2023 Rev. Harvey L. Riley Bridge Builder Awardee
Jennifer East is the creative director for bUneke.org, a global 501(c)3 charity, and works with several organizations in Brevard and Central Florida.
She directed a documentary titled Moving History, an insightful account of black history in Melbourne, Florida, following the restoration and tradition behind the first black church in Crane Creek. Through the narratives of lifelong residents, powerful stories unfold and a glimpse of a tightly-knit, resilient community comes to light.
Jennifer is a noted visionary, proficient in conceptual design, full-scale design, graphic design, illustration, photography, videography, web design, and social media promotions, and has worked with a multitude of clients.
2023 Dr. Julius Montgomery Pioneer Awardee
Alberta Wilson served as the Cocoa Rockledge Civic League president for over 10 years and established the Marian Davis Scholarship Fund. She also served as the president of the Central Brevard County Branch of the NAACP for nine years.
The late Governor Lawton Childs and Jeb Bush appointed her to the State Board of Community Colleges and served on the Brevard Community College Board of Trustees for another four years.
Alberta is a Diamond Life member of the NAACP, a Delta Sigma Theta Sorority life member, and a Doctor of Divinity degree recipient.
Previous Julius Montgomery Award Recipients
Julius Montgomery was the first African American student to sign up for classes at the newly conceived Brevard Engineering College (Florida Tech) in the summer of 1958. The new college was using classroom space provided by the local school district. A few days before the first day of class on September 22, 1958, officials at the Brevard County School District learned that an African American was enrolled and immediately issued an ultimatum to President Jerry Keuper. They warned if Mr. Montgomery and any other aspirant African American students were allowed to attend class, the school district would prohibit the use of classroom space at Eau Gallie Junior High School. Rescinding the use of school district facilities to hold classes would have effectively been the college's death knell.
When Julius became aware of the ultimatum, he voluntarily withdrew his application—and his sacrifice saved the founding of our university. President Keuper promised Mr. Montgomery that there would be a place for him at the university once Florida Tech secured its own campus and wasn't constricted by another entity's limited views. In 1961, soon after Florida Tech received the property on Country Club Road (now part of the current campus), Julius enrolled in classes.
On January 13, 2020, Julius was awarded an honorary doctorate by Florida Tech President Dwayne McCay in recognition of his legacy at Florida Tech.
Dr. Montgomery died on January 22, 2020 at a nursing home in Melbourne, Florida, just days after Florida Tech awarded him an honorary doctorate of humane letters. He was 90. Read his obituary written by the New York Times.
Reverend Carol Williams Glanton was a longtime civil rights activist and served as the pastor of Triumph the Church and Kingdom of God in Christ in Melbourne and Titusville. She died in August 2009 at age 71.
Weona Cleveland was born in 1925, and as a child, she lived in the small country town of Moreland, Georgia. After moving to Brevard in 1961, she started working as a journalist for the Melbourne Times weekly newspaper and FLORIDA TODAY during the early 1970s.
After retiring in 1987, she continued to write her popular FLORIDA TODAY "Spotlight on History" column for the next 20 years. She also conducted historical walking tours in downtown Melbourne and Eau Gallie.
Cleveland also wrote articles for the Indian River Journal, a periodical published by the Brevard County Historical Commission. Her photo collection is preserved in the historical commission's archives.
In May 2006, the Brevard County Commission unanimously appointed Cleveland as an honorary county historian.
Then in January 2009, Cleveland received the Julius Montgomery Pioneer Award from the Florida Institute of Technology in honor of her work documenting Black history in Brevard.
The retired Melbourne Times and FLORIDA TODAY reporter and columnist chronicled Space Coast history in newspaper pages for decades.
Hundreds of historical topics abounded in Cleveland's "Spotlight on History" columns. She specialized in stories detailing South Brevard's post-Civil War settlement when newcomers arrived in oxcarts, boats, mule-drawn wagons, tin lizzies, and Henry Flagler's railroad to carve communities out of the surrounding wilds.
