance her nursing career. She received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from C. W. Post, Long Island University, and Master of Arts, and Master of Education Degrees in Nursing from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is featured in the International WHO’s WHO of Professional Management, Second Edition.
Bramble was employed by the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, Kings County Hospital
Center for more than four decades; she held numerous positions until her retirement as Associate Executive
Director of Training and Organizational Development.
In that role, she was responsible for overall planning, coordinating, and developing educational programs for more than 5,000 professional and support staff within the Central Brooklyn Family Health Network.
Her responsibility also included overseeing more than 40 training initiatives supported by Community Health Partnership funds.
In addition, she planned and coordinated clinical experiences for students from 14 affiliating Graduate and Undergraduate Schools of Nursing in the New York City area.
She also facilitated Trauma Management Training for military personnel to help them develop life-saving techniques and strategies to provide the best care in the battlefield.
In the mid-1980s, Bramble was commissioned as a captain in the United States Army Reserve. Her military career included assignments in various military facilities during peacetime and wartime.
She held several command and leadership positions, including Assistant Chief Nurse, Chief of Nursing Education and Staff Development, Executive Officer, and Office-in-Charge of Continuing Medical Education.
Her last assignment before retirement was Commander of the 344th Combat Support Hospital, Fort Hamilton, New York.
As commander, she had the ultimate responsibility to ensure that over 200 soldiers of various ranks and Military Occupational Specialties were well trained and ready for deployment to combat and non-combat regions, as well as for Humanitarian missions.
Bramble resides in Brooklyn; she worships at the Vanderveer Park United Methodist Church, and is an
active member of the Healthcare Ministry and the Staff Pastor Parish Relations Committee.
About Lennox Joslyn
Joslyn was born in St Vincent and the Grenadines and received his early education at the Emmanuel High School, Kingstown. He was a member of the Brighton Scout Troop and became an active community helper.
He served as a Customs officer in St. Vincent and the Grenadines before migrating to the United States in 1971.
He enlisted in the US Army and was stationed in Germany, where he had the opportunity to serve alongside soldiers from France, the United Kingdom and Germany.
After his military service, Joslyn returned to the US and accepted a position with the federal government in the Department of Veterans Affairs.
During his early years with Veterans Affairs, he attended City University of New York and graduated with
a bachelor’s degree.
Immediately after graduating, he was accepted into a two-year Veterans Affairs Administrator internship program. After completing this program, he was sent to the VA Medical Center in Salem, Virgina and worked as Assistant Chief of Environmental Management Services.
During his tenure at Salem, he served in several administrative committees, such as Equal Opportunity, Logistics and Safety, and Waste Management.
In 1984, Joslyn returned to New York, where he became the Assistant Chief of Environmental
Management Services at Veterans Affairs, New York Healthcare System.
Joslyn was subsequently appointed to the chief position and inherited a staff of over 300 employees and
the management of an annual budget of $20 million.
In addition, he served on several Veterans Affairs National Task forces, such as Textile Care Production and Distribution, Manpower Allocations, Contract Negotiations and Equipment Evaluation and Purchase.
In 2001, he was selected as president of the New York Chapter for Environmental Management Services. This gave him the opportunity to visit several hospitals in New York and assist with the training and environmental inspections.
As a military veteran, Joslyn has been involved in veteran organizations and has assisted numerous veterans
with employment and guidelines to benefits.
He is very proud of his military service and his 45 years in Federal Government Services, especially his service to fellow veterans.
As a long-standing member of the Striders Social Organization, Joslyn has been involved in numerous
fundraising activities in support of the distribution of medical supplies and scholarships to his homeland, St.
Vincent and the Grenadines. He also served as chairman of the Fundraising Committee for COSAGO.