Dr. Clifford L. Thomas dedicated his life to teaching students of all ages and partnering with other organizations for the betterment of the community. He was a generous soul who would go out of his way to help students and others in need. One of his dreams for our nonprofit We Lead By Example, Inc., was to establish a scholarship program to help students achieve their dreams, whether to attend an institution of higher education or learn a trade.
On Saturday, June 3, 2023, the second anniversary of Dr. Thomas' death, Mr. Adrian Seemangal, President and CEO of the nonproift, and Head Instructor of the Tae Kwon Do Ramblers, launched the Dr. Clifford L. Thomas, Sr., Memorial Scholarship Program. Students must apply for these scholarships, which will include aid opportunities for worthy personal development pursuits or other urgent financial needs. The occasion was the climax of the Ramblers Showcase and Community Open House at Bladensburg Community Center. We thank our guests, Maryland Senator Malcolm Augustine and Bladensburg Mayor Takisha James, who took time out of their very busy schedules to stress the importance of the nonprofit and its programs' more-than-three-decade contributions to the community.
Mr. Seemangal announced the awarding of the first Dr. Clifford L. Thomas, Sr., Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $1,000 to Mr. Alan Palacios, Assistant Instructor and 2023 high-school graduate, who will attend college in September 2023, even as he will continue to teach Ramblers martial arts classes and give back to the community. We heartily congratulate him and thank him for his years-long dedication to our program.
Dr. Clifford Thomas is dedicated to serving the Town of Bladensburg. On Monday, November 18, at a televised Town Council meeting, two town government staff members and two Police Department officers were given his Leading By Example Award to honor them for their strong and consistent leadership and the good examples they set for the town's residents by providing outstanding services that contribute to making the community safe and promoting a positive environment. Their work underscores the many years of mutual support between We Lead By Example, Inc., and the Town of Bladensburg and highlights the partnerships that have been created.
Shown in the photo are recipients Town Treasurer Vito Tinelli, Mayor Takisha James, and Councilmember Cristian Mendoza (Ward I) and outgoing Councilmember Selwyn Bridgeman (Ward II) [back row, from left to right]; and Councilmember Carletta Lundy (Ward II), Roger (Shaun) Rinehart (Code Enforcement Supervisor), Captain Tyrone Collington, Sr. (Deputy Chief, Police Department), Officer Cedrick Tanksley (C.O.P.S. Unit, Police Department), and Susan McCutchen [front row, left to right].
Dr. Clifford Thomas, President and CEO, and Ms. Susan McCutchen, of We Lead By Example, Inc., joined Maryland state elected officials in honoring Ms. Renee Green for her work associated with saving Bladensburg's World War I memorial, often referred to as "Peace Cross," on Monday, October 21. The five-year struggle between the American Humanist Association objecting to a monument in the shape of a cross sitting on public land and local residents supporting the non-religious uses of the war monument to honor veterans became a national issue. The Supreme Court, in a 7 to 2 ruling, determined that the monument could remain where it is located in the summer of 2019. The historical monument will now be repaired and restored.
The news story is found in The Enquirer-Gazette at this link. The text of the story is included below for those who are unable to read the full article online.
Bladensburg 'Peace Cross' supporter honored
Several Maryland elected officials and representatives presented documentarian Renee Green with official citations in recognition of her work to save the Bladensburg World War I memorial often referred to as the “Bladensburg Peace Cross.”
Presenters included Amanda Allen from the office of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R), Sen. Malcolm Augustine (D-Prince George’s), Delegates Diana Fennell and Wanika Fisher (both D-Prince George’s), Prince George’s Councilwoman Jolene Ivey (D-Dist. 5) and Dr. Clifford Thomas. The Town of Bladensburg will present a proclamation to Green, head of the town’s Patriotic Committee, at an upcoming annual November Veterans Day event at the Peace Cross.
The Bladensburg Peace Cross was erected on public land in 1925 by the American Legion to commemorate the 49 servicemen from Prince George’s County who died during World War I, according to Maryland Historical Trust documents.
