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Fergie Jenkins launches stamp in St. Catharines

February 7, 2011. Posted February 8, 2011

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Fergie Jenkins, Canadian baseball hall of famer was in St. Catharines to launch his commemorative Canada Post stamp as part of activities celebrating the Black History Month.

He was at the Distinguished Speaker Series special luncheon organized by the St. Catharines – Thorold Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Brock University.

He commended the role played by parents in making sure their kids play sports. “For young kids to survive you have to do a lot of right things. You need to have a mentor or someone who can put you on the right path,” he said. Though Fergie came from a two-parent family, he acknowledged that most kids who played sports came from one-parent family.

“The one-parent family works so hard to give an opportunity to their kids to play sports.” He noted that some successful athletes always related what they had to do to get out of the ghetto and move on to better things in life after playing sports.

He said though he played baseball during a difficult era of civil rights, he was never threatened or bothered. He noted that he played while young in a very diverse community in Chatham with players from different communities like the Dutch, Japanese, Jewish and Polish.

Rick Dykstra, Member of Parliament for St. Catharines Riding and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism described Fergie Jenkins as “someone who rose to the top of his field, stayed true to his root as a Canadian and continues up to this day as a positive role model and mentor for young people.”

The office of MP Rick Dykstra, Fergie Jenkins Foundation and West Jet Airlines had all worked in the past months to make sure that Fergie Jenkins could travel nationally to launch the commemorative postage stamp.

“This is a gentleman who not only understands the importance of assisting as many youths as he possible can through his foundation but also means it and is passionate about what he believes in.” “I think it is a great honour for the City of St. Catharines and for Niagara region that he chose to put his foundation in the Niagara region,” said the parliamentarian.

The event featured a wine tasting of Fergie Jenkins’ wine – Fergie Jenkins 2009 Reisling and Fergie Jenkins 2009 Cabernet/Baco Noir. The wines are the handiwork of Rockway Glen who worked with the Fergie Jenkins Foundation since 2006 in supporting many worthy charities and organizations.

Ivan Zeleznak said the Rockway Glen Golf Course and Estate Winery had been involved in various charitable events and hosting of golf tournaments for various causes. He invited all lovers of golf and wine to visit the estate. He noted that the estate also housed an 18th century wine museum. “If you want to know how wine was made 100 years ago, we have a beautiful museum laid out,” he said.

Dr Jack Lightstone, The President and Vice Chancellor of Brock University, said the sponsor of the Distinguished Speakers Series by Brock University “is one sure way the University lives up to its vision which is to live its life firmly in two worlds and to find connections between those two worlds.”

“As an institution, one side of our brain lives in the world of academia, the international global world of learning and scholarship and discovery and research and teaching but we believe the other side of our brain has to be firmly planted in our community.”

Graduates and students of Niagara College and Brock University were recognized at the event for their contribution in staffing the foundation and helping to give back to the community.

The luncheon attracted the political class; members of the Chamber and the general public who listened to Fergie Jenkins speak of his path to success and fame through baseball.

Present were Jim Bradley, MPP St. Catharines and Minister of Community Safety and Correctional services, Brian McMullan, Mayor City of St. Catharines, Ted Luciani, Mayor of Thorold and former St. Catharines councilman Andrew Gill.

Wilma Morrison, a respectable leader of the Niagara Black community also attended the event.

Click for a photo gallery of Fergie Jenkins' stamp launch.

Story and photo by Edward Akinwunmi

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