TRENTON, N.J. -Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes and members of the Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders hosted a celebration of Black History Month today to honor four local residents.
Hughes and the Freeholders presented awards to Greg Grant of Hamilton, Eleanor Horne of Lawrence, Fred Minus of Trenton, and Quincy Hendryx Sr. of Hamilton, all of whom have made significant contributions toward improving the quality of life in Mercer County.
"I could talk at length about the many contributions of African-Americans in Mercer County, from the arts to business to politics," Hughes said. "But history is written by individuals, and these four honorees have been an inspiration with their constant efforts to improve our collective future."
Eleanor Horne is vice president of the non-profit Educational Testing Service (ETS) Social Investment Fund, a fund that is responsible for seeking and obtaining grants to fund projects consistent with the ETS mission. Because of her leadership over three decades, ETS has established projects that improve access to educational opportunities to all students, and Horne has cultivated relationships with the National Urban League, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. Horne also volunteers on numerous boards and organizations.
"This is a celebration not of our past but of our future," Horne told the afternoon audience of about 65 people at the County's McDade Administration Building in Trenton. "The most important thing is to use what we know of our history to make a better tomorrow."
Greg Grant is perhaps the area's best known athlete, having played seven seasons as a professional basketball player in the NBA after setting numerous collegiate records as a star player at what was then Trenton State College. Grant now operates Greg Grant 94 Feet Inc., a basketball academy that also teaches youth how to perform well in school and to cultivate respect for others.
"This County has always been so great to me, and as long as I'm breathing, I'm going to give back what I can," Grant said.
The County also honored "self-made historian" Fredric L. Minus. Minus, an Army veteran, traced his family's own history back to discover he had two great-great-grandfathers who served in the Civil War. Minus, already a history buff, transformed himself into a well-respected local historian and Civil and Revolutionary War re-enactor. He works at the Old Barracks Museum in downtown Trenton and is the founder of the Civil War re-enactment group the 6th United States Colored Troops.
"There were 5,000 black soldiers who fought valiantly for independence in the American Revolution," Minus said, "and today we stand on their backs."
Quincy Hendryx Sr., who was born and raised in Hamilton, was the final honoree Wednesday.
Hendryx, the Community Policing Officer for the Hamilton Township Police Department, quickly rose through the ranks of his department after first serving as a Mercer County Correction Officer. He has served as the Community Policing Officer for the past seven years and spends the majority of his free time giving back to his community through volunteering in youth sports, working at Hamilton's Bromley Civic Center, and organizing donation drives for the needy around the holidays.
Hendryx thanked his parents for the strong foundation they set for his life and said he enjoyed maintaining an active relationship with the residents of Hamilton through his work.
Each honoree accepted a joint proclamation from the County Executive and Freeholders Pat Colavita Jr., Elizabeth Maher Muoio, Ann Cannon and Keith V. Hamilton.