Third Annual GARIFUNA VETERANS OF AMERICA Core Values Awards Ceremony To Take Place on SUNDAY, November 8th 2015 in Virginia

 

Virginia Beach, Virginia On SUNDAY, November 8th 2015 in Virginia; the Garifuna Veterans of America organization honored American Veterans of Garifuna Heritage in their Third Annual Core Values Awards Ceremony.

Copyright 2015 by Teofilo Colon Jr. (a.k.a. “Tio Teo”).  All Rights Reserved. Telephone: (646) 961-3674.

As was the case the last two years, The Garifuna Veterans of America highlighted Garinagu (plural for Garifuna) who have served in the United States Military and invited the public at large to this FREE and OPEN to the public event.  1

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Organizers of the Garifuna Veterans of America Core Values Awards Ceremony have expressed that with this event, they hope to showcase Garinagu (plural for Garifuna) who have served and continue to serve in the United States Armed Forces.

The Third Annual Garifuna Veterans Of America Core Values Awards took place on SUNDAY, November 8th 2015 at the:

Philippine Cultural Center

4857 Baxter Road

Virginia Beach, VA



Honorees at this year’s Garifuna Veterans of America Core Values Awards Ceremony include:

Master Chief GEORGE LOPEZ, US Coast Guard

Chief Warrant Officer 42, JANICE JUPITER, US Army

Captain ORI AVILA, US Army

Captain ARIEL S. CASTRO, US Army

OS1 AW/SW DIANA ZUNIGA, US Navy

 –

I only have biographies for two of the five honorees.  As other biographies come in, I will post it here.

Captain Ariel S. Castro BIOGRAPHY

Captain Ariel Salome Castro, a native of Tocoa, Honduras began his career in the enlisted ranks in 2002 as aMilitary Police (MP), which included a deployment to OPERATION IRAQI / ENDURING FREEDOM (OIF / OEF).  He later became a Non-Commissioned Officer in the MP Branch.

Capt Castro is a graduate of the Combined Logistics Captain Career Course (CLC3).  His previous assignments include: 1ABCT Medical Planner, Camp Casey, South Korea, Liaison Officer, Regional Command (Southwest), Task Force Medical Afghanistan; Platoon Leader, 690th Medical Company, Fort Benning, Georgia; Assistant S-3, 14th Combat Support Hospital, Fort Benning, Georgia.

His military education includes the AMEDD’s Basic Officers Leadership Course (BOLC) and the Combined Logistics Captain Career Course (CLC3).  Additional military training: Demonstrated Senior Logistician, the Unit Movement Officer’s Course, the Safety Officer’s Course, and the Combatives Level 1.

Captain Castro’s awards and decorations include: the Army Commendation Medal (2OLK), the Army Achievement Medal; the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal w / Campaign Star, the Iraqi Campaign Medal w/ Campaign Star, the Global War on Terrorism Medal; the Humanitarian Service Medal; the Army Sea Duty Ribbon; the Overseas Service Ribbon (1OLC); the NATO Medal; Meritorious Unit Commendation, the Parachutist Badge, and the Air Assault Badge.

He graduated with Honors from Fayetteville State University with a Bachelor’s in Chemistry and minor in Mathematics.  Captain Castro is married to Cherie M. Castro with no children.

Chief Warrant Officer Three Janice M. Jupiter BIOGRAPHY

CW3 Jupiter was born in Dangriga Town Belize, Central America to Alethia Rosita (Lopez) Flores, wife of the late (Ret.) SSC Joseph Rodney Flores and biological father, Fred Rod Martinez.  Her Grandmothers, Lurleen Rohelia Caliz and Francisca Palacio, were instrumental in her upbringing for the first seven years in Dangriga / Punta Gorda, Belize.  CW3 Jupiter moved to the United States at age seven and immediately became a military brat thanks to her stepfather the late (Ret.) SSG Joseph Rodney Flores.  She followed in his footsteps and Enlisted in the Army as a 75C, Personnell Management Specialist, in April 1994.  After proudly serving 10 years in immeasurable challenging assignments and deployments in the Enlisted ranks.  CW3 Jupiter was appointed as a Warrant Officer Cadet and commissioned as a Human Resources Warrant Officer in August 2005.

