ST. CROIX –The Committee on Culture, Historic Preservation, and Aging, chaired by Senator Javan E. James, Sr.,met on Tuesday in the Bennie and Martha Benjamin Conference Center at the Virgin Islands Cardiac Center on St. Croix.
The Committee considered two Resolutions honoring and commending Wallace D. Williams and Pastor Hector Gonzalez for their services and contributions to the community of St. Croix.
Bill No.33-0247, a Resolution honoring and commending Wallace D. Williams for his years of extensive work and service as a Librarian and an Olympic athlete representing the U.S. Virgin Islands in multiple competitions. The measure was sponsored by Senator Javan E. James, Sr.
In her testimony, Mary Mingus said that many people have made significant contributions of their time,expertise and resources to improve the quality of life for all Virgin Islanders. She added that Wallace Williams is, indeed, a standout and so deserving of this recognition and honor.
She further indicated that in 1984,Wallace co-founded one of the WomenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s CoalitionsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ largest fundraisers,the annualÃ¢â‚¬Å“WomenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Race.Ã¢â‚¬ÂIt was the largest running event for many years in the Virgin Islands. She concluded by saying, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Wallace has positively impacted the lives of so many people through his kindness, compassion, expertise, and his spirit of giving.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Willard John of Jumbie Productions Inc. said he has known Williams for more than 40 years. He added that Wallace resigned as branch librarian at the Frederick Douglass Branch of Chicago Public Library for an Outreach Librarian position at Florence Williams Public Library on St. Croix in 1977,and in doing so took a significant pay cut.
According to John, some of WilliamsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ accomplishments working with the Libraries are: (1) Reestablishing outreach service to Senior Citizens, Blind and Physically Handicapped, correctional facilities, Spanish-speaking communities and remote locations; (2) Established the St. Croix Literacy Center at the Williams Public Library Center which provided reading resources to new adult readers; and (3) Served as Chapter Council Member of the American Library Association and Delegate to the White House Conference on Library Information Services.
Four-time Virgin Islands Olympian and Team Physician, Dr. Marlon S. Williams said Wallace founded VI Pace Runners, a running group that has championed the causes for distance runners of all ages. He added that for several decades he has guided hundreds of athletes during preparation for national and international competition, often using his personal resources.
Dr. Williams further stated, Ã¢â‚¬Å“I cannot think of anyone more deserving of recognition by the people of the Virgin Islands.Ronald Russell, President of the Virgin Islands Track and Field Federation (VITFF),said Wallace has served is his capacity as general secretary for the Federation since 1981. He transitioned from being a national athlete and competing in the Olympics to an executive position that has been invaluable to the territoriesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ track and field existence.
The Bill was favorably approved to the Committee on Rules and Judiciary, as amended for further consideration.
Bill No.33-0245, an Act honoring and commending Pastor HÃƒÂ©ctor GonzÃƒÂ¡lez for over 56years of ministry, outstanding service and dedication to the people of St. Croix and the renaming of Route 681 (Hess Road) to Ã¢â‚¬Å“Route 681 HÃƒÂ©ctor GonzÃƒÂ¡lez Road.Ã¢â‚¬Â The Department of Public Works shall erect appropriate signage bearing the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Route 681 HÃƒÂ©ctor GonzÃƒÂ¡lez Road,Ã¢â‚¬Â in his honor. This Bill was sponsored by Senator Alicia V. Barnes.
In reading the resolution, Senator Barnes said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“it is fitting for the Legislature to honor Pastor GonzÃƒÂ¡lez, whose many years of devoted service and outstanding leadership as pastor and citizen of his community has contributed greatly to the island of St. Croix.
During her testimony, Maricela Santo sstated that Pastor HÃƒÂ©ctor Luis GonzÃƒÂ¡lez opened the doors of Zion Christian Academy in 1989 to provide faith-based curriculum to the children of St. Croix. She added that his devotion and contributions have left a positive impacton many families and the youths of St. Croix
.Carmen Corcino, a member of the church said Pastor GonzÃƒÂ¡lez is a legend in his ministry, Ã¢â‚¬Å“the man everyone goes to, the Pastor for everyoneÃ¢â‚¬Â. She added that everyone knows what he has done for St. Croix by providing a permanent place for worship, praise and education.Dina Scott, minister and secretary of the Council of Iglesias Hermanos Unidos en Cristoin the Virgin Islands,said his integrity, honesty, confidence and compassion have always been in the front line of his service. She added that, there are many more lives that have been touched, whose lives have been given meaning and purpose by this man through his ministry.
The Bill was voted out of the Committee with a favorable recommendation and forwarded to the Rules and Judiciary Committee for further consideration.Senators present at TuesdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s meeting were Vice-Chairman Javan James, Sr., Senators Dwayne DeGraff, Athneil Ã¢â‚¬Å“BobbyÃ¢â‚¬Â Thomas, Thomas, Steven Payne, Alicia Barnes, and Oakland Benta.