“Legacy is not leaving something for people it is leaving something in people” (Author Unknown).
Vision! Commitment! Excellence!
How do you pay tribute to a man who gave you what he promised?
Alfred E. Mitchell, Jr. is a picture of physical strength, vision, commitment, and excellence as he leaps across the tennis court – all 6 ft plus of him. Power is unleashed as he takes the ball from his pocket, raises it high in service, then striking it across the court. His keen eye watches to see whether or not his opponent will strike it and send it back across the court. As his opponent’s racket connects with the ball, Alfred, Jr. judges the arch of the return and stretches his length to return what has been played on the court.
The love of tennis came from our father, Alfred E. Mitchell, Snr. The lessons of the game, he developed by living in his house. Physical strength not only gave you stamina for the day’s work, but it was cultivated by regular training. Vision for work and the occupation of our hands meant that no one would remain idle or wasteful and succeed.
The commitment to that vision of work and family resulted in the partnership of the house-band of 37 years that he shared with his wife, Marcia, kept the family always focused on what was ahead, never looking back.
The pursuit of excellence ensured that his victories were shared with all his communities near and far – our neighbours, business league sports clubs, the Melbourne Cricket Club, and the Kiwanis Club of North St. Andrew. Alfred, Snr.’s personal standard of excellence was consistently expressed by his grooming, his work ethic, his expectation that those who had been given more should do more.
Today, this legacy continues in vision, commitment, and the pursuit of excellence by his only son, Alfred Jr. It has been said that, “The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith” (Author Unknown). So, as we celebrate Alfred, Jnr.’s birthday today, St. Patrick’s Day, we know this to be true.
Alfred E. Mitchell, Jnr. is celebrated by his company, Duke Energy, as a leader in the organization, always setting the bar higher and expecting more of himself and his team. He is recognized as a critical member of their corporate social responsibility programs, always on hand to lift the supplies or to simply serve a meal, showing love to those who depend on the company’s benevolence to survive.
In his Fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi, he is celebrated by his brothers as a role model for the students that they mentor and support to achieve more.
His house-band has allowed his wife (April) and family to survive the challenges of imperfect people and failed relationships to enjoy a legacy of marriage, scholarship, hard work, and the hope of the next generation.
As his family in Jamaica, we know that Alfred, Jnr.’s vision, commitment, and pursuit of excellence are paying huge dividends for everyone connected to him. He has never forgotten his Jamaican roots, celebrating them always in family, friendships, music, food, and fun. Only when one knows where one has come from can one know where one is going.
For Alfred, Jr., life beats to the tune of one heart, one soul, and one legacy. If you get close enough you may hear Josh Groban singing along with us the familiar lines below:
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be (Graham & Løvland, 2001).
For more of the Mitchell Legacy, and why we are celebrating Alfred, Jr.’s birthday today, go to Lulu Press and get a copy of Dear Little Sister, … for all the girls that you want to see reach up and grab a hold of destiny. Remember, Dear Little Brother, … is just around the bend.