Her assignments as a Human Resources Warrant Officer include Chief, U.S. Pacific Command Headquarters Joint Personnel Management Branch, Camp Smith, Hawaii; Strength Manager, 20th CHRN-E Headquarters Command, Edgewood, Maryland; Human Resources Officer, 1st Sustainment Brigade, Fort Riley, Kansas and Camp Taji, Iraq; Strength Manager, 21st Cavalry Brigade (Air Combat), Fort Hood, Texas; Human Resources Technician, Charlie and Delta Detachments, 502nd Personnel Services Battalion, Fort Carson, Colorado and Ramadi / Al Asad, Iraq.  CW3 Jupiter is currently assigned to the 32nd Army Air and Missle Defense Command, as the G1 Strength Manager, at Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas.

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CW3 Jupiter has attained her Bachelor of Arts in Applied Science with Concentration in Business Administration at Texas A&M University, Central Texas.  Her future aspiration is to attain her Masters in Human Resources Management.  CW3 Jupiter is a graduate of the Adjutant General Warrant Officer Advanced and Basic Courses, Human Resources Management Course, Warrant Officer Candidate Course, Basic Instructor Training Course, 42A Advance and Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course, and Primary Leaders Development Course, as well as various other military courses.

Her awards include Bronze Star Medal (2nd Award), Defense Meritorious Service Medal.  Meritorious Service Medal (2nd Award), Army Commendation Medal (2nd Award), and the Army Achievement Medal (2nd Award), as well as other service medals and ribbons.  CW3 Jupiter is married to Ron Jupiter.  She has one teenage college enrolled, son name Zackari Elijah King and a teen step-daughter named Imani St. Neal Jupiter.  Her hobbies include traveling with family, watching movies and playing bingo.

If you find the BEING GARIFUNA Website helpful and useful, please DONATE.  Every dollar donated helps keep this website in operation.  Donations are accepted via the PAYPAL website so your potential donations are SAFE and SECURE.

As detailed in a Bronx Chronicle article on Mr. Edson Arzu and his Garifuna Veterans Of America Core Values Awards, attendance at this cultural and civic event has steadily grown over the years.  120 people attended the first Core Values Awards at a local senior citizens center in the Bronx,  and approximately 200 people attended last year’s 2014 Garifuna Veterans of America Core Values Awards at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center in the Bronx.   2

This year’s Garifuna Veterans Of America Core Values Awards were scheduled to include cultural performances and presentations by the following Musical Artists of Garifuna Heritage.  They include:

The Chief Joseph Chatoyer Garifuna Folkloric Ballet of New York

James Lovell

Marcony Star

Don Cuellar

About Edson Arzu and The Garifuna Veterans of America

Edson Arzu of The Garifuna Veterans of America.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

Edson Arzu of The Garifuna Veterans of America. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

Garifuna American Edson Arzu founded The Garifuna Veterans of America a few years ago.   With this group, Mr. Edson Arzu aims to educate and notify American veterans of Garifuna descent as to the benefits and services due to them as a result of their service in the military of The United States of America.  He also hopes to have this group serve as a network for American veterans of Garifuna descent, that way communication amongst members can help forward information about potential employment opportunities to veterans and their families.

Mr. Edson Arzu has been at work on this project since I first met him at a Garifuna Coalition Roundtable Meeting in 2012.    Mr. Edson Arzu himself is a Garifuna American veteran who served in the United States Navy from 2001 through 2009.  He was born in Puerto Barrios, Guatemala and has been in the United States of America for twenty years.

This event can also help further simple identification of American Veterans of Garifuna Descent.  There isn’t a Garifuna category in the applications that Garinagu fill out when applying to be a part of the United States Armed Forces.  Often when asked to describe themselves, they’d mark Black or Hispanic which isn’t very clear when it comes to Garifuna people.

If you find the BEING GARIFUNA Website helpful and useful, please DONATE.  Every dollar donated helps keep this website in operation.  Donations are accepted via the PAYPAL website so your potential donations are SAFE and SECURE.

