a.jones_r.harris_m.louisaint_h.noel_web.jpgOPA-LOCKA — Opa-locka Mayor Myra L. Taylor had this message when she spoke at the third annual “Tribute to Our Fathers” on Friday: “Women make boys, but men make men.”

The celebration, in advance of Father’s Day on Sunday, was hosted by the city at the Municipal Complex building, 780 Fisherman St.

“We take our hats off to those who have protected and dedicated their lives to raising their children and, at times, providing for other families within the Opa-locka community,” Taylor said. “We want them to know that they mean more than just a pair of socks, a handkerchief, a tie or a bottle of cologne on Father’s Day.”

Guests included actor Lonnie Antonio Woods, who was raised on Rutland Street. He returned home to celebrate Father’s Day in his native city with Taylor.

Marcel Louisaint, 84, was celebrated as the oldest father at the event.

Ronnie King was honored as the father with the most children, nine.

“We want to express appreciation for their sacrifice, contribution, compassion, inspiration, influence, wisdom and even their disciplinary actions, which are a direct result of their year-round love and concern for the well-being of their children and this community,” the mayor said.

Prior to lunch hosted by the city as part of the celebration, Luvenia Spears, a member of the Seniors on the Move program, sang for the fathers and was followed by words of encouragement from Clarance Patterson on his last day as Opa-locka’s city manager.

Commissioner Timothy Holmes, regarded as the “father of the commission,” also spoke to the gathering.

To the tune of Precious Lord, Pastor Ranzer Thomas of New Generation Missionary Baptist Church, circled the room and placed his hand on each father and prayed for their continued strength, leadership and blessings.

Taylor said she looks forward each year to continuing the tradition of celebrating Father’s Day and showing respect to the some of the most committed fathers in the city.

“Even on a Saturday, when there is nothing to do, a man has to get-up and always be prepared to protect his house,” the mayor said  “We want to embrace the significance of our fathers on this day because fatherhood is not easy, especially when you are doing it for your children and as an outreach to others needing paternal guidance in the community.”


SENIOR DAD: Marcel Louisaint, 84, right, was celebrated as the oldest father at the city of Opa-locka’s “Tribute to Our Fathers” held on Friday at the Municipal Complex building, 780 Fisherman St. With him, from left, are Albert Jones, Robert Harris and Haguenot Noel.