Published On: Mon, Jun 25th, 2018

Saluting Strong Fathers, Mentors, My Hero

Just this past weekend, we celebrated Father’s Day, the one day of the year when grateful families, communities, and our nation set aside to celebrate dads.

I had the honor of being in the company of nine-other brothers who were recognized with the My Father, My Mentor, My Hero award in the community.

Delray Beach resident Chris Cesar, who started Men Talk – a monthly meeting where men share ideas and come up with solutions help each other professionally – wanted to salute a few good guys who are role models.

As I listened while the emcee introduced each recipient, I was impressed to learn that their contributions extend beyond the threshold of their household. They are fathers and father figures who truly care, who are willing to guide by example, and who will leave indelibly positive influences on their families, the community and in some cases, our nation.

Among the cast were:

  • Retired Delray Beach police Capt. Michael Coleman who has been improving people’s lives for many years. Some of the people he once arrested were in attendance including one woman and a man who thanked him for turning their lives around.

After retiring, Coleman became head of the city’s community improvement department and has been using that platform to create opportunities for local residents.

  • Perentel “Peter” Dieujuste who left his family in Haiti in 1990 for a better life in the United States. He risked everything he had in search for the American Dream and after eight years, he sent for his children then his wife. Today, 16 years later, his family is reunited and his children have all graduated college and are business owners.
  • Keith Forde, a photographer and multimedia manager who coaches and mentors young people in basketball, baseball, football, work and life. He has more than 20 years as an underwriter, service representative and risk manager. He has also published at least two works of poetry.
  • LaShawn “Bo” Harris is owner and operator of Upper Cutz barbershop and salon. He mentors young men and arms them with advice to stay on the right path to success. He donates free haircuts to local children who are in need. He also has a nonprofit organization, which helps parents and youth overcome past generational challenges.
  • Bishop John H Hudson, an educator in the Broward school system for more than 20 years. Four years ago he founded and coordinated Brothers in Christ Church youth basketball league and he has been mentoring young people for three years.
  • Dexter Murray, who at 28 started Air Experts Florida an air duct cleaning business, which has grown into a full-service HVAC company. For the last 11 years he has been operating DMD Marketing, which host parties, club promotions, and special events. He is a role model to many young people in the community.
  • Longtime football and track coach James Andre Thaddeus who has been working with youth and families for more than 20 years. His passion for coaching high school football and tracks goes back some 24 years. Just recently he and his wife, Cassondra, founded Connect to Greatness, Inc., a mentoring program for young black males in middle school.
  • Delray Beach’s own James “James T” Thomas, a longtime fixture on local radio. James T has used his platform to give others an opportunity to realize their dreams. During his close to 50-year career he has helped to develop the careers of several major broadcasters and other radio personnel.
  • Herbert “Side” Wester, who for two decades was known as one of the best auto detailers in area. During his tenure he employed 10 Delray Beach young men and has mentored and motivated numerous others. Many still come to Side for fashion tips and advice.

 

Quietly and without fanfare, the entire cast of men are providing a strong and sturdy foundation for the next generation.

 

I salute you all.

 

Ron Allen can be reached at crallen@Delraybeachtribune.com or 5651-665-0151.

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