Dennis Johnson makes history in New York
…Receives Pioneer Award from TJB, and recognition from 3 branches of US Gov’t
TEAM Jamaica Bickle (TJB) last Thursday honoured track legend Dr Dennis Johnson at its annual reception and awards, held at St Francis College in downtown Brooklyn, New York.
In attendance were several dignitaries and VIPs, as well as a wide cross section of people from the Diaspora, who came out to show their support for this very distinguished Jamaican.
In addition to receiving the Pioneer Award from Team Jamaica Bickle, Dr Johnson made history — having been recognised by three branches of the US Government as a true icon of the Caribbean. He was presented with a United States House of Representatives Proclamation from the office of US Congresswoman Yvette D Clarke; A New York State Assembly Citation from the office of Assemblyman N Nick Perry, and a New York City Council Citation from the office of Council Member Jumaane D Williams.
Dr Johnson, 'DJ', as he is affectionately called, walked into a room filled with adoring fans and many who just wanted to get to know this remarkable man.
Many were learning about this icon of Jamaica's rich track history for the first time and were in awe of his résumé; impressed by his tremendous achievements on the track and the length and breadth of his innumerable contributions over the decades.
Johnson was a standout as a young athlete, drawing wide acclaim as a student at the San Jose State University. He went on to have a stellar career in sport development and is often referred to as the grandfather and architect of Jamaica's track prowess.
In presenting the TJB Pioneer award to Dr Johnson, CEO & Founder Irwine Clare spoke of the greatness of Dennis Johnson, his love for country and his commitment to the youth and to opening doors for those who came after him.
Among the several dignitaries and community leaders were Jamaica's consul general to New York, Herman G LaMont, who was also honorary patron; Selmon Walters, Consul General of St Vincent & The Grenadines to New York; Omyma David, deputy consul general of Grenada to New York; N Nick Perry, New York State Assemblyman; Nkoloi Nkoloi, deputy permanent representative of Botwsana to the United Nations; Karlene Largie, UJAA; Olympian Devon Harris; former captain of Jamaica's 1988 bobsled team, Lawrence Garriques; and noted obstetrician and gynaecologist, and Calabar alumnus, Don Phillibert.
Professor Colin Gyles delivered a special message on behalf of the president of UTech, Professor Errol Morrison, and Dr Clare Sutherland, also of UTech, paid special tribute to Dr Johnson, after which Consul General Herman LaMont declared the foundation officially launched.
Representing the sponsors were Garfield Comrie, caribbean marketing consultant, Western Union and also representing GraceKennedy; Trevor Smith, marketing manager of Tower Isles Patties, whose company made a special donation to the Dennis Johnson Foundation; Sabrina HoSang, COO, Caribbean Food Delights; Kenton Senior of the Jamaica Tourist Board; Robert Clarke and Louis Grant, Irie Jam Media; Karlene Largie, UJAA; Robert 'Bob' DeSouza, Transcontinental Shippers, who also did double-duty as MC for the evening. He was ably assisted by Sharon Gordon of Coalition to Preserve Reggae Music.