The cross stands on a highway median maintained by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. In 2014, the Washington, D.C.,-based American Humanist Association filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of three local members, alleging that the 40-foot cross, a recognized Christian symbol, standing on public land violates the Constitutional protections on freedom of religion, and asked the court to move the cross to private land or modify it into a nonreligious shape. The case eventually wound its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Green was heavily involved in efforts to preserve the Bladensburg Peace Cross. After the legal challenge from the American Humanist Association, she and her colleagues researched the rich history of the Peace Cross and began to film segments of a documentary to bring that history to the nation’s attention. The documentary was featured as part of the Supreme Court case record.
Green spearheaded efforts to promote the Bladensburg Peace Cross to the residents of Maryland and beyond. She researched the history of the 49 veterans named on the monument’s plaque and reached out to family members still in the area.
Her work helped elevate the cause to a national level and countless elected officials eventually were prompted to write and speak out in support of saving the Peace Cross. Last summer, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of the Peace Cross’ supporters, stating that as an historic monument, it served secular purposes in the community.
Dr. Clifford Thomas appreciates the many years of mutual support between We Lead By Example, Inc., and the Town of Bladensburg and the strong partnership that has resulted. On Monday, October 21, at a televised Town Council meeting, he and Ms. Susan McCutchen awarded his Leading By Example Award to several Town Council and staff members for their strong and consistent leadership and the good examples they set for the youth in our community. Recipients, shown in the photo, include Mayor Takisha James; Councilmembers Lois Dorsey (Ward II), Carletta Lundy (Ward II), and Cristian Mendoza (Ward I); Diane Griffin, Town staff who plans and organizes many community activities; and Jocelyn Route (Ward I councilmember-elect), who has already been setting a good example through her many youth-centered activities.
Pictured in the photo, from left to right, are Ms. McCutchen, Ms. Griffin, Councilmember Mendoza, Mayor James, Dr. Thomas, Councilmember Lundy, and Councilmember-elect Route.
Reporter Alexis Bentz, who worked as an intern reporter during Summer 2017, accepted a Leading By Example Award from Dr. Clifford Thomas on November 18, 2017. Ms. Bentz wrote an excellent article about We Lead By Example, Inc./Tae Kwon Do Ramblers Self-Defense Systems' August 22, 2017, Senior Safety and Self-Defense Symposium that was published in the September 2017 issue of The Senior Beacon. Her award sums up the contribution Dr. Thomas feels Alexis has already made as a teen reporter as well as what he sees for her going forward: "Because of your dedication and outstanding work as a young reporter, you are a positive role model for youth aspiring to challenging careers." Her writing talent is exceptional! In the photograph, taken by adult Rambler student Christian Spence, Dr. Thomas is shaking Ms. Bentz's hand; her mother is shown in the background. The photo and story appear on page 15 of the December 2017 isse of The Senior Beacon at this link.
Ms. Bentz won a prestigious award in the journalism competitions of the 2017 National Mature Media Awards and the North American Mature Publishers Association for her work as a columnist along with Bob Levey in the paper's Senior Issues section. Go to this link to read about it. She began writing her column Generations Together in 2014 when she was 12 years old; go to this link for the story.
Lt. James Flynn, Bladensburg Police Department, accepted a Leading By Example Award from Dr. Clifford Thomas, on January 11, 2017. Lt. Flynn is not only an outstanding police officer who has served in that capacity for almost 40 years. He has also collaborated with other Bladensburg staff members on many Town of Bladensburg grants, including weatherization (with Bladensburg managing these grants for all of Prince George's County) to assist homeowners in saving hundreds of dollars and funding to significantly improve and beautify the park next to the Police Department and Town Hall. We applaud him and his excellent work! Shown in the photograph are Lt. Flynn, Dr. Thomas, and Ms. Alison Miller, who works closely with Lt. Flynn.
Mr. Bobby Jones was presented with our Leading By Example Award on Saturday, November 5. He is a highly-respected photojournalist at the Andrews Gazette and a true leader in our community. Mr. Jones has written several articles about We Lead By Example, Inc., underscoring our positive news of interest to the local community--bullying and child abuse prevention; senior safety and self-defense; award presentations to law enforcement, elected, and other public officials in the DMV and in Prince George's County; and students who have attained high academic achievement. We very much appreciate his work and the Andrews Gazette, a news source that publishes stories that are both fit to print and informative for its readers. Read the November 10 online article that appeared in the Andrews Gazettehere and in the print edition on page three at this link (scroll to the bottom of the page). Photos by editor Hannah Troyer.
