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80 Years And Counting

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Alamo City Ques at 80: Our Story

Written By: Jeremy Neal & Scott L. Earle, Sr.

November 1, 2020, will mark 80 years of service to the Alamo City by Psi Alpha Chapter.  In 1940, eight professional men from varied careers ranging from four educators, a dentist, a civil servant, a physician, and a businessman who had become members of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated during their college years, decided that the time was right to form a Graduate Chapter here in the City of San Antonio. They were as young as 24 years of age to 49 years of age.  They all had attended Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) due to segregation in the United States at that time in history.  Some were raised in the city, some from the state of Texas, one from Georgia, and one from Virginia. After compiling all of the necessary information and paperwork and complying with the National Body’s Guidelines, the Local Chapter was chartered by the Supreme Council of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated on November 1, 1940, and given the name Psi Alpha. The Charter members were: Brothers Dr. W. V. Hurd DDS, S. D. Kane, Dr. M. L. Preacher, Joseph Paul Chretien, Ernest M. Foxx, Valmo Charles Bellinger, Dr. Richard Kidd, and G. P. Inge, Jr. Brother S.D. Kane was our first Basileus (president). 

These men were influential in the community and were known more for just bringing Omega Psi Phi to the Alamo City.  All eight men did a great deal in the City but three had a substantial impact. Brother Dr. Hurd, a WWI veteran, was much respected in his field and at the time as the only individual to serve as President of the Gulf State Dental Association of Texas twice, once in the 1940s and again in the late 1950s. He served as the past president of the Lone Star State Medical, Dental, and Pharmaceutical Association, and a former board member of the National Dentist Association. He also, chaired and was a member of various boards at the National Dentist Association. 

Brother G.P. Inge, Jr., a WWI veteran, was a believer in the philosophy of progressive education and served as principal of Phillis Wheatley High School from 1941 to 1963. During the 22 years as the leader of one of the largest segregated schools in the state, he graduated record numbers of students, and their sports teams dominated the states segregated schools in the Prairie View Interscholastic League, and they all knew they could compete with predominantly Anglo institutions. Brother Inge Jr. instituted the “No Pass No Play” rule for athletes during his tenure at the school before it was passed at the state level. 

Brother Valmo Charles Bellinger was a prominent businessman and political party boss who also was the editor of the San Antonio Register.  Founded by Valmo, the paper began printing in 1931, running without interruption for 47 years. Though its initial goal was preserving the political influence of Bellinger’s father, the paper later focused on local, state, and national news of specific concern to San Antonio’s African-American community. Valmo hired his future wife Josephine who assisted him in making the newspaper a success. Valmo donated an archive of the San Antonio Register to the University of Texas at San Antonio’s John Peace Library in 1979. The archive consisted of 22,000 issues and offered an almost complete run of issues from 1945 to 1978. If you ever have a chance to look over these archives, the Psi Alpha History coupled with the Black History of South Texas is remarkable. There are virtually no complete collections of black newspapers in the southwest and only two or three in the entire United States. Many of the articles written were published in Jet and Ebony magazines along with major newspapers reprinting the stories originating in the Register.

Currently, Psi Alpha Chapter has a total of 170 members. Psi Alpha Chapter’s Basileus, Brother Jimmie E. McMillion, has held this role for the past three years. “The Psi Alpha Chapter has been a pillar in the San Antonio community for 80 years. The Omega Men of Psi Alpha in San Antonio have been leaders in various occupations such as business, engineering, education, law, and medicine for many years,” McMillon stated. Our Psi Alpha Chapter historical note to mention is that in the late 1960s, Bro. Warren Eusan, WWII Army Air Corp and Tuskegee Airman Veteran, Theta Chapter ’39, was the driving force that brought the IHQ 47th Conclave to San Antonio which was the key focal point to break down discrimination in the San Antonio Area, becoming the first southern city to fully integrate. In the past years, the Psi Alpha Chapter has brought back a lot of IHQ recognition:

Brother Greg Thompson (Chairman of the Alamo City Black Chamber of Commerce): International Omega Man of the Year in the early 2000s

