Cupid Comes Calling at VA

Photo of Business Office Staff making Valentine's Day cards.
Business Office staff throw creative efforts into making Valentine's Day cards.

On February 13 and 14, Cupid made a stop at two VA campuses of New York Harbor Healthcare System, in the form of staff from the Business Office.

A special event, “Secret Cupid” had employees making Valentine’s Day cards for each other and to be shared with patients. At each campus, over two dozen staff members got together to create original cards from donated materials, including scrapbook paper, paper doilies, feathers, construction paper, ribbon, paper flowers, hearts, rhinestone stickers and other colorful materials. Titiola Fayanmira, Associate Chief of the Business Office, and a committee of staff hosted the events.

The staff created oversized cards with messages of gratitude and adoration in Valentine’s Day-themed conference rooms, decorated for the occasion. The thing that struck many people as they walked by was how quiet such a large group of people was. In fact, the staff was so diligently working on their creations, they barely made any noise at all.

The cards were judged by member of the Senior Leadership Team. Although the choices were tough, the winners were:

At Brooklyn, judged by Jodie Jackson and Kathy Gaine: Third place, Robin Slocumb and Anastasia Gayle; Second place, Robert Catani and Michelle Spector; First place, Keesha Neebar and Lisa Chichester. At Manhattan, judged by Martina Parauda and Jodie Jackson: Third Place, Robert Lara; Second place, Herbert Fowlkes and Gia Pampellone; and First place, Stacie Hawkins and Isaac Adeboye.

Following the announcement of the winners, card creators and their supporters delivered the cards to their assigned services.

Anthony Oladosu and Chevalier Moses delivered their card to OIF/OIF/OND Veterans on the 9th floor in Brooklyn. “The card announced itself as the staff in the department was looking towards my direction, trying to see who is the lucky person that would receive such a huge Valentine’s card,” he recalled. “I finally presented the card to the Veterans and delivered a message of love and appreciation for their brave works for our nation. They were so amazed and I could see the joy on their face.” The Veterans asked them for their names and asked them to return for a visit from time to time.

Other reported that staff were surprised and extremely appreciative of being though of on Valentine’s Day.

“Lisa and I teamed up to create a personalized Valentine’s Day card for the inpatient ward on 11 West. Apparently, 11 West is now 13 West. We spoke with the Ward Secretary and introduced ourselves and explained to her why we were there. We presented her with the card and informed her that we made this to honor the dedicated men and women for their service and commitment to our nation,” said Keesha Neebar who created a card with Lisa Chichester. “She was quite surprised and asked her co-workers to come over and take a look at how creative the card was. They couldn’t thank us enough and placed the card where everyone can walk by and have a look.”

“To us, we appreciate the opportunity to spend that little time and put a smile on their face,” Oladosu said. “What a good experience! The card was placed on their board for all Veterans to see.”

Kyonghee Hanson also was very impressed with the reaction she received from IRM (BK) staff when she delivered the card. “As I entered IRM, Joseph Geller was walking down the hallway, So, I stopped him and presented the card to him. His business facial expression was changed, as I explained what the card was about. He started to wear a smile and opened the card. Another person quickly came out of her office and leaned over, started to read the card and said, ‘It’s very nice and thank you!’ They were going to bring the card to the Help Desk and share it.”


US Fed News Service, Including US State News April 16, 2007 East Central Community College issued the following news release:

Three East Central Community College alumni who made their marks in athletics are included in the first class of outstanding athletes and coaches selected for induction into the Mississippi Community/Junior College Sports Hall of Fame.

Arno Vincent, Lucille Wood and the late Denver Brackeen will be recognized with other honorees during an induction banquet scheduled at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 24, 2007, on the Copiah-Lincoln Community College campus in Wesson. A reception at 6:30 p.m. officially begins the activities, which will be held in the Thames Conference Center.

During the banquet, a medallion and a glass desk piece will be presented to each honoree. In addition, the names of all inductees will be displayed on a large plaque for display in the State Board for Community and Junior Colleges’ (SBCJC) office in Jackson.

Vincent, a 1937 ECCC graduate, was an All-State selection in football and basketball as a member of the 1935-36 and 1936-37 squads. He continued his athletic career at the University of Southern Mississippi, serving as team captain in football and basketball.

He later returned to ECCC to coach the 1947-49 football squads, and led the Warrior basketball teams from 1947-53. His 1952-53 basketball squad captured Region 7 and State championships and finished fourth in the NJCAA Tournament.

