June 23rd, 2007 04:41 EST
New Jersey Dads Recognized
John Paul Dickerson works a double shift. Yet, he sets aside ample time to spend with his son, John Paul Elijah Dickerson, Jr. Dickerson was one of the thirteen fathers recently recognized as "Platinum Dads" during a press conference announcing the second annual Platinum Dads awards at the City Hall in Trenton. "I`m happy that everybody was recognized because being a father is a hard job," he said.
Zuline Gray Wilkinson, Executive Director of the Union Industrial Home for Children, said that the Platinum Dad awards dispel myths about people in urban areas and is a departure from the stereotypes that most people. "From a dream we were able to acknowledge positive role models and exceptional fathers," she said.
Sergeant Limmie Caver of the Trenton Police Department expressed that people are now living in challenging times when young ladies are expected to have children before they are married, and divorce and arrest rates are on the rise. "But I still believe that there are more young men doing what they`re supposed to do than those who are not," Caver said.
Caver said that the term father carries weight, responsibility and expectations. "You know it`s sad that we refer to our children`s` father as `my baby`s dad`," he said.
Caver addressed young men of all races and colors and congratulated them on being called a father. "Hold on," he told them, "because the ride is going to get rough. Look at those men who are gone before you as an example."
There was clearly a high level of excitement as Mayor Palmer approached the podium and told the audience that we have wonderful men in this community, adding not to let the media tell you that we don`t.
One of the highlights of the press conference was when the organizers declared that the new Legacy of Fatherhood award has been created and will be given to the senior citizen whose contributions as a father have impacted the entire city.
Wilkinson announced that the first recipient of this award would go to George H. Palmer, father of Trenton`s current and first African American mayor, Douglas H. Palmer.
She described George Palmer as a "trail blazer" and said that he was the first African American accountant in the City of Trenton. He has two children and is a grandfather of three. He is a member of St. Francis Medical Center, Trenton YMCA, Trenton Rotary Club, and Frontiers International.
Mr. Palmer was happily married to his late wife Dorothy for 54 years until her passing in 2005.
"Together they furnished a safe and nurturing home that was often filled with hearty laughter, good times, and memorable moments," Wilkinson said.
The other 2007 honorees include: Edwin Asencio, Dennis Frazier, Kendall Funchess, Horace Grant, Sr., Dwayne King, Martin Moore, Ulman Morales, William Petroski, Abuna Price, Calvin Richardson, Jorge Santiago and Willie Thompson.
Ken Outlaw, a former recipient, enjoyed the event. "It`s very important for us to recognize the fathers of the city," he said.
The Union Industrial Home for Children partnered up with Children`s Futures, the Trenton Housing Authority and Citibank of North America to announce these awards.
The awards were presented in a more formal ceremony at the Platinum Dads Breakfast celebration at the Trenton Marriott on June 16 at 10:00 a.m. Trenton resident Edward W. Bullock, vice president for diversity of L`Oreal USA, served as the keynote speaker.
Note: This author of this article was originally contributed by a writer who is no longer affiliated with theSOP.