By OSWALD T. BROWN
WASHINGTON, D.C. — When Buddy Hield and the New Orleans Pelicans visited Chicago on January 14, 2017, for a game against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center, the Bahamian basketball sensation received a warm welcome from a group of Bahamians living in the Chicago area during a post-game “meet and greet” organized by the Hon. Michael C. Fountain, Bahamas Honorary Consul to Chicago, and members of the Bahamas Association of Chicago.
The Bahamas Association of Chicago has been a networking organization for Bahamians living in the Midwest United States for a number of years, but it has had a sort of renaissance in recent years under a dynamic Executive Board that includes Mr. Cyril G. Jervis, President; Dianna Walkine, Vice President; Jeff Crittenden, treasurer; and Esmeralda (Ford) Crittenden, secretary. Founding member Donna Johnson is Board Advisor and Mavis (Simpson) Cargill and Wayne “Saldo” Saunders are honorary past presidents.
The association receives strong support from Honorary Consul Fountain, who attended its first meeting for the new year on Saturday, January 28, and presented highlights of consular activities for 2016 and discussed the collaborative opportunities available to the Association and the Bahamas Consulate to engage Bahamians throughout the Midwest Jurisdiction in 2017.
It is not surprising that Mr. Jervis, the focus of this month’s BAHAMIANS IN THE DIASPORA, is providing the association with sterling leadership. His background and upbringing in a large, closely-knit family thoroughly prepared him to be an effective leader.
Born in Nassau, June 18, 1960, Cyril is the son of the late Hubert Jervis of Nassau and the late Evangeline (Major) Jervis of Tarpum Bay, Eleuthera, who had eleven children – six boys and five girls.
“My father moved us all from Nassau to Freeport, Grand Bahama, in 1965,” Cyril says. “My parents are deceased, but nine of my siblings still live in Freeport and one in Bermuda. In my early years I attended Hawksbill school, but I was very fortunate to go back to Nassau and graduated from Saint Augustine’s College with the best class ever, Class of ’78.”
Noting that growing up in The Bahamas was great, Cyril added, “I had a great family-structured upbringing. We were blessed with a hard-working father and an unbelievable mother who nurtured all of us into fine citizens of The Bahamas. They did a wonderful job preparing us for the future. I give a great deal of credit to my aunts and uncles in Nassau who helped raise me while in Nassau and a special recognition to special men who imparted so much into me at SAC, like Leviticus ‘Uncle Lou’ Adderley, Martin Lundy and Sharon ‘The General’ Storr.”
Cyril left The Bahamas in August of 1978 at the age 18 year to attend Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, from where he graduated in 1982 with degrees in Business/Marketing and Black Studies. While at Luther College, he was Vice President of the Black Student Union (BSU) and excelled in athletics. He was inducted into the college’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1988 and I still holds the school’s record in the triple jump.
“The day before graduation I married to the love of my life, Julie, and we have been blessed with three beautiful children — Jeremy, Jerome and Chantel — and we are now grandparents of six,” Cyril says. “I visit The Bahamas as least two or three times a year. I believe strongly in family and my Bahamian people. I made sure my children and grandchildren know who their people are and about the Bahamian culture.”
Cyril previously worked in the Mortgage Banking arena for over 15 years, but is currently a Case Manager at the Waukegan Township, where he helps men — through a Transitional Home, a facility for homeless men — get their lives back on track from incarceration, drug and alcohol addiction.
“It is a personally rewarding career for me,” Cyril says. “I also volunteer at another program for homeless men, The Rope House, and conduct a bible study with the men there every two weeks. I attend the Sign of the Dove Church, under Apostle Harry and Deborah Stackhouse, and I serve in the capacity of Deacon and leader of the Men’s Ministry.”
Oswald T. Brown is the Press, Cultural Affairs and Information Manager with The Bahamas Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Cyril G. Jervis, President of the Bahamas Association of Chicago, and several members of association’s leadership team are pictured with the Hon. Michael Fountain, Bahamas Honorary Consul to Chicago, following a “meet and greet” with Bahamian basketball sensation Buddy Hield after the New Orleans Pelicans game with the Chicago Bulls on January 14. From left are: Jeffrey Crittenden, Treasurer; Esmaralda Crittenden, Secretary; Dianna Walkine, Vice-President; Donna Johnson, Founding Member; Mr. Jervis; and Honorary Consul Fountain.
Cyril G. Jervis and his wife Julie are pictured seated with their grandchildren and, standing from left to right are Jerome Jervis (son), Chantel Jervis-Walton (daughter), LeTay Stackhouse-Jervis (daughter-in-law) and Jeremy Jervis (son).