W-S departments honor retirees

Photos byTimothy Ramsey Retired Firemen Robert L. Grier, left, and Willie J. Carter pose with a current fireman after the celebration. 

W-S departments honor retirees
February 23
00:05 2017

By Timothy Ramsey

The Chronicle

The Winston-Salem Police and Fire departments in conjunction with the Recreation and Parks Department held their fourth annual Black History Month Celebration on Sunday, Feb 19 at Galilee Missionary Baptist Church.

The celebration honored African-Americans who made an impact in the Fire and Police departments before and soon after those departments were integrated.  The winners of the coloring and essay contests were also recognized for their achievements.

From the Winston-Salem Fire Department, retired Fire Captain Willie J. Carter and Retired Fire Engineer Robert L. Grier were honored for their years of service.  Both were even given the rank of honorary Fire Chief.

“When I first heard about it I didn’t think it was going to be anything like this,” Carter said.  “It makes me feel good because when I was working I had no idea of the impact it would have.  Now it’s just a feeling I can’t describe.”

Grier added, “I’d just like to praise God that it happened and I feel good about it.  To see the young black guys coming along and becoming chiefs makes me feel great.  To see how blacks have come along in the department, all I can say is praise the Lord.”

Retired Evidence Specialist Rose Jones was honored from the Winston-Salem Police Department.  She said she really enjoyed her work and loved many of the individuals she worked with.  She was known for her bluntness and always spoke her mind.

The young contest winners were acknowledged after the Police and Fire departments.  The coloring contest winners were; London Toney (K-1st grade), Eliana Brown (2nd -3rd grade), Tia Cunningham (4th-5th grade) Aniyah Akers (6th-8th grade).  The essay winners were; Zayah Kyle and Athaliah Arnolda (Elementary a ), Antwon Rucker and Jasmyne Pitt (Middle school), Zion Jones and Ariyana March (High School).

Yolanda Martin, Jasmyne Pitt’s mother, said she was very proud that her daughter won especially with the number of participants that entered. There were over 200 total entries for the coloring and essay contests.

“I felt happy and surprised because I really didn’t think that I was going to win,” Pitt said.  “I just wrote down what I felt so it was just a surprise that I won.”

Gary Lash, district recreation supervisor, said it was great for the young people in attendance to see the living history of those honored from the Police and Fire Departments.

“It’s a wonderful thing to have those children see a piece of history live and in person,” Lash said.  “They write about history and they color the pictures but when they get to hear history about the great things people have done for the city it really enlightens them and brings them up.”

Pastor Nathan Scovens sent a warm video welcome for those in attendance.  The Rev. Chad Armstrong gave the closing remarks and thought the program went very well.

“Mr. Grier, Mr. Carter and Ms. Jones represent the foundation of Winston-Salem and they represent the foundation of this community,” Armstrong said.  “The young people who were honored today represent the future so it’s an incredible day when you can meld and mix together not only the foundation but also the future and honor them in a way that pushes the entire community forward.”

“At Galilee that’s what we are honored to do and that’s what today was about for us.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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