Congressman Steny Hoyer sent a video marking the Ramblers' second annual Walk and Rally for National Bullying Prevention Month on October 1, 2016. He thanked Dr. Thomas and We Lead By Example, Inc./Tae Kwon Do Ramblers Self-Defense Systems for giving him the Leading By Example Award for his outstanding dedication and leadership and for being a role model for the country and for today's youth. He spoke about bullying and the negative effect it has both on those who are bullied and those who bully. He further acknowledged Dr. Thomas' longstanding commitment to making the community safer for everyone through his many years of teaching the martial arts. Congressman Hoyer deserves the Leading By Example Award for all of his contributions over the years he has been a public servant and Dr, Thomas and the Ramblers appreciate his thoughtfulness in making this video and his many kind words about Dr. Thomas and our organization.
On Saturday, October 1, Delegates Diana Fennell and Jimmy Tarlau, of Prince George's County - Legislative District 47A, surprised our organization with three Maryland General Assembly citations, signed by them and their colleague, Senator Victor Ramirez.
We Lead By Example, Inc./Tae Kwon Do Ramblers Self-Defense Systems: "Be it known to all that sincerest congratulations are offered ... in recognition of their 2nd Annual Walk and Rally for National Bullying Prevention Month."
Dr. Clifford Thomas: "Be it known to all that sincerest congratulations are offered ... in recognition of his outstanding work and dedication in the community against bullying."
Ms. Susan McCutchen: "Be it known to all that sincerest congratulations are offered ... in recognition of her outstanding and distinguished service with the Tae Kwon Do Ramblers."
The Ramblers, Dr. Thomas, and Ms. McCutchen (shown at the center of the photo), were overwhelmed with these honors and truly appreciate being recognized by Senator Ramirez and Delegates Fennell and Tarlau, all past recipients of our Leading By Example Award. They have supported the community work of our organization for many years and can always be counted on when we need them. Thank you for all YOU do!
Soggy was the word for the day, but we valiantly weathered the storm and had a great day at our second annual Walk and Rally for National Bullying Prevention Month on Saturday, October 1. The walkers were led by the Town of Bladensburg Mayor Walter James, his wife Kisha, and their daughter Imani. They were accompanied through Bladensburg by Officer Audrey Hedgepesth-Calloway of the Bladensburg Police Department. Back at the Bladensburg Community Center gym, the weary walkers ate some sorely-needed snacks, provided by our community-supportive Wegmans store at Woodmore Town Centre, and we finished the event with a rally.
Go to this link to see a video of Mayor Walter James leading the Tae Kwon Do Ramblers, their families, and the community in the walk.
Special guests included several individuals presented with our Leading By Example Awards because their outstanding dedication and leadership provide a positive role model for our country and for today's youth.
--State's Attorney Angela D. Alsobrooks (accepted on her behalf by Terry Bell)
--Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (accepted on her behalf by Ryan Middleton, Esq.)
--Dr. Kevin M. Maxwell, CEO, Prince George's County School System (acccepted on his behalf by Dr. Leon Washington)
--Senator Barbara Mikulski (accepted on her behalf by Isiah Horton)
--Purnell Hall and Eric Watson, Department of Public Works, Town of Bladensburg. They accepted awards on behalf of their colleagues, Ronald Alston Jr., Gary Turner, Awner Fuentes, and Gabino Cardozo)
Other attendees included Malcolm Augustine (WMATA Board), Delegate Diana Fennell (with staff Rick Bailey and Maliek Harding), Delegate Jimmy Tarlau, and Kendall Wade (Young Democrats of Maryland Public Safety Caucus). Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford sent "his best wishes for all and thanks everyone for their concerns and efforts in 'busting bullying'." Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker III sent his regards and wished us "an enjoyable event and continued success."
Delegates Fennell and Tarlau surprised We Lead By Example, Inc./Tae Kwon Do Ramblers Self-Defense Systems with a Maryland General Assembly Official Citation "in recognition of their 2nd Annual Walk and Rally for National Bullying Prevention Month," signed by Senator Victor Ramirez and Delegates Fennell and Tarlau. Dr. Clifford Thomas received their Official Citation "in recognition of his outstanding work and dedication in the community against bullying." Ms. Susan McCutchen received an Official Citation "in recognition of her outstanding and distinguished service with the Tae Kwon Do Ramblers." The Ramblers, Dr. Thomas, and Ms. McCutchen were overwhelmed with these honors and truly appreciate being recognized by Senator Ramirez and Delegates Fennell and Tarlau, past recipients of our Leading By Example Award. They have supported the community work of our organization for many years and can always be counted on when we need them.
