There’s an adage which states: if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. The planning committee, under the astute leadership of Brother Harry “Eaze” Harrell, not only planned with perfection the week’s activities composing Eta Nu’s celebratory 50th Anniversary but executed those plans flawlessly. Eta Nu was founded under the auspices of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. on June 11, 1969, the first Greek letter organization in the Pompano Beach community. Four visionary Omega men – chapter founders: Brothers Clifford Dudley, James Jones, Edgar Mills and Joseph Smith – accepted the arduous challenge of laying the foundation for Eta Nu’s inception. As the only surviving founder, the committee eruditely commenced the celebration at Antioch Baptist Church in Pompano, the home church of Brother James L. Jones, former principal of Blanche Ely High School. An estimated 70-80 Omega men, including their wives/sweethearts, attended the service, followed with brunch at the Isle Casino in Pompano. In that moment Brother Jones’ persona ensured the brothers of the pride and esteem for an organization that he helped create.
The following Monday was Social Action Day. Several brothers, friends and family members selflessly gave blood while others assisted in feeding seniors inside the educational center. Personally, the crowning event occurred at the E. Pat Larkins Center involving our flagship mentorship program, a two-fold initiative acknowledging the accomplishments of the young men in the Gentlemen of Influence (high school) and Q’ Unit (grade school). Seeing the young people celebrating their successes with their parents was absolutely exhilarating. According to Social Action Chairman, Brother Melvin Davis, “the total event was outstanding. The chapter has achieved so much in only 50 years, improving the community and uplifting the youth through our mentoring programs while demonstrating to parents that there are still many compassionate African American men in the community and world.”
Tuesday was the singular activity set aside for brothers. The Set Out was reminiscent of a long-awaited, much anticipated family union. Only this conflagration of brothers harkens back to challenging pledge periods, development of lifetime friendships, and unifying bonds that even death can’t unshackle. Brothers traveled from as far as California and as near as Miami to be a part of such a nostalgic experience. Some were current military; others came from area chapters and state universities. Brothers engaged in photo ops, shared long-forgotten escapades, broke bread together and even endeavored to relive stepping days before aged/time caught up with them. However, all rallied around the timeless, steadfast motto of Omega: Friendship is Essential to the Soul. Since 1970 Eta Nu has made 19 lines and most were represented. The Set Out proved fraternally invigorating and inspiring.
Another highlight was the family bowling night on Wednesday. If you arrived late, your chances of bowling were slim at best. However, the atmosphere was contagious- laughter, frolic, conversation, pizza, wayward bowling miscues deserving of derision and playful scorn – but mostly a loving family environment which craved similar activities in the future.
The week’s celebration started to wane on Thursday with the 4 Ques of Comedy Jokes & Smokes held at the Pompano Cultural Center. Attendees were bombarded with a plethora of unfiltered humor by very talented comics, many of whom were Pompano natives.
Two events highlighted Friday’s activities: the Felix “Chin” Evans 2019 Golf Tournament held at the Woodmont Country Club and the Casino Night Golden Celebration at the Westin Hotel. Tournament Chairman Cedric Scott stated that it was an overwhelming success from a golf tournament perspective. Casino Night, a semi-formal affair, allowed guests and friends to test their games of chance mastery while enjoying a delicious buffet, jazz musician Randy Corinthian & Company and the appearance of the Grand Basileus of our great fraternity, Omega Psi Phi, Dr. David Marion, whose remarks about Eta Nu, Founder James Jones and Harry Harrell, who served with Brother Marion as 7th District Keeper of Finance when he was District Representative, were well received. His presence also illuminated the esteem with which Eta Nu is held in fraternal circles. And finally, what is a 50th Year Celebration sans a party. The Mardi Gras, held at the Event Center in Margate, was a tremendously successful conclusion to the week’s activities. Monetary awards were presented to those recognized for sporting the best costumes. And to quote the deejay, DP of Hot 105, the party continued long after us ole folks were gone. On behalf of Basileus James St. Louis, Harry Harrell and his committee and the Brothers of Eta Nu, THANK YOU FOR YOUR UNWAVERING SUPPORT.