Sunday, July 28, 2013

Blog 147: Joel D. Ford: A Growing Politician, Scholar, Friend and a Child of God

By Vernon M. Herron

     How intriguing it is to note the growth and development of a diamond in the rough, Joel Douglas McClure Ford. Literally, he is the epitome of the subject line, a growing politician, scholar, friend and a Christian.
     State Senator Ford represents District 38 in Mecklenburg County, NC. He was elected to the N.C. Senate in November, 2012, succeeding the well respected, the Honorable Charlie S. Dannelly,  by capturing more than 80 percent of the vote in his race. Upon taking office in January, 2013, Senator Ford was appointed to the Agriculture/Environment/Natural Resources, Appropriations - Base Budget, Appropriations – Transportation, Finance, Insurance and Transportation committees. At a time in which the N.C. General Assembly is enacting a repressive agenda, Senator Ford is championing the cause for the poor and minority.

     Currently, he is the business operations executive for TPM Consulting in Charlotte. He began his professional career with Waste Management of Atlanta, GA, then returned to Charlotte, NC. While substitute teaching in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, he developed a business plan to launch his own waste hauling company.  An entrepreneur at heart, Joel has owned several businesses including the waste hauling company, restaurant, barbershop and salon.
     Joel was the Executive Director of the Charlotte Housing Authority and currently serves as a commissioner. He also serves on the Stratford-Richardson YMCA board of directors, and is on the school leadership team (SLT) at Myers Park Traditional Elementary School. Joel served as chair of the Mecklenburg County Democratic Party from 2008-11.
     He was born in Charlotte, NC, raised in Belmont, NC (Gaston County) and received a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1992 from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University (NCA&T) in Greensboro, NC, where he was a member of Kappa Alpha Psi.
     He graduated from the Institute of Political Leadership (2009) and Leadership North Carolina, Class XI. He is married to the former Deborah Lane and they have one daughter, Trinity.
The Senator Uses Neck Tie to Show Humility
     Not only is Senator Ford an articulate speaker but he is also an immaculate dresser. Not long ago, this writer was in conversation with the Senator. I admired his dress, particularly his neck tie with matching handkerchief. Jokingly I said, “I want an attire, just like that one.” Whereupon the Senator removed his combination and immediately inserted the same on me. I was embarrassed  and unable to stop the transfer process.
     Later, I wore the combination to a musical performance  by an African group on tour at the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC. I enjoyed the performance and expressed my delight to the conductor. Instead of receiving comments regarding the musical, the director said, “I like your tie with matching handkerchief.”  I immediately removed the same and gave them to the director out of gratitude and appreciation for a splendid performance. Now the attire is in Africa,  but this is not the end of the story. I told Senator Ford of this saga. (Let’s continue.)
     After a period of time, the joke scenario regarding the admiration of the tie/handkerchief was repeated. Again, the attire was removed and placed with the writer. Before rejection could be completed, the Senator was gone. Buffeted  and speechless, I was resolved ‘not let anyone be nicer to me, than I will be toward another.’
     I immediately selected the most beautiful tie combination in my wardrobe as a gift to the well beloved and respected Senator. He has not been in attendance at the Tuesday Morning Breakfast Forum for deliverance. Instead, he has been in Raleigh attending the General Assembly, taking care of the people’s business.
     When he does return to the local scene, a well deserved gift awaits him.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Blog 146: Approaching 100th Birthdays: The Stories of Mesdames Bernidene Pinkney and Arlene S. McCorkle

By Vernon M. Herron
Photographs by William Youngblood
Proofread by Barbara Hendricks
Technical assistance by Alex Waters & Joe Burton

     When the class of 1947 finished Second Ward High School of Charlotte, NC 66 years ago, we left many teachers there to continue a ministry of molding young minds and hearts toward doing God’s will.
     We know two of them who still live today. Both are approaching their 100th birthdays, Mesdames Bernidene Pinkney and Arlene S. McCorkle. On August 10, 2013, Mrs. Pinkney will observe her 100th birthday, while plans are being made for Mrs. McCorkle’s 100th birthday on July 27, 2015.
     Mrs. Bernidene Pinkney of Silver Spring, MD was born August 10, 1913. After a good elementary, secondary and post-secondary education, she married a Presbyterian minister. They became parents of one daughter, Mrs. H.B. Samuel. 
     Mrs. Pinkney taught school in Brunswick, GA. and Charlotte, NC. For several years, she taught English and Family Relationship at Charlotte’s Second Ward High School.
     It is fitting to recognize “Miss Pinkney” on her 100th birthday.
     Mrs. Arlene McCorkle was born Arlene Kate Stewart July 27, 1915, daughter of Brown and Roxie Stewart, farmers in rural Charlotte, NC. She had five brothers.
     Arlene Kate went to elementary school at five years of age, graduated from Second Ward High School at 15 years of age after completing the limited eleventh grade. She graduated from North Carolina College for Negroes, now N.C. Central University, where she was an honor student.
     She married Parish P. McCorkle, a school principal and taught at Second Ward High School for 31 years. Her daughter and caregiver, Elizabeth Rose McCorkle Kitterman says that plans are far in the developmental stage for a 100th birthday celebration on July 27, 2015 for Mrs. McCorkle. It will be based on “This is Your Life” story format. 
     Additional pictures from Mrs. McCorkle’s yesteryears are below.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Blog 145: A Fraternal Brother Seeks Another: After the Waco Explosion