Other awardees who could not attend were President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe and Second Lady Jill Biden, Delegate Darryl Barnes, Anthony Brown, Robert Burton (ABC-7 News Anchor), Curtis Crutchfield (Prince George's Community Television), Leon Harris (ABC-7 News Anchor), Congressman Steny Hoyer, Bobby Jones (Andrews Gazette), Glenn Ivey, Jimm Rhee, and Delegate Carlo Sanchez.
First Lady Michelle Obama sent her regards and said she would "keep your [our] invitation should we be able to schedule a visit in the future."
Congressman Steny Hoyer sent a video marking the Ramblers' second annual Walk and Rally for National Bullying Prevention Month on October 1, 2016. He thanked Dr. Thomas and We Lead By Example, Inc./Tae Kwon Do Ramblers Self-Defense Systems for giving him the Leading By Example Award for his outstanding dedication and leadership and for being a role model for the country and for today's youth.
Dr. Clifford Thomas presented Leading By Example Awards and Rambler tee shirts to several law enforcement and other community leaders on Saturday, August 27, on behalf of We Lead By Example, Inc./Tae Kwon Do Ramblers Self-Defense Systems. These awards were given to individuals who have led by example by working tirelessly to keep our communities safe. He also acknowledged WMATA and the Metro Transit Police Department who are working diligently to improve Metro and make it safer for passengers. As an organization concerned with personal safety and self-defense and community safety, We Lead By Example, Inc., wanted to show our appreciation for all the contributions by these individuals because they are often criticized and their positive efforts are not sufficiently praised. The most important part of this awards ceremony was to recognize the over 25 of our organization's students who made the honor roll all four advisories during the 2015 - 2016 school year. They are our future leaders and their accomplishments should be noted. Our organization is concerned with developing leadership skills and this begins with the children. We thank the following award recipients and guests (in alphabetical order):
--Malcolm Augustine (member of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Board), who accepted the award on behalf of Ronald A. Pavlik, Jr., (Chief, Metro Transit Police Department).
--Jason L. Fisher (Captain, City of Seat Pleasant Police Department).
--Elliott W. Gibson, Sr. (Chief, City of District Heights Police Department) and Jack C. Sims (Mayor of District Heights).
--Takisha D. James (First Lady, Town of Bladensburg) and Walter James (Mayor, Town of Bladensburg).
--Jimmy Rhee (Special Secretary of the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs)who accepted the awards on behalf of Governor Larry Hogan and Lieutenant Governor Boyd K. Rutherford.
--Henry Stawinski III (Chief, Prince George's County Police Department).
--Lt. Tracy D. Stone (Acting Chief, Town of Bladensburg Police Department), who also accepted the award on behalf of Chief Charles L. Owens (ret.).
--Paul J. Wiedefeld (President and CEO, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority).
An article about this big event was published in the September 2 Andrews Gazette article by Bobby Jones. For the print edition, on page 8, go to this link, and for the e-edition, go to this link where Mr. Jones' photos can be viewed.
City of District Heights, Maryland, Chief of Police Elliott W. Gibson, Sr., and Mayor Jack C. Sims gave Dr. Clifford Thomas a certificate of appreciation for excellent participation in their very successful National Night Out law enforcement and community gathering on Tuesday, August 2. He accepted it on behalf of We Lead By Example, Inc./Tae Kwon Do Ramblers Self-Defense Systems.
Dr. Thomas presented this We Lead By Example, Inc./Tae Kwon Do Ramblers Self-Defense Systems award to the Honorable Chris Van Hollen at a meeting in his office at Longworth House Office Building in Washington, D.C. The certificate honors him because of his dedication and commitment to the citizens of Maryland and because of the positive role model his leadership provides for our youth.
