IN MEMORY OF
What if I told you heroes aren’t born, they’re made. Made from humble beginnings, hard work, tutelage and determination.
On August 29, 1938 in Laurinburg, North Carolina, a child was fashioned on this sturdy base. The ninth of ten children, Philmore Graham entered this world with work to do. His obligation to himself and his family was to channel the contempt of his surroundings into something that would transform his destiny from one of acceptance, to one of duty. This directive of duty set in motion the task of not simply being better and elevating his family into a more suitable situation it went further. Philmore’s summons was to be the best. Period.
Surpassing the desire of his peers and community, he lead by example as class president from eighth grade to high school, culminating with a straight ‘A’ average. Memories of hard work in the fields and factories of Laurinburg manifested as a thirst for knowledge in the disciplines of mechanical and metallurgical engineering.
In his pursuit, Philmore claimed the halls of Tennessee State, UCLA and UC Berkley as his training grounds for his profession and the four principals of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity; Manhood, Scholarship, Uplift and Perseverance for his lifework.
In scientific or engineering terms, the makings of a hero have now been cultivated and constructed.
JaMella and Philmore were joined in matrimony on June 11, 1966 in Orangeburg, S.C. The two traveled to Vallejo, California where Philmore started a career in Nuclear Engineering at Mare Island Naval Shipyard and JaMella was employed as a, Contract Administrator for the Solano County Health and Social Services. Soon after their arrival, Philmore started the Continentals of Omega Boys and Girls Club; offering tutoring, trips, sports, hot meals and positive nurturing to the youth in the community. JaMella served as a surrogate mother to the children. JaMella, a true supporter of her husband, spent many hours tutoring children both at the clubhouse and at their home. Many Vallejoans, young and old remember the treats JaMella made for them the shoulder she and Philmore lent for them to cry on, or their always available listening ear.
Philmore and JaMella were extraordinary. They leave a legacy for future generations. Encouraging youth to believe in themselves, to find that something special that motivates them, to work hard, do the right thing and to pay it forward for someone else in need.
The Philmore and JaMella Graham Foundation provides, educational resources using workshops and non-traditional methods empowering youth to become responsible citizens.
We are making a difference that sticks!