We close out our milestone history by recognizing our final Man of the Ivy for Charities’ 35th year, Dr. John E. Garnette. It can be a challenge being the husband of Charities’ Executive Director with the additional “Honey-do” tasks, but Dr. John or Papa John as some of the millennial members call him, takes it all in stride. John became the third Man of the Ivy ten years ago and was honored at Charities’ silver anniversary gala at the Sheraton Hotel in Beltsville, MD in 2011.
In addition to being a Silver Donor Man of the Ivy, John was instrumental as the Immediate Past President of the Kappa Epsilon Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., in solidifying the partnership with Charities that led to the fraternity chapter holding their Alpha Academy at the Ivy Youth and Family Center. This action was taken to respond quickly to the request from our Suitland neighbors that a program for young males be held at the Center, similar to the Sarah Wise Wooten Young Ladies Academy.
Whenever there was a need for strong “manpower” (or manly deeds to which the brothers of Alpha pledge), John was ever ready and often secured the help of his members. Even during the pandemic, when the call was made by our Family Strengthening Committee for help with the distribution of Thanksgiving meals to our five adopted families, John arranged for members of the chapter to meet us at each of the family’s homes and as our members drove up in their cars, John and his members took the meals from the cars and placed them at the front door of each family. At times, it appeared that the Center was John’s second home as he could often be found mowing the lawn, unstopping the drains at the bottom of the handicapped ramp to prevent rainwater from flooding the lower level, replacing light bulbs, and setting up or taking down tables and chairs at special Charities’ events.
Charities is grateful for John’s labor of love and financial support of our efforts to better serve the citizens of Prince George’s County, Maryland.