On June 29, Dr. Thomas received a citation from the State of Maryland for his outstanding services to the citizens of Maryland. He is pleased to have his work through We Lead By Example, Inc./Tae Kwon Do Ramblers over many years acknowledged by the State of Maryland, and thanks Governor Hogan, Lt. Governor Rutherford, and Secretary of State Wobensmith, for this great honor. The citation reads as follows:
Governor of the State of Maryland, to Dr. Clifford L. Thomas, Greetings: Be it Known: Because of your demonstration of high integrity and ability, meriting our great trust and respect, we are most pleased to award you the Governor's Citation in appreciation of your outstanding services to the citizens of the State. Given Under My Hand and the Great Seal of the State of Maryland, the 29th day of June Two Thousand and Fifteen.
Signed by Governor Lawrence J. Hogan Jr., Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford, and Secretary of State John C. Wobensmith.
Town of Bladensburg Councilmembers Beverly Hall, Trina Brown, and Cristian Mendoza provided We Lead By Example, Inc. with a check in the amount of $450 in support of the organization and its ongoing work. Dr. Thomas was surprised and pleased to receive this gift, which will be put to good use for the betterment of the community.
President Barack Obama acknowledged Dr. Thomas' February 2015 landmark achievement of attaining the title of grandmaster according to honored tradition and after a lifetime of continuous practice of martial arts in a letter from the White House dated April 24, 2015. It reads as follows:
I am pleased to offer you my best wishes on this special occasion. Earning martial arts proficiency requires discipline, dedication, and hard work. I trust these values will serve you well in life, and I wish you the best in the future.
[Signed] Barack Obama
Dr. Thomas was given two special plaques from Kyoshi Steve Tolson, commemorating his outstanding support as master of ceremonies and mediator in his 2013 and 2014 Kombat Klassic tournaments. They read as follows:
Special Recognition presented to Dr. Clifford Thomas
I would like to Express My Sincere Thanks and Appreciation for Your Generous Sponsorship of the Kombat Klassic Martial Arts Tournament held on October 25, 2013 [and on October 26, 2014].
(signed by) Kyoshi Steve Tolson
Dr. Thomas sat on a black-belt panel to judge the belt advancement tests of three students of Professor Bruce Goodwin's Universal Korean Martial Arts Academy in Upper Marlboro on Saturday, March 1. On the occasion of the belt ceremony that took place after the testing, during which one green belt and two black belts were awarded, Professor Goodwin also presented Dr. Thomas with a striking blue-hilted sword with ornamental blue scabbard in honor of his attainment of the traditional rank of grandmaster on February 23, 2014. In addition, Professor Goodwin provided Dr. Thomas with a certificate of authority from the World Tukkong Association to practice tukkong moosool for the period March 1, 2014, through March 1, 2020. This official certificate, signed by the association's Grand Master Lim Ung-Hwan and President Young-Jun, indicates that
Dr. Cliff Thomas has satisfied all requirements for managing the Tae Kwon Do Ramblers in accordance with the law of the World Tukkong Association. The World Tukkong Association hereby permits the practice of Tukoong Moosool to the Tae Kwon Do Ramblers.
It is an honor for the Ramblers to be designated as a sister school through the traditional (and rare) practice of officially sanctioning the teaching of a different style of martial arts, in this case also Korean, at a school that teaches another style. Dr. Thomas was surprised and pleased to receive the beautiful sword. He was overwhelmed and deeply moved by the significance of being given the certificate of authority. The Ramblers will benefit greatly from this continuing strong alliance with Professor Goodwin's academy.
On Saturday, February 22, Bladensburg Mayor Walter James marked Grandmaster Dr. Clifford L. Thomas' birthday and its landmark significance by presenting him with a very special proclamation before an audience of his many students and their families during tae kwon do classes at the Bladensburg Community Center. Grandmaster Thomas was surprised and touched that the Mayor and Council honored him with this proclamation commending him for his continuous practice of martial arts (50 years) and his teaching and other community work (over 40 years). The proclamation presented to him reads as follows:
Town of Bladensburg Proclamation WHEREAS, the Mayor and Town Council of Bladensburg, Maryland, recognizes the commitment and accomplishments of Grand Master Dr. Clifford L. Thomas, a visionary and dedicated leader in the area of martial arts, character building and bullying prevention; and WHEREAS, Grand Master Thomas serves as an empowering force behind many school programs that consistently engages students in the concept of healthy, sustainable and disciplined lives; and WHEREAS, Grand Master Thomas is committed to closing the achievement gaps of our students, by instilling in them a sense of self- work[sic]; and the importance of being lifelong learners; which has resulted in the development of some of our community's greatest citizens; WHEREAS, he and his organization has led by example, with 50 years of practicing and over 40 years of teaching martial arts, self- defense, and safety to children and adults; and promoting respect, loyalty and personal responsibility, as well as building high moral standards that reflect acceptance and respect for others; and WHEREAS, Grand Master Thomas serves with the mindset that students must be first; and that everyone must [work] together to make a tremendous positive difference in our community and in our world; NOW, THEREFORE, THE MAYOR AND TOWN COUNCIL OF THE TOWN OF BLADENSBURG, MARYLAND on this 22nd day of February 2014, do hereby recognize the commitment and dedication of Grand Master Clifford L. Thomas. You are leading by example.
