Washington D.C.- On November 11, 2017, the District of Columbia, Chapters Achievement Week program was held at the La Fontaine Bleue, Koran Ballroom. The ballroom was filled with brothers from the various chapters, family , friends and honored guest. The highlight of the afternoon was listening to the powerful life journey of the Alpha Omega Chapter's Citizen of the Year, Mr. Cortez McDaniel. Here is his story:
Mr. Cortez McDaniel was born in Radford, Va. Attended Christiansburg High School where he starred in football. While he was recruited to play football at Va. Tech University, he sustained a major hip injury that ended his playing career. He did attend Va. Tech University for one year and went on to attend Roanoke College for two years.After leaving college, Mr. McDaniel lost his way and his life took turn to the dark side. He came to the DC area and was deep into the drug world. These life choices placed Mr. McDaniel under incarceration, which ultimately lasted for 18 years. It was while in prison in Aston, Kentucky that Mr. McDaniel continued his studies, and ultimately obtained his degree. He did so through a program offered by the Univ. of Kentucky. After moving around the system, McDaniel realized that he had to change.
It was while in prison in Petersburg, Virginia, through much self-assessment, that he wrote the Recidivism Prevention Workbook. This changed his life. His case worker pitched this book to the Warden, who agreed that SHE should teach it. She made clear that it was the work of Mr. McDaniel and insisted that HE should teach it! The warden finally agreed, and Mr. McDaniel began teaching this course to the inmates.The class was such a success that Mr. McDaniel over 350 guys a year for about 3 years, so in total over 1,000 guys were taught and benefited from this course. The course actually became a requirement for guys to get paroled.Once Mr. McDaniel himself was released, he came back to DC and found himself homeless. Given that Mr. McDaniel did not have the services he thought he needed to get back into society and become a productive citizen, he became the founder of the National Homecomers Academy in 2006. The Academy focused on helping ex-cons perform introspection with a goal of integrating back into society. He then worked at a center off of Benning Rd in SE DC called the "Make a Difference House", which opened in 2008. He managed this program for 2 yrs.While working here, it was a woman by the name of Sister Sarah Joseph who asked for someone to come speak at Father McKenna Center (FMC) in February of 2009. Once he spoke at the FMC, the then Director of the Center hired him on the spot to manage the Hypothermia Program. This program houses about 20 men during the hypothermia season that runs from November thru April. This program, largely because of the efforts of Mr. Cortez, has about a 70% success rate in terms of matriculating men back into productive citizens.
Mr. McDaniel continues to teach his Recidivism Prevention Workshop 4 times a year. This class consists of six 90 minute lessons. The participants receive a certificate of completion if they attend every class. Roughly 200 men have completed this course through the FMC.He currently serves as Director of Services at FMC. His current duties include managing the Kitchen staff, managing the Janitor staff, managing 2 Staff assistants, managing the clothing closet as well as overseeing daily operations of the FMC. Mr. McDaniel is also the primary Case Manager for the FMC, which requires him to have individual consultations with the clients (homeless men) and to maintain files for these clients (on average of 15 men a day).
Prior to his time at the FMC, Mr. McDaniel worked for Second Genesis Inc. as Certified Addictions Counselor. Mr. McDaniel has also served as a Community Change Agent for the Phelps-Stokes National Homecomers Academy and is co-founder of The DC Peace Team. Mr. McDaniel is a certified Instructor of Violence Reduction and Conflict Resolution and has been happily married for 20 years.
The Washington DC Chapters esteemed awardees are as follows:
ESSAY CONTEST PRESENTATION: MS. TAYLOR L. JOHNSON- SENIOR, EDMUND BURKE HIGH SCHOOL
CITIZEN OF THE YEAR: MR. CORTEZ MCDANIEL- DIRECTOR OF MEN’S PROGRAM & SERVICES, THE FATHER MCKENNA CENTER
CITIZEN OF THE YEAR: MR. RAHMAN BANCH- EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DC OFFICE OF AFRICAN AMERICAN AFFAIRS
COLONEL CHARLES YOUNG MILITARY LEADERSHIP AWARD
KAPPA PSI CHAPTER- BRO. CHUKWUDI URAIH
SUPERIOR SERVICE AWARD
ALPHA CHAPTER- BRO. JALEEL J. BROWN
OMICRON GAMMA CHAPTER- BRO. LAQUINTE HILL
KAPPA PSI CHAPTER- BRO. JAVIN RUDOLPH III
ALPHA OMEGA CHAPTER- BRO. CHER’ DELRAY BROWN
FOUNDERS LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
KAPPA PSI CHAPTER- BRO. ANTHONY B. BURLEY
ALPHA OMEGA CHAPTER- BRO. KENNETH A. BROWN
OMEGA MAN OF THE YEAR AWARD
ALPHA CHAPTER- BRO. JALEEL J. BROWN
OMICRON GAMMA CHAPTER- BRO. TERRENCE PROTER, JR.
KAPPA PSI CHAPTER- BRO. GLEN B. YONKERS, JR.
ALPHA OMEGA CHAPTER- BRO. DONALD G. LUCAS
The men of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated are proud to acknowledge Mr. Cortez McDaniel a shinning example to the very people he now serves at the Father McKenna Center in Washington D.C,. Congratulations to all the winners and to our Fraternity's impact on the Community we Serve!
Article prepared by:
Bro. C. Delray Brown
Alpha Omega Chapter Reporter
"Ques In Action News"