Oak Bluffs is indeed a town where dreams come true; one where those whose dreams have come true choose to live, visit and vacation. Lots of successful Oak Bluffs' denizens have traveled the world, but none have seen it so crisply and cleanly as Dr. Bernard A. Harris, author of the book Dream Walker. Raised in the southwest, Dr. Harris lived for a while in New Mexico, where his mom was teaching on a reservation in the Navajo Nation. His book reflects beliefs that one’s goals are achieved by self-empowerment and determination. He believes education and effort allows one to meet life’s challenges, along with strong values, mentors, family and strong will.
His inspiring life story resulted in success in many fields of endeavor. He holds multiple degrees in science, medicine and business, and is the author of numerous scientific publications, a qualified pilot and a certified scuba diver. Dr. Harris is CEO, founder and managing director of Vesalius Ventures, a venture capital firm that invests in healthcare technologies like interactive telemedicine, which allows doctors and patients to discuss symptoms and treatments from afar. His most important work is through the Harris Foundation, a nonprofit organization he created to enable youth to achieve their full potential and accomplish their dreams through the pillars of education and financial literacy.
Dr. Bernard A. Harris has dedicated his life to inspiring others to reach for the stars, just as he did when dreaming he would become an astronaut after watching Apollo 11 land on the moon in July 1969. Selected by NASA in January 1990, Dr. Harris became an astronaut in July 1991. On Feb. 9, 1995, he floated out of the hatch of the space shuttle Discovery and became the first African American to perform a spacewalk, 250 miles above earth. One of 350 astronauts since the space program began, Dr. Harris also served on the first flight of the joint Russian-American Space Program. As an astronaut he logged more than 438 hours and traveled over 7.2 million miles in space. Valerie Mosley owns the Overton House, where another man of vision, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., stayed. Valerie and Bernard Harris are engaged. It’s only in Oak Bluffs that you get to meet a guy in a T-shirt, shorts and docksiders with a great sense of humor — who turns out to be a former astronaut, a philanthropist and a dreamer.
Another dreamer, AJ Calloway, along with his 40th birthday today is celebrating in his favorite adopted town with a “Love Live Life” weekend. Winning his first Emmy for outstanding entertainment news program, AJ has been on television since September 2000, first on BET’s 106th & Park, and more recently as the New York city correspondent for TV’s popular Extra. AJ interviews the most talked about celebrities, athletes and notables in the country. It probably won’t be a surprise for the public to see some of those at Dreamland on Sunday for the White Party he is billing as the last big party of the summer. It’s nice to see another Oak Bluffs kid do well and good. Happy birthday, AJ.
Michael Johnson, the photographer responsible for the now iconic circle of Polar Bears picture at the Inkwell, has a new project with Jim Ryan, owner of Ryan’s Amusements and Seasons restaurant. They have conspired with former owner Bob Murphy to adorn the six Seasons’ windows with Michael’s art for a display he is calling Our Oak Bluffs, contemporary photographs highlighting the culture of our favorite town. The impromptu art show is slated to begin this weekend and last hopefully through Tivoli Day. Michael plans to show Oak Bluffs in a favorable light, an inexpensive way to beautify and use the project as a way for year-rounds and summer folks to rally around the town. The display is sure to be a hit on Facebook’s OB downtown page, a growing group of folks interested in the vitality of Circuit avenue and its environs. See Michael Johnson’s work at inkwell-mv.com (or at his gallery in Vineyard Haven) and watch for the new Circuit avenue exhibit.
Pam Butterick reports the annual Evening of Music on the Lagoon will be held at Jim and Pam Butterick’s house at 359 Barnes Road in Oak Bluffs on Sunday at 6 p.m. Refreshments will be served at sunset on the Lagoon on this last Sunday of summer, featuring pianist Adele Dreyer playing Rhapsody in Blue and then joined by Peter Boak. Donations will be accepted for the Federated Church and Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard. If you have questions, email email@example.com.
Remember, next Saturday is the annual Wind Festival in Ocean Park for more colorful displays.
Keep your foot on a rock.
Send your Oak Bluffs news to: Skip@mvgazette.com.