Cleveland passed away peacefully in October 2022 in Melbourne, Florida at the age of 97
Reverend Henry Jackson, Sr. graduated from Melbourne Vocational High School. He also attended Brevard Community College and graduated from Central Florida School of Religion. Prior to retiring, Rev. Jackson pastored four churches throughout the South Florida Conference of the A.M.E. Church. He was presented with a degree of Honorary Doctorate of Religious Philosophy in Theology. Rev. Jackson was an honorably discharged Veteran, retired Civil Service at Patrick AFB, and was a Real Estate Broker, owning Jackson Real Estate before entering the Ministry. Rev. Jackson went home to be with the Lord on Friday, May 8, 2009.
Reverend Dr. Harvey L. Riley was pastor of the 600-family Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in Palm Bay for 30 years and a minister for five decades who gave his first sermon in Greater St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in Cocoa where his father was a deacon. He also worked with businessmen, politicians, civil rights leaders, and other pastors from across the nation.
Dr. Riley passed away after battling a long illness in November 2012 at the age of 77 in Grant, Florida.
Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Eugene C. Johnson, a Melbourne, Florida native, graduated from Melbourne Vocational High School in 1950. In 1951, dissatisfied with his freshman year at Florida A&M University, he enlisted in the Air Force at the suggestion of friends.
The Air Force took him around the world and brought him back to Patrick Air Force Base in 1971. The family moved to Satellite Beach, where Eugene and his wife, Ionia, would raise their two children, Reginald and Regina. Ionia passed away in 2019, but Johnson remains in his well-loved family home.
After 31 years, Johnson retired from the Air Force, but that did not mean he left Patrick and his job with the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute.
He served as a trainer, facilitator, curriculum coordinator, and deputy director of academics before fully retiring in 1997, just in time for Gov. Lawton Chiles to appoint him to the board of Brevard Community College, now Eastern Florida State College. Gov. Jeb Bush re-appointed Johnson to the job in 1999.
For 21 years, he was the veteran coordinator for Piper-Gardner American Legion Post 191 in Melbourne and for 20 years he was in a similar role with the South Brevard Branch of the NAACP. As a lifelong Mason, he served the organization faithfully in top positions and is a pillar of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Melbourne. In 2011, Florida Tech awarded him the Julius C. Montgomery Award for his exceptional service to the community.
Valene Croskey, who began a teaching career as a science instructor at Stone High School in 1958, was assistant principal at Melbourne High School, principal at DeLaura Junior High and Central Junior High, assistant to the superintendent, and director of student services for the Brevard School District. He retired in 2000.
A member of Greater Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church for 50 years, Croskey serves as financial secretary, steward, and choir member; he is one of the Sons of Allen, a class leader, and provides orientation classes for new members. He is also director of lay activities for the Daytona Beach District Lay Organization, treasurer of the Central Conference Lay Organization, and serves on the Commission on Schools and Higher Education for the 11th Episcopal District.
Croskey is a life member of the NAACP. He is also on the audit committee of Florida’s Technological Research and Development Authority (TRDA); a consultant for the Florida Association of District School Superintendents and director of the U. F. Gibbs Memorial Scholarship Fund.
He is married to Melvina and the father of two children, Carol and Terrance (deceased).
Dr. Barbara Moore was presented with the 8th Julius Montgomery Pioneer Award in 2013 in recognition of her efforts toward disadvantaged youths and her time as an instructor and counselor for several institutions.
Richard "Dick" Blake, one of 10 children and the grandson of freed slaves, was known for his community involvement in everything from youth sports to the time he was a coach at Monroe High School, then Cocoa’s Black High School.
Tall and athletic, Blake played both basketball and football at the school in the 1940s. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Claflin University in South Carolina and master’s degrees from Columbia University in New York and Florida A&M University in Tallahassee.
