For almost two decades, Rudolph “Rudy” Boucher was renowned as an attacking and stout midfielder on the football (soccer) field and an obdurate St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ national coach.
But, on Saturday night, he was highly emotional, breaking down in tears on receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from the ever-rising, Internet-based group, VincyCares.
“I must say thanks to VincyCares for this award,” said Boucher in his brief acceptance speech, at the group’s 5th Annual Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony, at the Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center in Brooklyn.
“It’s something I’ll always cherish,” added the Hospital Road, Kingstown (the capital) native, pausing immediately as tears flowed down his cheeks.
“When I saw all my friends here, it makes me feel great,” continued Boucher in a slightly hoarse voice, with his daughter, Tamarisk, emerging from the family table, at the front of the banquet hall, to console him.
“I have my kids here – from Miami, Austin (Texas), Buffalo (upstate New York)”, he said. “It’s really humbling.”
Boucher’s wife, Jacqueline, née James, was also among other family members, including children, on hand in offering support.
VincyCares also honored Dr. Garrey Michael “Grubby” Dennie, a a Professor of History at St. Mary’s College, MD; and Brooklyn community advocate Garnes Byron.
In addition, the group presented Vision Awards to entrepreneurs Alicia Dewar, owner of the Brooklyn-based Alicia Dewar Designs, a jewelry and accessories concern; and Malcolm X “Garjo” Joyette, proprietor of Garjo’s Autobody and Garjo’s Car Wash and Detailing in New York.
In his acceptance remarks, Dennie said Boucher and former national netball star and captain, Stella Boyea-Ashy, who was among patrons, exemplified “a great Vincentian.”
Byron said, as much as he appreciated the award, his “greatest ambition is simply to be given the opportunity to help in the development of our country.”
Dewar described the award as “a huge honor”, adding that she was “overwhelmed” by community support on the social media.
Joyette was also high in praise for VincyCares and “all my customers,” disclosing that he has “a new business coming – the printing business.”
The son of the late Beryl Boucher, Rudolph Boucher was a member of the iconic Notre Dame Football Club in St. Vincent and the Grenadines that was founded in 1959 by Sam DeBique and “a group of young sporting enthusiasts.”
Boucher said the club “matured into one of the finest club teams ever to grace the playing fields in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”
He said he joined Notre Dame in 1963 as a “precocious teenager” and “literally grew up on the grounds of Victoria Park in Kingstown,” where his uncle, Paul Boucher, was the head groundsman.
Boucher played soccer continuously from 1963-77, captained the national team from 1972-76 and then coached it from 1977-80, when he migrated to New York.
During his playing stint, Boucher said the national soccer team won the Windward Islands championship on numerous occasions, including consecutively in 1965 and 1966.
In its souvenir journal, VincyCares said Boucher is “noted as one of the living legends of Vincentian football.
“He was simply the finest attacking midfield player ever produced in his native St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” it said.
In its five-year existence, VincyCares said it has continually raised funds to furnish school supplies to the “children of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”
President Franklyn “Supadex” Richards told the sell-out ceremony that, with the help of Vince Mathews, Anita Botti, Sara Toyloy, Vanessa and Preston Johnson, and Christlyn Matthews, the group has “successfully handed over seven full-time scholarships to deserving students of our beloved country.
“Initially formed to provide school supplies to students in need, we’re constantly fulfilling that and pursuing others – all with your help and contributions,” he said.