PORT CHESTER, N.Y. -- St. Frances AME Zion Church, the oldest African-American church in Port Chester, held its fourth annual 50 State Rally on April 9 to commemorate the states and their order of entry into the union.
The event was also to recognize members of the community for their contributions to improving or otherwise benefiting the lives of the residents of Port Chester and the town of Rye.
Former Rye town Supervisor Joseph Carvin was recognized for his efforts in supporting the summer internship program, creating the Port Chester Leadership Institute and the Tools for Change Program, which brings together students from Port Chester, Rye Brook and Rye Neck.
Port Chester Village Clerk David Thomas was recognized for his efforts to restore and revitalize the African-American cemetery at Greenwood Union Cemetery in Rye.
In his remarks, Carvin thanked Thomas for also helping to make the office of the supervisor more efficient and technically proficient. Thomas acknowledged the integral role recent trustee candidate Alex Payan played in the summer internship program. Thomas also announced that the cemetery now has 501(c)3 designation as the "Friends of the African-American Cemetery."
St. Frances' pastor, the Rev. Natalie Wimberly, said she was grateful to both men for their contributions and urged the attendees to take the time to visit the cemetery, before "it is necessary to visit."
The program was organized by Martha Bell, a leader at St. Frances and a member of the Port Chester/Rye NAACP.
John Reavis, an officer at St. Frances and president of the Port Chester/Rye NAACP, presented plaques to the honorees.
Lunch was served after the ceremony in the fellowship hall.