He returned to Brevard in 1955 to coach football and teach. Later in 1966, as the nation struggled through school desegregation, Blake was named as an assistant coach at what would become Rockledge High. He became Brevard’s first African-American principal - after desegregation- when he was named principal at Cocoa High School in 1979. He continued to mentor students, teachers, and others before running for political office in Rockledge.
Blake, whose son Mike Blake is now mayor of Cocoa, was principal at Cocoa High for 23 years and served on Rockledge City Council from 1976 until 2016.
For decades, Blake remained a larger-than-life figure who touched countless lives along the Space Coast through his work as a coach and his activism in civil rights, education, and politics.
A native of Cocoa resident, Dr. Joe Lee Smith graduated from Cocoa’s Monroe High School. He earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in education from Florida A&M University in Tallahassee. He then obtained the rank of 1-A Educational Specialist, as well as his doctoral degree in educational administration and supervision in higher education, from the University of Florida in Gainesville.
Smith has been a member of various civic and nonprofit organizations.
He was a founder of the Central Brevard Recreation Association. He has served on boards of directors of the United Way of Brevard County, First Union/Wachovia National Bank, the Salvation Army, Circles of Care, Rolling Readers, and the Boys and Girls Club.
Among the awards he received are the Brevard Community College Distinguished Service Award; the Humanitarian Award from Onyx magazine; and the United Third Bridge Puerto Rican Taino Award for his work to advance the Hispanic community in Brevard County. He also was inducted into the Brevard County Space Coast Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame and received the 2013 South Brevard NAACP Lifetime Achievement/Living Legend Award.
Smith has been inducted into the Florida A&M University’s Sports Hall of Fame as a baseball player, as well as into the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame for his achievements in sports development.
Smith, an educator, has served as provost of all four campuses of Eastern Florida State College (formerly known as Brevard Community College). During his career, Smith also has worked as a classroom teacher, coach, assistant principal, and dean.
In 2000, Smith retired from Brevard Community College as campus president emeritus. He later was recruited out of retirement to serve as provost of the Palm Bay campus. In 2017, Smith retired as BCC’s college ambassador.
He has several facilities named in his honor, including the Joe Lee Smith Recreation Center, formerly known as the Magnolia Street Park, in Cocoa. In 2012, the Dr. Joe Lee Smith Teaching Center was launched on the Melbourne campus of then-BCC. In 2015, Rockledge dedicated a portion of Edwards Drive as Dr. Joe Lee Smith Drive in recognition of his leadership in the community.
Reverend Nathaniel L. Harris is the CEO/Chairman of the Macedonia Education Technology and Career Academy (METCA) program and is acclaimed for his community outreach programs and projects throughout South Brevard County. The Ministry of Macedonia Community Development Corporation, Inc. founded METCA in 2015 to provide an opportunity for the community’s low-income to achieve workforce stability through scholarship funding within demand careers such as manufacturing, healthcare, and information technology. METCA supports three training programs that operate out of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church. They are: the Elderly Compassionate Care program; Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Explorers program, and the College Prep Soarers program. Some of the professional training programs offered through the METCA and the Elderly Compassionate Care program include Certified Production Technician (CPT), J-Standard-001 (Soldering), License Practical Nursing (LPN), Patient Care Assistant (PCA), Certified Nurse Assistance (CNA), and Home Health Aide (HHA).
Prior to achieving the pastoral leadership of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, Pastor Harris served four years in the United States Air Force. After his honorable discharge, he transitioned to Howard University in Washington, DC where he majored in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting. After his graduation from Howard University in 1974, Pastor Harris worked for many years as a civil servant with the United States Government. He served in several accounting capacities such as the Interstate Commerce Commission in Washington D.C. and Nashville, Tennessee; the Defense Contract Audit Agency where he maintained offices at MacDonnell Douglas Aeronautics, Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral AFS, Patrick AFB, Harris Corporation, and Northrop Grumman; and he was a Senior Auditor until his retirement in 1999.
