BY BETH DEDMAN
The MTA New York City Transit’s Veteran Employee Resource Group honored the Tuskegee Airmen with a tribute at the Tuskegee Airmen Bus Depot in Harlem on Feb. 14, marking the group’s first Black History Month event.
The bus depot, originally the 100th Street Bus Depot, was renamed in 2012 to honor the 332nd Fighter Group, a African American pilots who served in World War II.
After the war, 12 Tuskegee veterans moved to Harlem and worked in the NYC Transit System. Their pictures proudly hang on the Wall of Fame in the depot’s lobby.
The honorees included Reginald T. Brewster, Victor A. Collymore, Conrad A. DeSandies, Harry R. Dickenson, John R. Freeman, Noel R. Harris, Oscar W. Hawkins, Austin D. McKenzie, Maury M. Reid, Jr., Percy E. Sutton, Victor W. Terrelonge, Fred O. Wilson
“We are thrilled to honor this legendary group of national heroes, our depot namesake, for our first Black History Month event,” said Manolin Tirado, Chairperson of the NYC Transit Veterans Employee Resource Group. “African American veterans and Transit employees have made critical, selfless contributions to protecting Americans and helping to move New York City, which makes today’s ceremony particularly special.”
The guest speakers of the event included former Rep. Charles B. Rangel, a resident of Harlem and Korean War veteran; MTA Chief Diversity Officer Michael Garner; and Patt Terrelonge, daughter of Tuskegee Airman and NYC Transit employee Victor Terrelonge. She also serves as the Vice President of the Tri-State Tuskegee Airmen Chapter.
The event also coincided with the one-year anniversary of the NYC Transit’s Veterans Employee Resource Group. The group is one of nine affinity groups within NYC Transit’s Diversity Council, and increased their membership from its founding eight to 151 members within a year.
The group participates in monthly outreach events geared towards veterans. Its mission is to empower employee veterans through career development, promote more veterans within the MTA and inform the community of the historical and multicultural impact that military veterans have had on society through their proud service.