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Vincentian duo gets Independence honours in NY

Vincentian duo gets Independence honours in NY

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In celebration of 29 years of Independence, the New York based Council of St Vincent and The Grenadines (SVG) Organizations (COSAGO), in conjunction with the SVG consulate of New York, honored two Vincentians for their contributions to sports and culture last Saturday evening.{{more}}

LeeRoy “Cheeko” Ellis was recognized for his work in culture, and Gloria Lewis for her contributions to the sport of Netball. The event took place at the Prospect Heights High School in Brooklyn during the organization’s third annual culture show.

Appearing in Christmas and Easter pageants since the age of seven, Cheeko Ellis is a dramatist with several poems and monologues to his credit, including the stage play “Riot 1935”. A former student of the St. Vincent Grammar School, Ellis joined the St Vincent Players in 1967 and remained an active member until 1973. In September of that same year, he became a founding member of The New Artists Movement (NAM).

While a member of the Carnival Development Committee, Ellis produced the Calypso Competition during Vincentian cultural icon Shake Keane’s tenure as Director of Culture and was a member of Roy Ralph’s Carnival band for a number of years.

Professionally, Ellis worked as a land surveyor in SVG until he migrated to the USA in 1985. He is presently employed with the City of New York’s Department of Environmental Protection as a Land Surveyor and Engineer. Elis has been married to Margaret Edwards, of Villa, for 25 years; they share two children.

“Netball is in my blood. I feel great to be able to participate at this age and to be recognized,” an elated Gloria Lewis told SEARCHLIGHT. With a career in Netball spanning 60 years, Lewis began playing for “Wee Wrens” at age 13, then became a member of the renowned Maples team while still in school; she also played for Falcons and Paragons. Lewis was a national player for a number of years, and upon her migration to the USA, continued her involvement in the sport. A founding member of the popular New York based team Hairoun, Lewis left Hairoun in 1986 to form United Sports Club (USC). With USC, Lewis has been a player, trainer, captain and manager, and today they have some 30 players in the senior and junior divisions. They’ve also won championships in both divisions.

Today, Lewis still plays, and is an official referee and a member of the Board of Directors of the Caribbean American Netball Association.

Lewis is the mother of seven children: her daughter Adonna is a player, coach, umpire and currently Vice-President of the Caribbean Netball Association (CAN), and her grand daughter T’Shura Jackson has been a three-time national player.

The honorees were introduced by Joanne Legair, Chair of COSAGO’s independence committee, while the awards for Cheeko and Gloria Lewis were presented by Cosmos Cozier and Camillo Gonsalves, respectively.

Saturday evening’s event saw performances in steel pan, music, poetry, drama and maypole dancing. Soca artists Bomani and Lively also performed.

COSAGO is the umbrella body of a number of New York based Vincentian charitable, cultural and sporting organizations. The annual Church Service took place on Sunday, October 19, at 3:00pm, at the St Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brooklyn; the annual Gala Dinner will be held on Sunday, October 26, at 2:00 pm, at the Glen Terrace Empire Ballroom, also in Brooklyn.