By Vernon M. Herron

     After reading the Holy Scriptures at Matthews 18:11-14, the hymn “Ninety and Nine” is most appreciated.

 “Ninety and Nine”

There were ninety and nine that safely lay
In the shelter of the fold.
But one was out on the hills away,
Far off from the gates of gold.
Away on the mountains wild and bare.
Away from the tender Shepherd’s care.
Away from the tender Shepherd’s care.

“Lord, Thou hast here Thy ninety and nine;
Are they not enough for Thee?”
But the Shepherd made answer: “This of Mine
Has wandered away from Me;
And although the road be rough and steep,
I go to the desert to find My sheep,
I go to the desert to find My sheep.”

But none of the ransomed ever knew
How deep were the waters crossed;
Nor how dark was the night the Lord passed through
Ere He found His sheep that was lost.
Out in the desert He heard its cry,
Sick and helpless and ready to die;
Sick and helpless and ready to die.

“Lord, whence are those blood drops all the way
That mark out the mountain’s track?”
“They were shed for one who had gone astray
Ere the Shepherd could bring him back.”
“Lord, whence are Thy hands so rent and torn?”
“They are pierced tonight by many a thorn;
They are pierced tonight by many a thorn.”

And all through the mountains, thunder riven
And up from the rocky steep,
There arose a glad cry to the gate of Heaven,
“Rejoice! I have found My sheep!”
And the angels echoed around the throne,
“Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!
Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!”

     Recently, a deadly explosion ripped through a fertilizer plant in Waco, Texas killing and injuring many.  It also leveled dozens of plants and homes. It damaged buildings, including schools and nursing homes.
     My immediate concern and prayers were for the people of Waco but especially for a fraternal brother (ΑφΑ ) who lives in Waco. Several times, I e-mailed an inquiry to my brother in Waco, to no avail. This started a chain reaction. For help, I called:
The Alpha Phi Alpha National Headquarters
            Churches in Waco
            Waco Social Service
            Waco Police Department
      It was from the latter that I received help. Receiving a phone call at 10:30 p.m., the Waco Police Department reported that:
     A visit had been made to the brother’s home even though no one was there;
     Neighbors reported that the brother was alive, well and doing o.k.
Thank God for the news.

     Even though the “Ninety and Nine” are safely in the fold, the lost one has been found, is alive and well.

I sought my soul – my soul I could not see.

I sought my God – He too eluded me!

I sought my brother – and there I found all three!

Praise God!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Blog 144: Mel Watt: A Distant Cousin

By Vernon M. Herron

     President Barack Obama has nominated our cousin, the Honorable Mel (Martin Luther) Watt to be the next Secretary of the Federal Housing Finance Authority. He now awaits confirmation. Currently, he serves as the Representative of North Carolina’s 12th Congressional District.
     Born in 1945 (67) in Dixie, a rural community of Charlotte, NC, Mel received his education at Yale University and the University of North Carolina Law School. He is married to Eulada; they have two children.
     Mel and the writer of this blog are distant cousins. He is of the seventh generation, a great grandson of ancestor Richard Herron,   (Mel7, Graham6, James5, Mary4, Samuel3, Richard2), while Vernon Herron is of the fifth generation- a great grandson of our ancestor, (Vernon5, Samuel4, Lawrence3, Richard2).
      His mother Evelyn has a two line relation to the family. Her first husband was the late Graham Watt, (Mel’s father). He was a great grandson of ancestor Richard Herron. Her husband number two is Eddie Herron.  He too is a great grandson of ancestor Richard.
     We all originated in the Dixie community. In his own words, Mel describes his humble beginnings. “I  came from out in the country with a Charlotte, NC address, near the airport in an area known as Dixie, tin roof, holes in the floor, no electricity, no inside plumbing, and a little country church  (Mt. Olive) which adjoined our front yard.”
      The Secretary of the Federal Housing Finance Authority is an honorable and well respected position. According to Wikipedia, the Federal Housing Finance Agency is an independent federal agency. It was created as the successor regulatory agency, resulting from the statutory merger of the Federal Housing Finance Board, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight and the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 
     As a governmental-sponsored enterprise mission team, it absorbed the power and regulatory authority to place (GSE’s) into receivership or conservatorship. In its role as regulator, it regulates Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks. It is different from the Federal Housing Authority, which largely provides mortgage insurance.
      Hear ye, hear ye!!!, the conclusion of the whole matter. Congratulations, cousin Mel! We are proud of you. You have our best wishes for confirmation! We pray for your success. Long live Mel Watt, Dixie, the Watt and Herron families.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Blog 143: My error and Apology: The story of Dee Walker and Dee Bloomfield

