In an effort to celebrate the dedication, work and contribution of a leading medical practitioner in the country who succumbed to COVID-19 last weekend, the Gentlemen’s Club is stepping forward, recognizing the club’s founder, and showing appreciation.
Club founder Dr. Judson Eneas died last Saturday night at the age of 72, succumbing to the wrath of the coronavirus pandemic that is wreaking havoc around the globe. He was the fifth casualty and the first healthcare worker to fall victim the deadly virus in The Bahamas.
Through the Gentlemen’s Club, Eneas helped mold the lives of hundreds of young men in the country – about 1500 to be exact.
The club, which was started in 1992, provides an outlet for high school boys to develop leadership values, become community-minded, and it teaches them marketing and business skills so that they could be well-equipped to pursue their professional goals. A four-month yearly program incorporates seminars and workshops on etiquette, moral conduct, interpersonal skills, social interaction, and professional advancement just to name a few.
It started out with a dozen young men in 1992, including this writer, and has expanded to 50-plus high school boys passing through the program’s doors each year. The club has awarded millions of dollars in scholarships over the years.
Each year, the program climaxes with a gala ball that is usually staged in a ballroom of one the major hotels. Program director Lamon Stubbs said it is their goal to continue to build equity so the club could eventually utilize its own space for the yearly ball and also increase scholarship money from year to year.
He said at this time, they’re just allowing Eneas’ wife and his family to mourn and in due time, following a calming down period of the coronavirus pandemic, they will honor Eneas in a tangible way.
“Well, we know that we have to carry on his legacy,” said Stubbs. “Through community service, he was always one who reached out to help others and we in the Gentlemen’s Club in particular have to be able to carry on that legacy.
“In terms of honoring him, right now we’re just in the preliminary stages but we want to be on the same page with Mrs. Eneas. There are memorial services and tributes in the works but during this time we just want to allow her to mourn and then play a role in memorializing him.”
Dr. Eneas along his wife Marcheta and others spearheaded the program from its inception in 1992. Club member Stubbs took over the running of the program about six years ago. He said he feels a level of satisfaction and pride when he looks at the overall growth of the program from the time it started to now.
“Dr. Eneas had a profound impact on my life,” said Stubbs. “He was a close family friend in addition to being a mentor and he had a major influence on me pledging Omega Psi Phi. Through his actions, he showed the way and how you should be community-minded. I saw that in him every day and it was the same with many young men in the club. He worked with a lot of passion and was a leading example for us. The goal is for us to continue to move with the same passion – just make sure that we continue to grow and make an impact.”
Stubbs said they are assiduously working to develop more capital in order to fund projects and obtain more scholarship money.
“That is definitely in the works,” he said. “The goal is to continue to save lives and save the young men in this country. We have to be community-minded and help as much young men as we can. That’s one of the things that Dr. Eneas wanted to see and that’s one of the things that we have to continue. We have to keep his legacy going.”
In addition to being a leading nephrologist in the country, who implemented dialysis services at Doctors Hospital in 1986, Eneas was also the sitting Sire Archon of the Southeast Region of the Delta Lambda Boulé of the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity The local chapter is the only international branch of the first African-American fraternal organization. At the time of his death, Eneas was also a candidate for Grand Sire Archon-Elect for the 2020-2022 biennium of the Boulé.
The Boulé provides mentorship for the Gentlemen’s Club each year, and has taken the club under its wings as its official social interaction. As the Sire Archon, Eneas had direct responsibility for the southeast region of the United States and The Bahamas.
He was also an honorary fraternity member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.
Stubbs said with COVID-19 threatening the community, they were forced to shut down the program for 2020 – the first year in the 29-year history of the event that the schedule won’t be completed. About 50 high school boys are enrolled in the program this year.
“It’s unfortunate for them because it is a bright crew and they won’t be able to experience all of the sessions and activities that was lined up for them,” said Stubbs. “For the first time there won’t be a ball. There will be more of an awards ceremony or graduation of sorts which we will arrange and finalize as soon as everything settles down. They are phenomenal young men and we have to find a way for them to complete the program.”
The program is recognized nationally as one which steers young men in the right direction and allows them to create paths for themselves to successfully manoeuvre through college and into the professional ranks, pursuing their goals.
Despite stepping down as director, Eneas was still instrumental in the day-to-day running of the program, providing advice and guidance when needed.
Following his death, he was hailed by politicians, fellow physicians and healthcare professionals, colleagues and peers, as one who was extremely passionate about his work and took pleasure in giving back to the community through dedicated and selfless service.