Brother Brandon Logan (Former President of the Rotary Club of San Antonio): IHQ Citizen of the Year in 2015

Brother Lionel Lyde: IHQ Colonel Charles Young Award Winner in 2017

Ms. Breanna Toney (Represented by Psi Alpha): Winner of the IHQ International Essay Contest in 2016

The Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated has 10 International Mandated Programs: Achievement Week, Scholarship, Social Action, Talent Hunt Program, Memorial Service, Reclamation and Retention, College Endowment Fund, Health Initiatives, Voter Registration Education & Mobilization, and NAACP. In the Omega Year, which runs from November-October; several of these programs have been key highlights in Psi Alpha Chapter for the 2019-2020 year.

Scholarship: The Psi Alpha Scholarship Foundation awarded a total of $32,300 in scholarships and grants. A total of 20 seniors in the San Antonio Area were awarded scholarships totaling $30,000.

Talent Hunt Program: Psi Alpha Chapter awarded $1500 in scholarships as Ms. Zora Dickson, a junior and Bexar County Home School Student with a 4.0 GPA, walked away with winning honors.

Reclamation and Retention: Psi Alpha Chapter was awarded the Mighty 9th District Reclamation Large Graduate Chapter of the Year.

Fatherhood Initiative: Psi Alpha Chapter was announced as the winner of the best Fatherhood Initiative in the Mighty 9th District. For this mention, President Dr. David Marion awarded the chapter a $5000 award.

These programs were led by our Vice President, Brother George Mayers, who will transition into the role of President on November 5th as Brother McMillion’s award-winning 3-year term is up.

Psi Alpha Chapter will celebrate their 80th year serving the city on Sunday, November 1st. The day will begin with Brothers visiting the gravesites of the Charter Members who are laid to the rest in the city from 12 PM – 3 PM. The effort will be split into teams of 3 to maintain social distancing. From 5 PM – 7 PM, a Virtual Celebration over Zoom will be held where Brothers will be able to have a meal and socialize as we go through the program. During the program, Brothers from the 40s to the present will discuss the Charter members’ influence on them and any experiences they may have had with the Charter line.

Psi Alpha Chapter recently celebrated our beloved Godfather, Brother Earl Campbell, on October 25th with a drive-by celebration where over 45 vehicles lined up beeping our horns and watching him smile and wave to us as he celebrated 95 years of life. Brother Campbell, a 1944 initiate of the Epsilon Sigma Chapter at Tillotson College which is now Huston-Tillotson University, also celebrated 76 years of serving Omega on October 17, 2020. He was recently interviewed by the Psi Alpha Fatherhood Initiative Committee, where he provided a toolbox of knowledge in speaking on the importance of fatherhood. A point in the interview was when Brother Campbell was asked, “Out of the 4 F’s Faith, Family, Fellowship, and Friendship, which was most important and why? Brother Campbell replied, “Faith is the most important. All of us must have faith in God. He is our creator, having that faith means that fellowship, friendship, and loyalty will follow. In life, whatever we encounter, our faith is the most important thing that we have. Love your neighbor as yourself! (Mark 12:31) If you live by that creed alone…you will certainly live a great life and our lives will be so much better.”

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Free Fruit Tree Adoption Event

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Parks and Recreation Department Hosts Drive Thru Jammin’ Jams Fruit Tree Adoption Event & Debuts New Tree Mascot

SAN ANTONIO, TX (March 3, 2021) – San Antonio Parks and Recreation presents Jammin’ Jams (South), a free, drive thru fruit tree adoption event on Saturday, March 6 at Texas A&M University – San Antonio (One University Way) from 8 a.m. until Noon or while supplies last. Six hundred (600) fruit trees will be available including apple, fig, lemon, lime, nectarine, orange, and pear. Quantities are limited and are first come, first serve. One tree available per car. 

The Department’s new tree mascot, Parker, will make its debut at Jammin’ Jams. Parker is a Texas Red Oak, a native Texas tree, who will be on hand to greet and entertain visitors while helping adopt out fruit trees to San Antonio neighbors.