By Vernon   M.  Herron

     According to a demographic and statistical report, there are approximately five billion people on the face of the earth. Each person has individual characteristics, marks, name, traits, personality, etc. I have approximately 300 names in my e-mail address book; three of them have the same first name—“Dee”. I try to know each entrant personally but I often fail. Here is where I make my apology. The use of this roster is a good tool for communication. It is speedy and is cost-saving.   

     Recently, one day in the a.m., I e-mailed a message to an addressee listed in the file as  “Dee Walker”. I thought that I was speaking to my niece, Dee Bloomfield. (It’s o.k. to call names.) The message said, “I thought that I had your telephone number but I can’t find it. At one time, you told me that your husband was ill and I want to hear about his status.”

     That same day, in the p.m., I received the following reply from Dee Walker. She asked, “What husband? You found me a husband?! Thank the Lord! You must be referring to another Dee. (And I was) But if you find someone looking for a wife, tell him to get in touch with me.” Ha-ha, Ha-ha, Ha-ha.

     The next day, I replied again to Dee Walker. “This is the joke of the century. I goofed. I apologize. I quietly laughed throughout the church service today. Thank you for a good laugh. This is a good blog story.”
     Since we now know the names of these two distinguished  ladies, let me introduce them to you and tell you about their significant work.

     Meet my friend, Dee Walker. (Note: We were unable to obtain a bio sketch of Dee Walker. However, we are grateful to have received her photograph.)
     Now meet my niece, Dee Bloomfield.

     Demeatress White Bloomfield’s past experiences include being a Progressive Intensive Care Nurse, Medical-Surgical Staff Nurse, Staff Nurse, and an Admitting Officer. She is now a nursing Ph.D. student who graduated Summa Cum Laude, BSN, 1999.

     But Dee’s bio-sketch best describes her character/personality. She speaks in her own words. “As long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a nurse. My aunt Jessie Mae Herron, whom I was very much intrigued by, was a nurse and a true inspiration to me;  however, after completing high school, I chose to major in computer operations at CPCC. Consequently, I launched a career in business while working as a computer operator for a long distance telephone company. Later, I eventually fulfilled my dream of becoming a registered nurse after completing Mercy Hospital School of Nursing and obtaining a nursing diploma. While working as a nurse in various healthcare settings, I attended Winston Salem State’s RN to Baccalaureate of Science in Nursing (BSN) Program and UNCC’s Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Program.  Currently, I am employed as school health supervisor for Mecklenburg County Health Department.  I love nursing, and I love learning!”

     Dee continues, “So here I am today, my lifelong love for learning once again has guided me to enroll in an online Nursing Ph.D. program at Hampton University where I will investigate spirituality as a coping resource for African American parents of children with asthma. My love for learning may be more than a notion. My mother Dorothy Gaddy recently received her Early Childhood Education degree at the age of 69 years old. God has led me through my educational quest to encourage practically every young person that I encounter, to pursue their education. My future plan is to become a faculty member at a university.”

     She continues, “Almost two years ago at the ripe age of 49 years old, I married Joseph Bloomfield, a wonderful well-educated man whom I admire.  His love and support has guided me through the Master’s Program and continues to see me through the Ph.D. journey. God is good! Joe is very outgoing, and he never meets a stranger. I feel blessed to have him in my life. We enjoy traveling, attending college and professional sporting events (football and basketball), riding bicycles, movie theaters, entertaining guests in our home and attending Mt. Carmel Baptist Church together.  Emphatically, we love and value our families.  Holidays are special and filled with lots of love when we combine our relatives.” 

     “As we all know, change is imminent, and we must be prepared. Joseph began to experience severe neck and lower back pain and had a succession of surgeries within the first year of our marriage. Surgical complications emerged. Joseph’s love for God and his strong faith is helping him to experience a successful recovery.  According to Joseph, “I am able to enjoy my wife, family, work and my passion for exercising.” Joseph has a sincere testimony of God’s goodness and healing power.  We are blessed to have each other, great families and wonderful friends. We look forward to a long life together.”

     Sending the message to Dee Walker intended for Dee Bloomfield was an error and I apologize.