Jamaican honored by President Bush

WASHINGTON, DC – A Jamaican, Lissette Wade, who resides in Lake Park, Florida, was among 100 African Americans honored on February 12 by President, George W. Bush, for being outstanding community and business leaders who have done significant good to enhance African American culture.

The awards were presented at a reception at the White House, where President Bush declared February 2007 as National African American history month.

In his remarks, the President pointed out that African Americans have been an integral part of America for generations and the US was stronger because of their contribution. “During African American history month, we honor the achievements of African Americans and recognize our continued responsibility to strive for equality for all our citizens,” he said.

The President emphasized that with grace and determination, African American men and women have helped to shape the nation and influence American lives.

“All Americans can be proud of all the progress we have made, yet the work for a more perfect union is not done. As we celebrate National African American history month, we reaffirm our commitment to build a society where every individual has the opportunity to achieve the promise of this great land,” President Bush added.

Mr. Wade told JIS News that he was honored, as a Jamaican, to receive this high award from the President of the United States.

After leaving Jamaica in 1979, he came to the United States and worked for McDonalds for over 20 years. He is currently the owner of nine McDonald franchises in Lake Park, Florida, where he resides.

Mr. Wade said that as a businessman and community leader, he has assisted to enhance the black culture by transforming one of his restaurants into a black history museum, where young African Americans could learn of their history. He has also assisted young at risk students and has offered a number of scholarships.

Lissette Wade (left), a Jamaican who resides in Lake Park, Florida, displays his award he received from President, George W. Bush, in Washington, Monday (February 12). He is assisted by Jamaica’s Ambassador to the US, Professor Gordon Shirley. Mr. Wade was the only Jamaican among the 100 African Americans who were awarded as business and community leaders for Black History Month at a reception at the White House. At right is Sharon Miller, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Jamaican Embassy in Washington, D.C.

At a brief ceremony at the Embassy of Jamaica in Washington, D.C. in the afternoon, Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Professor Gordon Shirley, said this was a very unique honor for a Jamaican. “It is probably the first time that a Jamaican has been acknowledged in this way by the President of the United States and it underlines the importance of the contribution that Mr. Wade has made to his community,” the Ambassador said.

“Mr. Wade, in receiving this award, surely makes Jamaicans everywhere proud to know that one of us is making such a contribution to the community in which Jamaicans reside in the United States,” he said.

The Ambassador extended congratulations to Mr. Wade, on behalf of Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, the Government and people of Jamaica.

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