Maryland State Senator Joanne C. Benson, Co-Founder, and Abdul-Raheem Abdullah, President/CEO/Co-Founder, presented Dr. Thomas with a certificate of appreciation on behalf of the Prince George's County Education Coalition on Saturday, December 21. The certificate reads:
Certificate of appreciation is being presented to Dr. Clifford Thomas. Thank you for your selfless dedication and steadfast support to The Prince George's County Education Coalition.
On Saturday, December 21, the Rambler family presented Dr. Thomas with a professionally-framed display of the cover and his bio pages from the 2013 Prince George's SuiteWho's Who Magazine. See the August 2013 entry below to read about him being honored as one of the top 125 community leaders in Prince George's County.
U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski acknowledged Dr. Thomas and his nonprofit organization, We Lead By Example, Inc., for his bullying prevention efforts. This honor from Senator Mikulski is very much appreciated. The certificate he was given reads as follows:
This certificate is presented to Dr. Clifford L. Thomas in recognition of your outstanding commitment to serving youth in Maryland through your bullying prevention programs. I applaud your leadership and advocacy. Thank you for all you do!
Dr. Thomas was named as one of the top 125 leaders in Prince George's County by Prince George's Suite Magazine in its Summer 2013 issue appearing in August 2013. Rushern L. Baker, III, County Executive, commented in the magazine that "Prince George's County is home to some of the region's most dynamic leaders across nearly every discipline and industry" and that those honorees selected are "125 incredible people who are doing incredible things." He added his "congratulations to the 2013 Who's Who honorees and thank you for serving as a source of inspiration for the people of Prince George's County and the Washington Metropolitan Region." Dr. Thomas' entry (#113 alphabetically and appearing on page 87 of the issue) reads as follows:
Dr. Clifford L. Thomas, President and CEO, We Lead By Example, Inc., and Tae Kwon Do Ramblers Self-Defense Systems
Dr. Clifford L. Thomas, recipient of the Town of Bladensburg’s Distinguished African American Award, links martial arts instruction and community volunteerism through his Tae Kwon Do Ramblers Self-Defense Systems and his nonprofit organization, We Lead By Example, Inc. His bullying prevention program was featured on ABC’s Harris’ Heroes in August 2012. He teaches seniors practical self defense through his Saving the Seniors program. Thomas brings his specialized skills to enhance the community safety programs of law enforcement departments and he is developing a domestic violence prevention and safety program. A member of several community organizations, he actively supports Maryland Senator Joanne Benson’s Route 202 Coalition, the Maryland Triad/SALT (Seniors and Law Enforcement Together) Network, the District III Coffee Circle, and the People for Change Coalition.
On Saturday, August 17, Bladensburg Mayor Walter James came to Bladensburg Community Center to officially present the certificate of special recognition Dr. Thomas received from U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin for his nonprofit organization, We Lead By Example, Inc., on the occasion of the second Bullying Prevention and Self-Defense Summer Camp, held August 12-16. He also presented Dr. Thomas with his citation from the State of Maryland, signed by Governor O'Malley, Lt. Governor Brown, and Secretary of State McDonough, for outstanding community work in education about bullying and marking the occasion of this year's camp. Dr. Thomas appreciates the mayor taking time to come to his classes to keep in touch with the Rambler family. Mayor James and the Bladensburg Town Council have supported the work of the Rambler organization for a number of years, and Dr. Thomas looks forward to a continued mutually positive relationship with the town.