Vincent served as ECCC president from 1953-62 and is a former assistant superintendent for Meridian Public Schools.

He is a member of the ECCC Athletic Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame and Alumni Hall of Fame at USM. He was selected ECCC’s Alumnus of the Year in 1973 and the College’s administration building was named in his honor in 1999.

A military veteran, Vincent served in the U.S. Navy from 1942-46 with the Pacific Fleet.

He and his wife, the former Winifred McElhenney, reside in Petal. He has two daughters, Pamela Vincent and Daphne Vincent Lancaster. His first wife, the former Ruth Carr of Winston County, is deceased.

Wood, a 1951 ECCC graduate, lettered in basketball and tennis while a member of the 1949-50 and 1950-51 teams.

Since varsity sports were not available for women on the senior college level, Wood participated in intramural sports at the University of Southern Mississippi from 1951-53. She received a bachelor’s degree in physical education and a master’s in health, physical education and recreation from USM. go to web site east central community college

Wood later returned to ECCC and coached basketball Club Teams from 1958-74; women’s basketball, 1974-85; men’s and women’s tennis, 1958-76; and volleyball, 1968-71. She led four of her women’s basketball teams to state titles and several division championships. She also captured a state title in volleyball and five of her tennis players won individual state championships.

Wood is also recognized as a pioneer in women’s athletics and worked for the implementation of the Title IX ruling for colleges in Mississippi.

She has received numerous honors throughout her career. She was chosen ECCC Alumna of the Year in 1965; MACJC Coach of the Year, 1979; and was named to the ECCC Athletic Hall of Fame in 1986. The College’s physical education building was named for her and Denver Brackeen in 1988. She served as Region 23 Director of Athletics from 1987-1997 and was one of three recipients of the NJCAA Service Award.

Wood was chosen HEADWAE (Higher Education Appreciation Day; Working Toward Academic Excellence) Instructor of the Year in 1990; Mississippi Humanities Council Instructor of the Year, 2003; and Mississippi Women’s Conference “Power of One” Award winner in 2003.

She was inducted into the NJCAA Women’s Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2004 and the same year received a BlueCross – BlueShield Ageless Hero Award in the “Love of Learning” category. east central community college

The Mississippi House of Representatives recognized Miss Wood for her 53 years of service in the state’s community and junior college system by adopting a resolution in her honor during the 2007 session.

Wood teaches health, first aid, physical education, recreational leadership, and fitness and conditioning classes at ECCC where she also serves as Chairman of the Division of Social Science, Business and Education.

Brackeen, a member of the ECCC Class of 1953, was a standout member of the 1949-1950 and 1952-53 basketball squads, earning All-State honors both seasons and NJCAA First Team All-American status in 1953.

He led the Warriors to state and regional championships and a fourth place finish in the NJCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament during the 1952-53 season. While participating in the national tournament, Brackeen scored a record 51 points in one contest and was named the NJCAA Most Valuable Player.

Brackeen continued his basketball career at the University of Mississippi, where he received All-American honors by the Helms Athletic Foundation and was selected most valuable player in the Southeastern Conference. He was twice named to All-SEC teams and was chosen by Look Magazine as the most valuable player in District V, which consisted of nine southern states.

He was drafted by the New York Knickerbockers professional basketball team but soon returned to ECCC to begin a 28-year career serving in various capacities including coach, guidance counselor, admissions director and dean of students.

Brackeen led Warrior basketball teams from 1955 to 1963, compiling a record of 137 wins and 52 losses. His most successful season was his last at the Warrior helm. The 1962-63 team finished 22-3 and advanced to the state tournament semi-finals. Members of Brackeen’s basketball teams successfully led efforts recently to establish a scholarship in his honor at ECCC.

Brackeen, who in 1985 was chosen the first member of the ECCC Athletic Hall of Fame, was also inducted into the NJCAA Men’s Basketball Hall of Fame, Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and the University of Mississippi Athletic Hall of Fame. He was also chosen a Chik-fil-A SEC Basketball Legend of the Year.

He was selected ECCC Alumnus of the Year in 1982 and the College’s physical education building was named for him and Lucille Wood in 1988.

Brackeen also had a distinguished career in Mississippi National Guard. He served as Mississippi’s Adjutant General during Desert Storm and retired from military service in 1992 with the rank of major general.

His widow, Charlotte Wells Brackeen, resides in Union. They had two sons, Morgan Denver Brackeen and Charlie Wells Brackeen (deceased).


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