So, when it came time for me to write this initial blog for FiftyFitandFine, LLC ("Fifty"), I wanted it to set the tone for the mission
for this endeavor, which is a business, but is so much more. The mission of Fifty is the essence of who we are. It is about people, about relationships and the legacy we leave behind. Because Fifty is about relationships, I want visitors and clients to the site to get to know me as a person, and in doing so, I have focused the first blog about my dad, who was the inspiration for Fifty and the second blog is about me. The third blog is a poem from Rudyard Kipling, called "If" which I think best espouses the life journey for both men and women. As the CEO of Fifty, as we go through this journey together of creating a healthier lifestyle of living, I believe it is important that our visitors and clients get to know the background and philosophy of Fifty's leadership. Hence, the first blog is about the person who has had the most impact on my life and the second blog is about myself.
Fifty has been generations in the making. I say that because each generation leaves a legacy for the next, and what legacy your children leave will be determined in part by what you give and leave to them.
As the Lord placed it in my heart, the FiftyFitandFine concept, originally was supposed
to be by men, for men, and then later expanded to include women. You may be
asking, “Why originally by men for men?” I am glad you asked.
Neither this blog nor FiftyFitandFine, LLC is intended to bash women or perpetuate a gender war. It is intended to create a platform for both men and women to celebrate our
differences and foster an environment that allows both genders to understand that both
men and women bring uniquely God-given sets of attributes to the development and
legacy of the next generation. I originally intended to start FiftyFitandFine with men in mind and then expand to women once it was well-established it for men. Then a woman said to me, "well, what about the women." So, as Fifty develops for men, it will also develop for women. Women will be the topic of the fourth blog.
Indulge me for a minute as I digress. As I mentioned, the place where I am now in my life has
been generations in the making and the process continues to grow and mature each day. I
will go back only one generation to my parents and focus mainly on my dad - my
father - my hero. Here is a brief summary of his life.
As JOHN F. MORRISON, firstname.lastname@example.org 215-854-5573, said of my dad's life;
MOST PEOPLE would take two or three lifetimes to accomplish as much as James Edwin Henry Jr. packed into one.
He was a 40-year employee of the city, starting as a lifeguard, moving on to firefighting, then as a recreation director. He also was employed over the years in various jobs by the school district and the Postal Service.
He was a builder who renovated a number of homes in the city "from shell to finish," and helped design and build a new church for Grace Tabernacle Christian in West Philadelphia.
He coached a winning swim team.
And he was an ordained minister at Grace Tabernacle Christian, where he also was a lifestyle leader of the Men's Upper Room Fellowship.
He died May 20 at the age of 75.
James was born in Philadelphia the oldest of the eight children of James E. Henry Sr. and Josephine Lee Henry. He graduated from West Philadelphia High School in 1954.
He attended Cheyney State University, but when he received a swimming scholarship, he transferred to Central State College, in Wilberforce, Ohio, where he majored in physical education and recreation. He graduated in 1956.
From 1956 to 1958, James was the coach and swim director for the Christian Street YMCA, where he developed swimmers who competed citywide.
Ironically, his team of African-American swimmers competed - and won - at a meet at Girard College in the days when blacks were not allowed to attend the school.
James was employed as the city's first African-American lifeguard from 1951 to 1956.
In 1958, he married the former Ruth Russell.
James joined the Fire Department in 1959 and served until 1961. During his brief time as a firefighter, he managed to emerge unscathed from three major fires.
He then transferred to the Department of Recreation, where he served as recreation director.
While he was renovating houses, he continued his education at Antioch University, from which he received a bachelor's degree in human services in 1983.
James was a devoted member of Grace Tabernacle Christian Church at 1509 S. 52nd St., where he studied the Bible under Pastor Benjamin Tolbert. He was ordained on June 11, 1995.
In addition to being lifestyle leader of the Men's Upper Room Fellowship, he was chairman of the Site Development Committee, for which he helped design the new church building on 52nd Street and became the general contractor in its construction.
"He was a quiet and approachable man," said his wife. "He was very peaceful."
Besides his wife, he is survived by two sons, James Edwin Henry III and Maynard Henry Sr.; two daughters, Gina Henry and Morgana Henry Labrador; a sister, Rosetta Anthony; three brothers, Leon, Paul and Kevin, and six grandchildren.
The journey continues as the legacy goes on . . .
What my dad instilled in each one of his four children—as well as many children in each community in which he worked and traveled—lives in all of us today. As it turned out,
not by coincidence [as coincidence removes the presence of God, and I am a firm
believer that nothing in life happens by chance or coincidence], attended and graduated from St. Joseph's College Preparatory School in Philadelphia, PA. The prep was fundamental to the principles that my parents gave to their children. Here is one of the guiding principles of the school:
By “men for and with others,” we incorporate into our mission statement the words of the late Superior General of the Jesuit Order, Father Pedro Arrupe, who said in 1973, “Today our prime educational objective must be to form men for others.” Fr. Arrupe’s successor, Father Peter Hans Kolvenbach, introduced the notion of “men with” as well as “for” others in order to make the point that Jesuits and those moved by Ignatian spirituality are in solidarity with those that they help and those from whom they can learn. We, therefore, encourage our students to be men for others who are also conscious of being “with” those to whom they reach out in service. At the Prep, “men for others” is a shorthand phrase that includes “being with” and serves as a motto that reminds the entire Prep community of its
purpose in education.
The above is one of the guiding principles of the school. The mission statement is not about ascribing to a particular religious faith, but it is about men taking a positive role by serving in the local and world communities in which we live. It is about, sacrifice and putting others before self. Too often men fall short of the calling God has placed before us. Women hear the call and obey the call - it is the nature of women to be nurturers. As men, we should instill and develop the next generation - both the young men and