U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin acknowledged Dr. Thomas and his nonprofit organization, We Lead By Example, Inc., on the occasion of Dr. Thomas' second Bullying Prevention and Self-Defense Summer Camp, held August 12-16. This honor from Senator Cardin is very much appreciated and is an encouragement for Dr. Thomas to continue his important work in Maryland.
On August 8, Dr. Thomas' nonprofit organization received a citation from the State of Maryland for outstanding community work in education about bullying on the occasion of his second Bullying Prevention and Self-Defense Summer Camp at Bladensburg Community Center on August 12-16, 2013. He is pleased to have his work through We Lead By Example, Inc., acknowledged by the State of Maryland, and thanks Governor O'Malley, Lt. Governor Brown, and Secretary of State McDonough, for this great honor. The citation reads as follows:
Governor of the State of Maryland, to We Lead By Example, Inc., Greetings: Be it Known: That on behalf of the citizens of this State, in recognition of a special tribute to celebrate the 2nd Bullying Prevention and Self-Defense Summer Camp at the Bladensburg Community Center ... with congratulations on the success of this effort to educate children and their parents [and] address the various aspects of bullying; and as the people of Maryland join in expressing our gratitude [for] leadership and service on behalf of the community, we are pleased to confer upon you this Governor's Citation.
Given Under My Hand and the Great Seal of the State of Maryland this 12th day of August, Two Thousand and Thirteen. Signed by Governor Martin O'Malley, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, and Secretary of State McDonough.
We Lead By Example, Inc., Dr. Thomas' nonprofit organization, was nominated in the Prince George's County Inaugural Community Service Award's community organization category and is included on the official Prince George's County webpage announcement. According to County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III: “Our County is very fortunate because every day there is someone making a difference or lending a helping hand to someone in need ... These awards are designed to recognize the tremendous work that people are doing all over this County each and every day." Dr. Thomas is pleased that his organization was nominated for this award and that it was included along with the other fine organizations on the listing that appeared in the announcement.
On February 23, coincident with his birthday, Dr. Thomas was presented a special award clock from the Town of Bladensburg to mark his contributions as an outstanding African American. The occasion was the Town of Bladensburg 8th Annual Black History Month Celebration. This year's event, held at Bladensburg High School, honored the Tuskegee airmen who served the United States from 1941-1945. Representatives of several motorcycle chapter members who tour the country recounting the exploits and profound historical significance of the Tuskegee airmen toward breaking the color barrier in the military were in attendance and spoke at the event, led by Paul Capel of the Tuskegee Airmen DC Chapter. To his surprise, Dr. Thomas was honored by the Town of Bladensburg with the town's Distinguished African American award. He was profoundly moved to receive this honor and hear comments by the dignitaries, and was deeply touched to hear heartfelt remarks by several of his students, who spoke eloquently about him and his place in Black history through his longstanding and continuing work with people of all ages in the community and the significance of his efforts as he has led by example through his teaching and other works. Dr. Thomas is proud of all his students. For their support on this occasion, he thanks A. Clement, S. McCutchen, N. Potts, A. Seemangal, and D. Spirtovic, as well as the Clement, Potts, Seemangal, and Spirtovic families, for taking time to attend and to share their thoughts with the other attendees. This event was truly exceptional, a learning experience for everyone who attended. The award given to Dr. Thomas reads as follows:
Town of Bladensburg
Distinguished African American Award presented to Dr. Clifford L. Thomas for his commitment and dedication to our community.
February 23, 2013
On Friday, August 17, Dr. Thomas was given a Senate of Maryland citation from Senator Victor R. Ramirez's office. Bladensburg Mayor Walter James and Councilmembers Walter George and Trina Brown presented the citation to Dr. Thomas on behalf of Senator Ramirez on the occasion of the final day of the Bullying Prevention and Self-Defense Summer Camp created by Dr. Thomas and held at Bladensburg Community Center from August 13-17. The citation reads as follows:
Be it hereby known to all that sincerest congratulations are offered to Dr. Clifford Thomas in recognition of your commitment to Prince George’s County and willingness to establish and teach the first Bullying Prevention and Self-Defense Summer Camp at Bladensburg Community Center. Congratulations on a job well done. Presented on this 17th day of August 2012
(signed by) Senator Victor R. Ramirez
Dr. Thomas received a monetary token of appreciation in the amount of $100.00 from Bladensburg Town Councilmember Trina Brown on June 12, 2012. In the transmittal letter, it was noted that the token of appreciation was "for your continued commitment and dedication," and that "we believe that your organization's mission serves the best interests for the Town of Bladensburg." Dr. Thomas thanks Councilmember Brown for the check that he can use toward organizational expenses. As he noted in his formal response, it is his desire to continue to work closely with the Town of Bladensburg and offer his services to this diverse and vibrant community.