“While we’ve had to pivot on our service delivery throughout the year due to the pandemic, we’re excited to bring Jammin’ Jams to our neighbors in a new way. We’ve expanded locations and included additional dates to offer residents more opportunities to adopt a fruit tree this season,” said Homer Garcia III, Director of Parks and Recreation. All trees are provided by the Parks and Recreation Department through the Tree Canopy Preservation & Mitigation Fund. This is one of three drive thru fruit tree adoption events scheduled. 

Details:

Jammin’ Jams (South) – March 6
8 a.m. – Noon or while supplies last

Texas A&M University – San Antonio

Directions:

Jammin’ Jams (South) is at Texas A&M University – San Antonio located at One University Way, San Antonio 78224. Use the S. Zarzamora Street entrance to Jaguar Parkway. The tree adoption will be in Parking Lot 3.  

Save the Date
Jammin’ Jams (East) – March 20

8 a.m. – Noon or while supplies last

Wheatley Heights Sports Complex
(200 Noblewood Drive, Parking Lot)

Safety Protocols
For the safety of patrons and team members, this year’s events are drive thru only. Patrons will need to remain inside their cars and wear a mask when interacting with Parks and Recreation team members. No walk-ups will be allowed. Stay home if you are sick or have been near someone who has been exposed to COVID-19.

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Slipping Out of Darkness

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Now that we’ve thawed out a bit and temperatures have been warmer and closer to average, maybe we can return to some normalcy. However, around this time last week countless individuals and families had taken in the exquisite views of measurable snow in San Antonio, a rare scene for locals since 1985 and a very first for others. There were plenty of snowball fights, constructed snowmen and snowwomen that stood out in front of yards along with a great deal of makeshift snow-surfing festivities that took place; all were a nice little mental and physical break from the harsh realities of our “new norms” in the age of Covid-19. Unfortunately, little did San Antonians and Texans know that this excitement was just a little “calm before the storm,” and like the remnants of Covid-19, we’ll be paying the price for the pleasure.

Things quickly took a turn for the worse by the evening of February 14, 2021. With record breaking temperatures in the forecast and potential snowfall, many rushed out to local grocery stores in an effort to shop for essential food and water in the event roads and stores would be closed. Shoppers arrived at stores having to wait in long lines only to discover semi-bare shelves and slim pickings of items to purchase because many heeded protocols and prepared home-cooked meals and celebrated their first socially distanced Valentine’s Day at home with loved ones. Adding insult to injury, thousands of San Antonians began experiencing the bitterness of frigid nights and temperatures that led to incredible snowfall amounts. Then what started as rolling electricity blackouts (typical in summer months in Texas) to protect and conserve the entire Texas power grid abruptly became a little more permanent for millions of residents across the city and the state. And as if sitting in the dark for hours and then days was not enough, it immediately became clear that loss of electricity would cause a hurdling domino effect of catastrophic events. CPS Energy, San Antonio’s municipal electric utility company shutting off of electricity started to trouble the city’s water supply because pumps that assist with water pressure and flow were disabled causing businesses and residents to experience low water pressure, and in far too many cases residents experienced having no water at all.

The historic 2021 winter storm nicknamed “SnowVid” really made its presence known. Major roads and highways closed, school districts canceled classes for the week, Covid-19 vaccinations were brought to a halt, basic essentials like food and water were scarce, and people were basically trapped in their homes ingesting a great amount of uncertainty. And now that power and water have been restored, pocketbooks and bank accounts will take another hit as business owners and citizens repair busted pipes, service vehicles, replenish food pantries, and most likely bear the burden of higher utility bills, etc. in an already bleak future.

According to reports ERCOT (The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Inc.) which operates Texas’s electrical grid and supplies power to more than 25 million Texas customers and represents 90% of the state’s electric load) says Texas was 4 minutes and 37 seconds from total blackout that could have lasted months. Undoubtedly, this storm will never be forgotten; the good, the bad and the ugly.  Kudos to all the essential workers who endured the storm to in an effort to keep us all safe, functional and informed.

Several resources are currently available to assist with recovery

The City of San Antonio, Bexar County and San Antonio Food Bank opened a total of 13 bottled water distribution sites that will remain open for two weeks. Residents will be able to pick up one case of bottled water per day per household. The sites will remain open through March 6.

