Cyril âScorcherâ Thomas was last Saturday evening, presented with the Friends Of Sion Hill Inc (FOSH) Lifetime Achievement Award at the organizationâs second annual Black Tie Dinner and Award Ceremony, held at Friends of Crown Heights, 671 Prospect Place, Brooklyn, New York.
Born and raised in Sion Hill, Thomas migrated to the United States of America in the late 1960s.
Before leaving the country of his birth, Thomas left a mark on the national landscape.
A national goalkeeper, a national volleyballer and a Division One basketballer scripted his sporting life, while his public contribution saw him being a student teacher, a custom officer and a magistrateâs clerk.
Giving national service to the US army for two years, inclusive of 10 months in Vietnam, Thomas also worked as a postal worker, while advancing himself educationally, gaining a Bachelorâs Degree in Political Science; a Masterâs Degree in Urban Administration; and an Advanced Degree in Educational Administration and Supervision.
Thomas served as a teacher within the New York area until he retired in 2001 and became the deputy consul general of St Vincent and the Grenadines until 2011.
However, it has been in the art form of calypso/soca that Thomas became a household name.
Unleashing hits such as â Come St Vincentâ, â Party Feverâ, â Legend of Soca â, â Pipe Layerâ â Wake up the Partyâ and âFork up all dem beachesâ, Thomas has toured extensively, to the England, Colombia, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, Grenada, several cities in the USA, as well as other Caribbean territories.
Thomas credits Alston âBecketâ Cyrus, Frankie Mc Intosh, Godfrey âCherryâ Ince, his fellow Sion Hillarian â Cauldric Forbes and Douglas De Freitas of BDS studios for charting his pathway in the art form in the right direction.
On the night, three other major awards were presented for different aspects of contribution to Vincentian life.
Receiving the Pillar of the Community Award was Elka Browne, who is popularly called Granny Tounce, while the Community Service Award went to Lloyd George Hayde and the Diaspora Award saw Sandra Millington being the recipient.
Browneâs recognition was for her contribution in maintaining the Vincentian cuisine in New York.
Prior to her migration to the USA in 1969, Browne, a former resident of Paulâs Avenue, worked as cook at the Oliveâs Hotel.
Hailing from Sion Hill, Hayde was one of the pioneers in the establishment of a steelband emanating from the community. Hayde migrated to England in 1961, where he formed a steelband called Cosmopolitan and even got the opportunity to perform at the famed Royal Albert Hall. Hayde resettled in Brooklyn, New York, USA in 1973, where he again became active in the steel band movement and old mas.
Millington was born in Sion Hill, but migrated to the USA in 1969, after serving as a teacher at the then Richmond Hill Government School.
Millington has a long history of voluntary service in New York and at present is the chair for the Education committees of both Club St Vincent Inc and COSAGO.
Last Saturdayâs event saw Maxwell Haywood being the featured speaker.
FOSH Inc was officially launched in June 2014. Its motto is: âRebuilding a communityâ¦ One life at a timeâ.