Brooklyn’s Independent United Order of Mechanics (IUOM), Friendly Society, Western Hemisphere, Inc. on Sunday awarded US$1,000.00 scholarships to two Caribbean American students, whose relatives are long-standing members of the lodge.
The scholarships were presented by IUOM’s Resource and Finance Committee, at its 12th Annual Gala Luncheon, at Paradise Caterers on Avenue U in Brooklyn.
The recipients were Nia Thomas, grand-daughter of Joan Farrell, the Vincentian-born member of Triumphant Star Chapter No. 4, and Daniel Dorset Andrew Roden, Jr., son of Daniel Andrew Roden, Sr., the Grenadian-born Deputy District Grand Master for Brooklyn District Grand Lodge, No. 1.
“The highlight this year has shifted with a focus on our youth,” said Walter L. Benjamin, IUOM’s Guyanese-born Most Worshipful Grand Master, in his remarks, stating that he was pleased that the Brooklyn District Grand Jurisdiction presented the annual scholarships.
“Let me, on behalf of the executive committee of the Grand Council, thank the Hon. David Williams, (Grenadian-born) Rt. Worshipful District Grand Master and his team for a wonderful and extraordinary example of how district grand jurisdictions can collaborate their efforts to enhance some of the services we provide to the community,” he added.
“Let me also take this opportunity to congratulate the award recipients and family members who have given the commitment and support necessary for such an achievement,” Benjamin continued.
Nia, 17 – who will be graduating this month from Edward R. Marrow High School in Brooklyn and will be attending Lincoln University in Oxford, Pa in the fall – said she was happy to receive the scholarship to begin their tertiary education.
“I am grateful for this scholarship, because it will help with my tuition in college,” she told patrons at the ceremony. “I promise I will complete my studies and graduate with an amazing degree.
“So, again, I am happy and thankful for this scholarship,” added Nia, who plans to major in business. “It will help me with my future.”
“Last but not least, this scholarship will help my parents financially, with my tuition. I appreciate all who helped with this.”
Mia’s mom, Keisha Thomas, agreed, telling Caribbean Life that the scholarship will “help us out with the tuition.”
“I am also appreciative that, out of many, they chose her (Mia) to receive this amazing grift,” she said. “It’s very heart-moving.”
Joan Farrell, who has been a member of the lodge since 1974, said she was also “very grateful” that her grand-daughter “received this gift.”
Daniel — a student at Mohawk Valley Community College in Utica, New York, who is pursuing a degree in Athletic Training — said he, too, was “very grateful and blessed about receiving the scholarship.
“As a college student, there are a lot of things needed in order to succeed,” said the graduate of Eagle Academy for Young Men of South East Queens. “This scholarship will help with most of the payment problems I was having.
“I would also like to thank the Lord for waking me up every day to see his most beautiful world,” Daniel, who played on the varsity football team at Eagle Academy, told the gala ceremony to applause. “Also, I would like to thank my backbones — my mother (Grenadian) Francine Ross-Roden and my father Daniel Roden, Sr. — for being there and helping me to become a better person/man for 19 years of my life and for many years to come.”
Lucia V. Cook, niece of Casper Edwards, executive grand councilor and commissioner of the lodge’s Resource and Finance Committee, trekked from the South to deliver the feature address.
Cook is the Corporate Diversity and Inclusion Leader for Shaw Industries Group, a Dalton, Georgia-headquartered full-service flooring company, with nearly US$6 billion in annual sales and about 22,000 employees. Shaw Industries Group is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., the holding company of renowned investor Warren E. Buffett.
The event also featured, among other things, a musical selection by Sarae Green, 11, of Springfield Gardens, Queens, who sang Forever Jones’s “Every Moment” and praise dances by Destiny Fraser.
“We are honored to have our young entertainers who have volunteered their time to bless us with their talents,” said Benjamin, adding that the ceremony provided a “platform in building their confidence in whatever vocation they may choose.”