Westchester County Executive George Latimer honored three remarkable African American citizens for their professional accomplishments and community efforts, and recognized all African American Frontline workers, at the annual Trailblazers Awards Ceremony. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the “Trailblazers: Preserving our Legacy” ceremony was hosted virtually as part of the County’s celebration of Black History Month. The awards recognize individuals who have made great contributions to African American history and culture throughout Westchester County.
Latimer said, “While we are not able to gather at the Jay Heritage Center in Rye as we normally would, it is more important now than ever that we recognize the prominent role African Americans have played in our County’s history. The three talented individuals we are celebrating tonight have contributed immeasurably to the African American history and culture of Westchester. Our African American frontline workers have also proven their steadfast commitment to keeping our residents safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Let us honor them all for their public service and the generous use of their talent, which together can ensure that the legacies of those who came before us, are never forgotten.”
Chair of the African American Advisory Board Barbara Edwards said, “The annual Trailblazers Award Program provides an opportunity to focus on the narrative of Black History in Westchester County. During our observance of Black History Month, we offer citizens of all races the opportunity to celebrate with us and learn about those of African descent whom we are honoring in recognition of the time, talent and resources they have contributed to enhance the quality of life in our County.”
The Trailblazers Awards Ceremony included a highlight video featuring Larry H. Spruill, a Civil Rights Scholar and Public Historian. The piece explores the history of the African American Advisory Board, the African American Heritage Trail in Westchester County, and the historical significance of the Jay Heritage Center in Rye.
The 2021 Trailblazer Honorees received awards in the areas of Health and Human Services, Leadership and Civic Engagement. This year’s honorees are as follows:
The Dr. Valiere Alcena Award for Health and Human Services was awarded to Dr. Glenn A. Davis. Dr. Glenn A. Davis of the Greenburgh Health Center, where he has served as Medical Director there for more than 30 years. He has cared for families and patients through multiple generations, and is the heart and soul of the Health Center. As the sole practitioner leading the Internal Medicine Department, Davis takes incredible care with each one of his patients, and even has a photographic memory that allows him to remember the most specific details about each one of them. Davis has spent most of his professional career at the Greenburgh Health Center, but also serves as Deputy Medical Director of the Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center, Inc. He received his Diplomate in Internal Medicine from the American Board of Internal Medicine, and his Doctorate from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee. He has leant his medical expertise to numerous events, panels and pharmaceutical companies. Davis is married with two children.
The Hon. Ronald A. Blackwood Award for Leadership was presented to Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard. Mayor Shawn Patterson-Howard is a Mount Vernon High School alumnus and esteemed graduate of Howard University School of Social Work, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and Hunter College where she earned a Master’s in Public Administration and Urban/Community Development. Patterson-Howard has served as a trailblazer in the not for profit and government sectors for the past 25 years. While widely known for her ground breaking work in HIV/AIDS, public health, criminal justice, education, housing and urban development, Patterson-Howard has developed strong relationships with government and cross-sector +leaders on the local, state and national level. As a “connector,” she has always maintained a strong focus on developing systemic solutions that will address the complex social determinants that have plagued our communities for decades. She passionately works with her staff and community partners to create continuums of service and innovative public/private partnerships to serve those who have been marginalized, disenfranchised and are oftentimes voiceless. Patterson-Howard’s favorite African Proverb is, “When spider webs unite, we can tie up a lion,” or as we say in the Y, we are “Better Together.”
The Whitney M. Young, Jr. Award for Civic Engagement was awarded to Olney Reynolds. Olney Reynolds is a lifelong Westchester County resident, and a resident of the Town of Greenburgh for 26 years. He also was known as a staple of the Westchester County Parks Department for 20 years. Reynolds became the first African American Manager of the Westchester County Center in the history of the building, holding the position of Sales and Marketing Manager. Reynolds hired the first African Americans to work in the building as ushers, ticket takers and box office staff. He was also the first to open up events such as boxing and wrestling to female employees, which were once limited to only men. Reynolds left Westchester County to become Executive Director of the Greenburgh Housing Authority, where he committed to furthering affordable housing in Greenburgh’s Fairview section. Reynolds is deeply committed to community service, spending over 25 years as a member of African American Men of Westchester, an all-volunteer nonprofit formed in 1987 to strengthen communities and improve people’s lives.
The Espirit de Corps Award, Special Recognition to all African American Frontline Workers was accepted by Philip O. Ozuah, MD, PhD. Dr. Philip O. Ozuah is the President and CEO of Montefiore Medicine, the umbrella organization for Montefiore Health System and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. A nationally recognized physician, researcher, teacher and author, Ozuah previously served as President of Montefiore Health System. He has also served as Professor and University Chairman of Pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Physician-in-Chief of Children’s Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM). In these roles, Dr. Ozuah expanded access for underserved communities, recruited and cultivated outstanding talent, advanced programs of excellence, fostered innovations in medical education, and improved financial and operational performance by integrating care across a rapidly growing and evolving Montefiore system, that sees over six million patient interactions a year.