Pastor Harris has served as the Senior Pastor of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Melbourne, Florida, for the past 26 years. During Pastor Harris’ tenure, he has made several church improvements, including computerizing Macedonia’s financial accounting and bookkeeping systems, upgrading the church’s audio-visual system, implementing a smart classroom for student education and workshops, as well as other projects that are growing the church’s community. Under Pastor Harris’ current tenure, several church ministries have emerged and expanded including Married Couples, Drama, Evangelism, Nursing, Women’s, Veterans Affairs, Audio-Visual, and Publications ministries.
Macedonia’s continued growth prompted Pastor Harris to engage in capital improvement projects, including the construction of the Rev. John W. Taylor Family Life Center which consists of Sunday school classrooms and a banquet hall that nourishes the church and the community. As part of his vision to serve the community, Pastor Harris spearheaded the founding of the Macedonia Community Development Corporation (MCDC) to provide affordable housing within the vicinity of the church.
Rhonda E. Babb is a county judge of the Brevard County Court in Florida. She was appointed to this position in 2002 by former Governor Jeb Bush.
Babb received her B.A. in Spanish from Wellesley in 1979 and her J.D. from Brooklyn Law School in 1984.
Babb went into private practice after graduating from law school. Next, she worked as an administrative law judge for the City of New York Environmental Control Board. She moved to Florida in 1994, where she became a litigator for Central Florida Legal Services.
Moses Harvin is president, chief executive officer, and co-founder of American Services Technology, a defense contractor that offers services from logistic management to facilities support.
A graduate of Claflin University and Webster University, Harvin had a distinguished career in the U.S. Army, achieving the rank of major and serving as a decorated Gulf War veteran. He received the Bronze Star as well as other honors.
He is a past chairman and current member of the EFSC Board of Trustees, where he has played a key role in transforming the college since 2012 with more than 60 new programs, including Bachelor Degrees, and new facilities and services to help students succeed.
Harvin is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Claflin University and was the first African-American to be elected chairman of the board at the Cocoa Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.
He has won numerous awards, including Veteran Small Business of the Year in Florida, Florida Minority Supplier Development Council Small Business of the Year, and the United Way Bridge Builder Award. He was also named Citizen of the Year at Florida Today’s Volunteer Recognition Awards.
A native of Melbourne, Bruce Buggs is the founder and proprietor of Buggs Funeral Home and serves as one of the licensed funeral directors and embalmers there. He has operated the company for 31 years with his wife and two daughters and is currently serving as president of the Independent Funeral Directors of Florida. Mr. Buggs, who received the Exceptional Citizen Award from Space Coast Public Service in 2020, is making important community contributions outside of his business, as well.
He has donated time, labor, materials, and funds to the restoration and maintenance of several community establishments, including Full Gospel Deliverance Church, In Season Ministries, South Brevard Ministerial Alliance, Grant Street Community Cemetery, as well as several other historical cemeteries. An ordained deacon and licensed minister, he is a member of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church.
Previous Harvey L. Riley Bridge Builder Award Recipients
Alan Prestwood is senior vice president of investments at Wells Fargo Advisors in Melbourne and has served as a financial advisor since 1989. He earned a bachelor’s degree in management science and an MBA from Florida Tech, where he later served as vice president and then president of the Florida Tech Alumni Association. In 2014, Prestwood was recognized with the Outstanding Alumni Award for the Nathan Bisk College of Business.
A Melbourne resident, Prestwood’s community involvement also includes serving as vice president of Hosts of Brevard and on the boards of Health First, Brevard Neighborhood Development Coalition, and the Evans Center. He was a former board member of the Brevard Cultural Alliance and Master’s Workshop.
When Florida Tech recently awarded Lynn Brockwell-Carey the Reverend Harvey L. Riley Bridge Builder Award for community activism and improvement, it was a kudos well deserved for the executive director of the Brevard Neighborhood Development Coalition (BNDC).
Brockwell-Carey's faith-based nonprofit has been instrumental in turning the tide of the Booker T. Washington neighborhood in Melbourne, one of South Brevard's poorest communities and an area once plagued by drugs and crime.