Bottled Water Distribution Sites

  1. Wheatley Heights Sports Complex – 200 Noblewood Dr.
  2. Brooks – Challenger Dr. @ Research Place
  3. Texas A&M University – San Antonio – Main Campus – One University Way
  4. Port San Antonio – 907 Billy Mitchell Blvd
  5. SeaWorld San Antonio/Aquatica – 10500 Sea World Drive
  6. Six Flags Fiesta Texas – 17000 IH 10 West
  7. Food Bank – 5200 Enrique M. Barrera Pkwy  
  8. Our Lady of the Lake University — 411 SW 24th St
  9. Community Bible Church – 2477 N Loop 1604 E
  10. Heroes Stadium – 4799 Thousand Oaks Dr.
  11. Rolling Oaks Mall — 6909 N Loop 1604 E
  12. Bullis County Park – 27583 Old Blanco Rd
  13. Julius Matthey Middle School – 20350 Red Forest Ln

The locations were selected to be within the closest proximity to areas that are still facing water outages. 

The City will also provide bottled water delivery to homebound seniors, San Antonio Housing Authority properties without water, nursing homes, boarding homes, some dialysis facilities and residents with medical needs. These locations have been identified and coordinated with partner agencies. Delivery availability is limited but can be requested by calling 311.  

The sites will abide by COVID-19 safety protocols, including wearing masks and practicing physical distancing. 

For more information or to receive the latest weather information from the city of San Antonio and Bexar County.

  1. Download the Ready South Texas app, available in the iTunes and Google Play stores
  2. Text COSAGOV to 55000 to receive SMS text message updates
  3. Follow @COSAGOV on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
  4. Bookmark www.sanantonio.gov
  5. Follow other partner agencies on social media:
    1. SAPD: https://twitter.com/SATXPolice
    2. SAFD: https://twitter.com/SATXFire
    3. Bexar County:  https://www.facebook.com/BexarCountyTX
    4. TxDOT San Antonio: https://twitter.com/TxDOTSanAntonio
    5. CPS Energy: https://twitter.com/cpsenergy
    6. SAWS: https://twitter.com/MySAWS
    7. VIA Metropolitan Transit: https://twitter.com/VIA_Transit
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City of San Antonio creates text alert notification for COVID-19 vaccine availability

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Residents can text Vaccine to 55000 or Vacuna to 55000 to sign up for alerts

The City of San Antonio has partnered with some of the Bexar County vaccine distribution sites to create a vaccine availability text alert system to keep the community informed about the release of more COVID-19 vaccines. Residents who wish to receive updates about COVID-19 vaccination availability can now sign up to receive text notifications directly to their cell phone.  

As more providers and pharmacies are allocated vaccines from the Texas Department of State Health Services, the City wanted to create a tool that would alert the public when COVID-19 vaccine appointments are available. The City of San Antonio will collaborate with local vaccine sites that are open to the public and send a text notification to also reach those without internet access. Metro Health community health workers, partner agencies, and 311 will continue to sign up residents who do not have a cell phone or access to the internet.

Individuals who decide to opt-in, can text VACCINE to 55000 or in SpanishVACUNA to 55000 starting today. By signing up they will receive a text notifying them which locations have available appointments. Opting in to this text alert system will not sign you up for a vaccine or add you on to a wait list. This is an additional method to inform the community when new appointments are available.

In March 2020, the City of San Antonio had approximately 1,500 subscribers to its text message alert program. Throughout the pandemic, the service has been promoted through more avenues, including the Mayor’s nightly briefings. More than 40,000 subscribers now utilize the service to receive City news and information.

For more information please visit covid19.sanantonio.gov. 

FOUR WAYS TO SIGN UP FOR COVID-19 ALERTS

  1. Download the Ready South Texas app, available in the iTunes and Google Play stores
  2. Text COSAGOV to 55000 to receive SMS text message updates
  3. Follow @COSAGOV on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
  4. Bookmark covid19.sanantonio.gov

Public service announcements on social distancing, prevention and testing are available here.

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