Five additional persons have been named as being integral to the Fabric of Our Community by the Onslow Civic Affairs Committee and are to be given special recognition later this month.
The Fabric of Our Community civic award recognizes individuals or groups who help achieve higher civic education, improve the civic infrastructure of our community and efforts to advance citizenship, citizen participation and encouragement of community.
Richard L. Ray was a dedicated Citizen, a visionary, and a statesman dedicated to making Jacksonville all it could be. He left a legacy of being a good businessman, a devoted husband, and father as well as an esteemed civic leader. To some, he was a builder of businesses, industry and roads. But his vision embraced more than bricks and mortar; it was the fulfillment of a dream to make Jacksonville the community where all could call home, even if here only for a few years as a military connected resident.
Jacksonville Commons was facilitated in part by his hand in developing Western Boulevard’s extension. He saw jobs creation as part of the land he developed. He saw development driving action that would improve the community. His work stimulated residential development and opportunities for the city and county to expand recreation and education facilities. He died in a boating accident on the New River August 23, 1996.
This power couple gets things done by persistence, tenacity and with keen eyes on the target. Inspired by the Beirut Memorial, the two were part of the vision to build a grand memorial to celebrate and memorialize the lives of those who served in Vietnam.
Fundraising was at first modest with efforts such as motorcycle rides and quickly grew to things that produced significant funding.
They worked to get an architect, and government support, winning two million dollars from local governments. On June 13, 2009, the first phase was dedicated, but they were not finished. With additional people at the table, they worked to get the dome installed and did so quickly.
The Vietnam Memorial is not the only legacy of this couple. This couple represents the fabric of this community in their involvement in veterans’ activities, civic activities and political activities. They seem to be ever-present sometimes and are a fixture in civic involvement. This couple embodies the concept of such a deep involvement in the community, that their absence would produce a ripple in our community fabric.
James “XY” Brown has been protecting and serving the citizens of Jacksonville for over five decades. He is a familiar sight to Citizens as conducts his duties for the Jacksonville Police Department. Officers and staff of the Jacksonville Police Department respectfully refer to him as “Mr. Brown.” Officer Brown works primarily with the agency’s Traffic Division. Most of us have not experienced a Jacksonville Police Department without him. Many are not aware that Officer Brown works every single day.
Officer Brown conducts security checks, checks on the elderly and infirm, works funeral escorts and of course, works as a crossing guard.
Officer XY Brown’s is truly part of the fabric of our community through his dedication to his law enforcement duties and his remarkable tenure of more than fifty years of service to our community.
From his efforts to build a war chest for financial assistance to wounded warriors to his creation of an enduring relationship with the civilian community, this retired general became a leader in the financial community and counsel to many for military and civilian relations.
In 2003, he assumed command of Camp Lejeune. In October 2008, he retired, but this only strengthened his influence and contribution to our community. He became an officer of Marine Federal Credit Union and as such acted on his economic development efforts. His leadership with this expansive institution was lauded by many. For leadership that continues today and for being such an integral part of our community, Major General Bob Dickerson is declared to be a part of the Fabric of Our Community.
The awards are to be presented as part of the 2020 Golden Rule Lightkeepers & Fabric of the Community Awards Luncheon set for Noon, February 21, 2020 at the Sturgeon City Environmental Center. Tickets available at www.uwonslow.org.
During the recognition of the far-reaching effects of the Beirut Bomb Blast of 1983, our community recognized that the fabric of our community had been torn by the loss of so many in a single day. So interwoven were those who were lost that day, that our community suffered not only the incredible loss of the potential of their lives lost, that as a civic entity, we lost their valued contribution to the civic infrastructure.
Therefore, the Committee wishes to recognize persons or organizations who perform actions that improve the fabric of our community by undertaking such actions described in the bylaws, or who by their actions advance deficiencies or areas for improvement identified in the Civic Index. These actions are not intended to recognize a single year of work, but a body of work that could span several years or a lifetime.
The Onslow Civic Affairs Committee serves to advance Civic Education and annually holds the 9/11 Patriot Day Observance, Freedom Fountain Observance, Freedom Day Observance and holds tributes for those fallen in war. They perform a Civic Index that accesses the community’s civic infrastructure and performs other actions to advance Civic Education.
Eleven persons have been awarded the status of Fabric of our Community Award. Five additional panels will be added as part of the 2020 class.