For example, I was able to look at a list of 14 merchant marines who were killed in U-boats during World War 2.  Click here to look at this list of merchant marines who were killed in U-boats during World War II.   They are identified by name and the ship that they served on.  They are also identified as Honduran.  Now of these Hondurans, how many were Garifuna?  Not seeing any photos, I’d guess that Cyril Bodden, Lazarus Espinoza, Matri Martinez, Adolfo Mejia, Luis Mejia and Herberto Zuniga are perhaps of Garifuna descent.  But not having any photos or access to personal accounts, it’s hard to say.  This hints at some of the challenges anyone doing research comes across when trying to identify soldiers of Garifuna descent.   3

This event is FREE and open to the public at large.  Light refreshments will be served.

Click here to read an article about Garifuna people serving in the United States Coast Guard.  It was published in June 2013 in commemoration of Caribbean American Heritage Month. Officers profiled in the article include Master Chief Petty Officer George D. Lopez, Petty Officer 1st Class Cornelio M. Herrera and Petty Officer 1st Class Georgette Lopez.

Please like and share this posting with anyone who may be interested in it.

If you find the BEING GARIFUNA Website helpful and useful, please DONATE.  Every dollar donated helps keep this website in operation.  Donations are accepted via the PAYPAL website so your potential donations are SAFE and SECURE.

ABOUT The Garifuna People


The Garifuna people are people of African descent (in other words, Black people) whose ancestry can be traced to Africans mixing with Carib Indians and Arawak Indians on the Eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent.  From this cultural fusion of race and ethnicities on St. Vincent Island, a distinct culture and language arose.  They are noted for being one of the few (only?) peoples of African descent (again, in other words, Black people) in the Americas to have maintained aspects of their ancestral culture and full use of their ancestral language for everyday use over the course of hundreds of years.

After being defeated in war with the British on St. Vincent in 1796; 1004 men, 1779 women and 1,555 children for a total of 4,338 people (mostly Black Caribs, as the Garifuna people were then known) were captured and taken to Baliceaux, a small island, a rock, basically, off the coast of St. Vincent.  This took place from July 1796 through February/March 1797.  About 2,000 Garifunas died of a mysterious and very infectious fever while living on Baliceaux awaiting their fate.   4

In early March 1797, the remaining Garifunas were loaded onto the HMS Experiment and other ships.  Once they were rounded up, the convoy were taken to a Bequia, which is another island off the coast of St. Vincent. They proceeded to go to Grenada to get water, then Jamaica for refueling, then finally Roatan, Honduras, arriving on April 12th 1797.


Finding much of Roatan unliveable, the Garifuna people petitioned officials representing Spain and it’s government (which controlled much of Central America at the time) to be allowed to move to the Honduran mainland.  Upon being allowed to move to the Honduran mainland, namely the port town of Trujillo, Honduras in May 1797; the Garifunas settled many towns and villages along the Caribbean coast of Honduras.  They also migrated to the neighboring countries of Guatemala, Belize (then known as British Honduras) and Nicaragua over the years.  Finally, Garifuna People have also migrated to the United States of America where generations have settled in cities like New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Finally, Garifuna People have also migrated to the United States of America where generations have settled in cities like New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles.  Despite their mainly Spanish surnames, their culture and history are distinct from other Afro-American and Latino ethnic groups and it’s important to keep that in mind.

If you find the BEING GARIFUNA Website helpful and useful, please DONATE. Every dollar donated helps keep this website in operation.  Donations are accepted through the PAYPAL website, so potential donations are SAFE and SECURE. 


Garifuna Veterans of America Logo

Garifuna Veterans of America Logo

 

Notes:

  1. http://www.beinggarifuna.com/blog/2013/11/02/american-veterans-of-garifuna-descent-to-be-honored-in-the-bronx-on-sunday-november-10th-2013/
  2. http://thebronxchronicle.com/2015/10/13/featured-veteran-garifuna-rising/
  3. http://www.beinggarifuna.com/blog/2013/05/27/garifuna-american-military-man-edson-arzu-is-looking-for-american-veterans-of-garifuna-descent/
  4. Nancie L. Gonzalez, “Sojourners of the Caribbean: Ethnogenesis and Ethnohistory of the Garifuna” pg. 21

Comments

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One thought on “Third Annual GARIFUNA VETERANS OF AMERICA Core Values Awards Ceremony To Take Place on SUNDAY, November 8th 2015 in Virginia

  1. Love your website. Thank you for making me feel so proud to be a Garinagu. Im from Belize serving in the Coast Guard Reserve.
    Keep up the good work!!

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