BNDC operates the Dorcas Outreach Center for Kids (DOCK) drop-in center for the neighborhood kids and also runs Greater Heights, an affordable apartment community across from the DOCK.
Pastor Glenn B. Dames, Jr. has worked diligently as a humble servant, preaching the Gospel and leading God’s people for over 25 years.
Coupled with the support of his wife, Jennifer, Pastor Dames began his spiritual journey as a young boy and has since presided over a number of prestigious congregations. At the early age of 12, he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior, and at 15 he responded to his calling to preach the Gospel. Since then, Pastor Dames has served the church as Youth Pastor of the Historic St. James A.M.E. Church in Orange Park, Florida, Third Street Bethel A.M.E. Church in Richmond, Virginia, Brown Memorial A.M.E. Church in Washington, D.C., and in his first full-time charge, he served as Senior Pastor of the Mt. Pisgah A.M.E. Church in Starke, FL for over five years. Following his service at Mt. Pisgah, Pastor Dames led the people of St. James AME Church, Titusville, FL for 10 years. In November 2016, Bishop Adam J. Richardson appointed Rev. Dames to serve as the senior pastor of Allen Temple AME Church in Tampa Bay, the flagship church of the West Coast Conference.
A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Rev. Dames is a graduate of Edward Waters College in Jacksonville and The Turner Theological Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in Atlanta, Georgia where he earned the Master of Divinity. Rev. Dames also earned the Doctorate of Ministry at the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.
Humility, compassion, and integrity best describe the ministry of Pastor Dames. Experiencing tremendous growth throughout his career, Pastor Dames has been responsible for initiating after-school tutorial programs, remodeling and redesigning the church buildings, and expanding the church’s witness through web technology, billboards, and other media.
Pastor Dames’ ministry extends beyond the four walls of the church and into the community. Known affectionately as the Community’s Pastor, Pastor Dames is active and visible in our schools, hospitals, jails, homes, and all facets of city and county government. He is a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, a participant of Save African American Boys, a member of the Sons of Allen of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and the former North Brevard Branch NAACP President. Highlighting his commitment to social advocacy, his fight against injustice, and his love for education, he has been featured in USA Today, Florida Today, Democracy Now, Space Coast Living Magazine, and many other publications. Pastor Dames was also one of the recipients of the 2015 LEAD Brevard’s “4 under 40” awards, the Florida Institute of Technology (F.I.T.) Rev. Harvey L. Riley, Bridge Builders award, and the Florida Education Association (FEA) Martin Luther King, Jr. award for Civil Rights.
Although Reverend Dames is very proud of all his achievements and involvements, he is mostly proud to be a loving husband to Dr. Jennifer Dames and father to two beautiful girls, Detra and Jailynn Dames, and son, Glenn B. Dames, III (Trey).
Dr. Michael A. Cadore Sr. has proudly served his community for over three decades through education, public safety, civic engagement, and mentoring. He currently serves as the Executive Director of Community Engagement for External Affairs at Eastern Florida State College.
Dr. Cadore’s background in professional football helped instill the value of teamwork, dedication, and focus. His journey began at Eastern Kentucky University, where he received national recognition as a record-setting kick returner. Dr. Cadore continued his football career in the National Football League when the New Orleans Saints drafted him. He finished his professional football career in Montreal, Canada. His athletic excellence led him to be inducted into the 2014 Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame and the 2020 Eastern Kentucky University Athletics Hall of Fame.
Seeking a way to give back to the community, Dr. Cadore became a law enforcement officer, where he served the City of Rockledge until his retirement in 2019. He now serves as a Rockledge city councilman. As founder and President of Magnus Solutions Incorporated, he continues to support the community through consulting, mentoring, community service opportunities, inspirational messaging, and workshops on leadership and business. His community efforts led to him receiving the distinguished alumni award for 2021 from Eastern Florida State College and the 2022 Distinguished Service Award from Eastern Kentucky University.
