For the third time in less than a month, prominent community organizer, Verna Arthur, has been honored by a Vincentian group in the United States, prompting remarks that this is her “special year.”
Arthur, a past president of the pre-eminent, Brooklyn-based educational and cultural group, Club St. Vincent, was honored on Dec. 3 by the relatively, newly-formed, but fast developing, Internet-based group, VincyCares, Inc., at its Second Anniversary Gala at the Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center in Brooklyn.
On Nov. 5, the Philadelphia-based St. Vincent and the Grenadines Organization of Pennsylvania (SVGOP) bestowed its “Vincentian Person of the Year” honor on Arthur, at its annual Independence Anniversary Gala at Penn’s Landing Caterers, on Columbus Boulevard in Philadelphia.
Then, on Nov. 26, Arthur was among three past presidents of Club St. Vincent, Inc. to be honored by the group at its Past Presidents and Community Stalwarts Recognition Dinner Gala at Crystal Manor on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn.
“It is truly humbling for me to stand here this evening as recipient of this award of honor from VincyCares,” Arthur told over 300 patrons at Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center after the conferral.
“VincyCares is the third organization to find me deserving of an honor in the months of November and December 2011,” added Arthur, who is currently chairperson of Club St. Vincent’s Cultural Exposition Committee.
“It is really a testament to the respect accorded to me, by my fellow Vincentians, for my contribution to our community,” she continued.
VincyCares, whose primary goal is to assist needy primary school children in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, also honored the Brooklyn-based Hairoun Sports Club and recognized a host of outstanding individuals at the event.
Arthur is Manhattan community outreach director and senior advisory council liaison with the New York City Department for the Aging (DFTA).
Founded in 1977 and incorporated in 1992, Hairoun Sports Club was originally formed for the sole purpose of playing the “beautiful” game, soccer, according the team’s former captain and current coach and president, Stanley “Luxie” Morris, an erstwhile Vincentian national soccer captain.
“What put Hairoun above the rest was the players’ passion for the game, the ‘brotherly’ love for one another and, moreover, the discipline,” Morris added.
He said Hairoun participated in the Five Boro Soccer League in Brooklyn and “won everything that there was to be won until the League ‘folded’ in 1983.”
Morris also said it was Hairoun Sports Club’s leadership which had the vision and was proactive in forming the Central Brooklyn Soccer League (CBSL), “with the premise that if Hairoun was strong, then CBSL will also be strong.
“And so it was. And worthy of note is the fact that CBSL, from its inception in 1984 to 2010, had been the most competitive league in NYC (New York City),” he said, adding that the prestigious Caribbean Cup was “birthed” out of the CBSL. Morris is also the head coach of Team St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Brooklyn-based Caribbean Cup.
He said 1982 was probably Hairoun’s best year, winning the Five Boro Soccer League on “all fronts” – Knock-Out Champs, League Champs and Champion of Champions.
From 1988 – ‘91, he said Hairoun participated in the Haitian League in Brooklyn, winning the tournament each year.
While Hairoun was renowned for its soccer dexterity, its netball team “made a name for itself” in the Caribbean American Netball Association’s (CANA) championship, played on courts at Medgar Evers College, Wingate and most recently at Lincoln Terrace Park in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Morris said.
“What Hairoun has done over the years, there will be no other Vincentian team like Hairoun,” said Earl Horne, the club’s founder, in accepting the award.
VincyCares also recognized, among others, its president and co-founder Kenley “Shortmus” John; co-founder Dahlia-Ann Howard-Lewis; directors Taswya Cambridge, Sr. (posthumously) and Maria DaSilva Eligon; Raymond Ballantyne, co-owner KBB Shipping, Inc.; promoter and radio personality Ulric “Soca” Jones, Jr.; and disc jockey and radio personality Joseph “Supa Eyes” Cuffy.