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Brooklyn group honors 7 during Valentine’s event

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The East Flatbush, Brooklyn group Action, Performance, Commitment (APC) Community Services, Inc. on Sunday honored seven members of the community during its annual Black History Month-Valentine’s Day Celebration.

The gala event, despite the extremely frigid weather, took place at Grace Christian Center Ball Room on DeWitt Avenue in East New York.

Grenada’s Ambassador of Humanitarian and Diaspora Affairs Derrick James was among the honorees, which included four registered nurses.

Besides James, who was the keynote speaker, the other honorees, all Guyanese-born, were: RNs Dawn Caesar, Conrad Forsythe, Sherry Cockfield Lawrence and Caroline Howell; Dr. Giddel Thom; and Dr. Franklyn Rodney, a Seventh-day Adventist Church pastor, who worships at St. Alban’s Mission of Seventh-Day Adventists.

James was Counsel General of Grenada in New York from October 2008 to December 2012, and was appointed ambassador of Humanitarian and Diaspora Affairs by the new Keith Mitchell administration last year.

For 19 years, James was employed by IKON Office Solutions in New York, where he was the recipient of numerous citations and awards for excellence – leading up to a managerial position before he exited the company to assume his role as counsel general.

Prior to holding the position as counsel general, James had established himself, over the years, as a community-minded individual.

Dr. Giddel Thom, who received his medical training at University of Montemorelos in Mexico, did his internship at St. George’s Hospital in Grenada.

He then did his residency in pediatrics and a fellowship in Pediatric Hematology at Lincoln Hospital in the South Bronx and New Orleans Children’s Hospital, respectively. He worked at Davis Memorial Hospital in Georgetown, Guyana for several years.

Dr. Thom, a researcher who has published many papers in the area of cancer in children, has conducted many workshops and training programs.

He has also participated in many medical missions, the most recent being the APC Medical Mission to his homeland and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Thom currently serves as a pediatrician at New Mexico Medical Clinic.

Caesar is a registered nurse/ nurse supervisor at the city’s Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) / Renaissance Health Care Network in ambulatory care.

Caesar attended the Georgetown Adventist Academy and went on to become a licensed practical nurse at the Georgetown Hospital School of Nursing in November 1977. In 1986, she graduated with her midwifery certificate.

After passing the State Board and was licensed as a Registered Nurse in 2005, Caesar joined the Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, where she worked as a staff nurse, assistant Head Nurse and Interim Manager on a telemetry unit.

She also earned a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing in December 2012 from St. Joseph College.

Forsythe attended the Academy of Aeronautics in Queens; but, in order to supplement his income, he worked as a Home Attendant, thus beginning his love affair with nursing.

He was first a Certified Nurses’ Aide then pursued an Emergency Medical Technician’s Certificate. Later, he studied at Long Island College School of Nursing, completing the RN program in 2000.

Since receiving his license, he has functioned in several areas of nursing – from the Emergency Room to the lab to nursing homes and Volunteer Ambulance Services.

Cockfield Lawrence received her B.S. in Nursing with honors from St. Joseph’s college and, shortly after, graduated from SUNY Downstate University Hospital as a clinical nurse specialist with a M.S. in Nursing.

Cockfield Lawrence is currently employed as a nurse case manager at Interfaith Medical center.

She travels with two medical teams, Dorcas Medical Mission & APC Medical Team.

Her volunteer services have taken her to Guyana, the Caribbean and Africa. In February 2014, she travelled with a missionary team to Kenya.

With a passion for preventive health, Howell pursued nursing at New Amsterdam Hospital School of Nursing in Guyana, where she received the Registered Nurse and Midwifery certificates.

On migrating to the United States, Howell pursued studies in anesthesiology, and became a certified nurse anesthetist, a field she remained in for 40 years.

She holds a B.S. degree in Health Education and a M.A. degree in Higher Adult Education.

Howell’s studies paved the way for her current role as a natural health nutrition and fitness educator and family life facilitator. She has participated in a number of medical mission trips with APC Medical Team.

At age 19, Dr. Rodney joined the Guyana Corrections / Prisons Service, where he served as an assistant prison officer. Three years later, he was promoted to the positions of Prison Officer and Spiritual Advisor.

In 1988, he graduated from Oakwood University with a double major in Theology and Communications and, a year later, joined the Psychiatry Department of Interfaith Medical Center in Brooklyn as a substance abuse counselor. He worked at Interfaith for 18 years.

Simultaneously, Rodney was assigned assistant to the pastor/ elder in charge of the Shiloh Mission of SDA, now Stuyvesant SDA Church in Brooklyn.

During the 2001 World trade Center Disaster, Rodney served as a first responder Red Cross chaplain and a mental health specialist at Ground Zero. He is also a New York City licensed marriage officer and notary public.

Rodney is employed with the New York City Department of Education as a guidance counselor..

Last November, Rodney was conferred the Doctor of Divinity degree from CICA International University and Seminary.

“APC Community Services, Inc. is grateful for the opportunity to serve the residents of Brooklyn,” said Janice Emanuel Bunn, the group’s Guyanese-born president and founder. “I wish to thank all our supporters for helping us to fulfill our goals the past 19 years.”

She said the group has “successfully” sponsored the Caribbean Health Summit, Caribbean Heritage Celebration and the Caribbean Wellness Day for the last five years, adding that these events have impacted our community in a “positive way.”

Additionally, Dr. Emanuel-Bunn said APC Community Services, Inc. has conducted seven medical mission trips, with “thousands benefited from our services.”

“To everyone present this evening at this gala, we welcome and thank you for sharing this special occasion with us,” she said. “APC Community Services is committed to providing quality services to our community. We serve with compassion and a deep appreciation for the people in our neighborho­ods.”

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