Throughout all his endeavors, Dr. Cadore prioritizes faith and family. He has been happily married to his high school sweetheart, Cornelia Cadore, for 31 years, and they have three children. He strives to live by the motto, “If you don’t serve your community now, don’t expect your community to serve you later.”
Kendall T. Moore is a native of Brevard County, Florida. He was educated in the Brevard County School System and continued his education at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban Studies (Concentration – Urban and Regional Planning) and at the University of Florida where he received a law degree. After serving in several capacities for the Lockheed Martin Corporation in Washington, DC, and Miami, Florida, Mr. Moore returned to Brevard County. Mr. Moore is also the principal of Space Coast Strategy, Inc., a governmental relations and political consulting firm. The firm handles local government matters across Central Florida as well as represents clients in Tallahassee before the legislative and executive branches. In November of 2000, he was elected to the Rockledge City Council. He was re-elected without opposition in November of 2003 and served as the Council’s Chairman and City’s Vice Mayor in 2004. With all other constraints on his time, Mr. Moore still manages to dedicate time to various religious, civic, and social causes in the local community.
Impassioned community leader, ecclesiastical visionary, and trusted friend, Pastor Jarvis Wash is the founder and senior Pastor of The R.E.A.L. Church, Inc., which stands for Reaching, Equipping, Affecting Lives for Christ. He is married to First Lady Elois Wash who supports him in ministry.
Wash was born November 17, 1977, in Oakland, CA. He used the adverse urban experiences of Oakland to renegotiate his purpose and propel his career to one based on serving and giving back to those in disadvantaged communities. His current desire is to not only win souls to Christ but to simultaneously assist others with positive personal growth and empowerment such as identifying job opportunities and resources, as well as continuing education.
He has become an esteemed and insightful preacher and teacher of The Gospel of Jesus Christ. He is a visionary and results-driven leader with a proven track record for promoting organizational growth and establishing partnerships with cohesiveness. His personal philosophy is “mission brings on maintenance.”
He is noted for his effectiveness in outreach. Not only do his immediate parishioners gravitate towards him, but the community does as well. It is often stated that Wash not only pastors The R.E.A.L. Church, but he pastors the community as well. Since his tenure in Cocoa, FL, he has and continues to act as a quarterback, thereby leading and coaching a series of outreach initiatives heavily involved in crime prevention. Wash has a strong passion for protecting families, reducing crime, and supporting at-risked youth. Wash’s approach to community engagement has netted him a reputation for being ever-vigilant.
A native of St. Kitts in the West Indies, Pastor Janna Hogan is the founding pastor of Jesus is the Key Church in Melbourne and has spent the last 30 years working with – and uplifting – the Brevard County religious community.
The driving force behind the Christian Christmas Process, often known as the Bible on Parade, Forschino in 1990 began calling on church and ministry leaders to come into the unity of their common faith and to no longer be divided by denominational, racial, and gender differences.
Her passion and vision hit a milestone nearly 30 years later when 51 churches and ministries came together in 2019 for the 30th Annual Bible on Parade. Similar gatherings have now debuted in Tennessee and the Bahamas.
A senior supervisor for the City of Melbourne before retiring in 2009 after 32 years, Dorothy Linson – known as Ms. Dot – has for decades been an untiring force for good on the Space Coast.
In 1989, she co-founded Club Esteem with her friend Gladys William to teach children in the community how to be upstanding citizens, the importance of getting a good education, having respect for oneself and others and serving the community, and how to have confidence in their abilities. Her support provided assistance with tutoring, clothing, and food.
She may be better known for hosting an annual Thanksgiving community luncheon for seniors and their families at the Lipscomb Community Center in Melbourne. For the past 20 years, Ms. Linson has provided the funding for the meals, with some assistance from her children and the occasional donation.
Among her other work in the community, Linson started a senior citizen group that has made Christmas stockings, pillows, and quilts for members of the armed services and community nursing homes. She also teaches an introductory sewing class for children and a nutrition class to teach them how to prepare meals for their families.