On Saturday, June 2, Dr. Thomas was presented with a proclamation from Bladensburg Mayor Walter James and the Town of Bladensburg, to honor his commitment to the community.
WHEREAS, the Mayor and Town Council of Bladensburg, Maryland, recognizes the commitment and accomplishments of Dr. Clifford Thomas, a visionary and dedicated member of the Town of Bladensburg family; and
WHEREAS, Dr. Clifford Thomas is the founder of the Tae Kwon Do Ramblers organization, which serves all sectors of our community, including persons with various developmental and physical disabilities, individuals of all ages and cultural backgrounds; and
WHEREAS, Dr. Thomas is a great leader and friend who has dedicated his life to building strong families and a brighter future for our youth through the discipline of martial arts, which is reflected in the lives that he has positively impacted; and
WHEREAS, he has led by example, by promoting respect, loyalty and personal responsibility, as well as building high moral standards that reflect acceptance and respect for others; and
WHEREAS, Dr. Thomas is committed and passionate about his work, resulting in a tremendous positive impact on our community as a whole.
NOW, THERFORE, THE MAYOR AND TOWN COUNCIL OF THE TOWN OF BLADENSBURG, MARYLAND on this 2nd day of June 2012, do hereby recognize and celebrate Dr. Clifford Thomas for his work and commitment to our community; and it is our sincere prayer that God will continue to keep him in perfect peace.
Dr. Thomas was honored to receive a certificate of appreciation plaque for his participation in the Maryland State Bar Association's Leadership Academy Elder Law Symposium, Navigating the Elder Care Maze: What You Need to Know About the Legal Issues Facing Older Adults and Their Caregivers. He appreciates the opportunity to be a part of this kind of initiative that brings vital information to seniors and helps them become better informed and more aware of their legal choices, and promotes efforts to help them live better, safer, and more comfortable lives.
Dr. Thomas and Rambler student Susan McCutchen participated in the Third Annual Senior Citizens Honorary Graduation and Prom Ceremony that took place on Saturday, February 25, at Elizabeth Seton High School. The event was sponsored by the Seniors Against Stalking and Domestic Violence Support Group and Elizabeth Seton High School Scholars, a group of exceptional young women in both bearing and manner, under the direction of Sister Ellen Marie Hagar, the President of Elizabeth Seton High School. The graduation was noteworthy, and highlights were remarks from Maryland Senator Victor R. Ramirez, 47th Legislative District, Prince George's County, and from Bladensburg Mayor Walter James, as well as speeches from the valedictorian, Ms. Estelle Owens, and from Dr. Thomas, the salutatorian and the elected king of the prom. Ms. Deloris Jordan was the elected prom queen. Music was provided by the String Quartet of Elizabeth Seton High School and dancing by the Vintage Saints Dance Ministry, a group of older, very talented ladies who both entertained and inspired with two beautifully performed dances of praise and worship choreographed by Rosemary Thompson-Lewis. Both Dr. Thomas and Ms. McCutchen received certificates of achievement from the seniors support group, as well as Maryland Senatorial recognitions of achievement from Senator Ramirez. The texts of these certificates are found below.
Certificate of Achievement [both Dr. Thomas and Ms. McCutchen]
Seniors Against Stalking and Domestic Violence Support Group, Bladensburg, Maryland
[The awardee] is hereby awarded this Certificate of Achievement. Whereas education is the foundation of an informed society, your personal drive and commitment to broaden your horizons and expand your knowledge is most commendable, relevant and necessary in today's world. The choice to continue education is not easy and often places many additional stressful demands on one's life. Despite the demands and life's distractions, you choose to move forward and demonstrated focused personal resolve for completing your goals. Your personal commitment is not only a personal achievement, but one that serves as an inspiration to the entire community. You are a shining example. Therefore, the Seniors Against Stalking and Domestic Violence Support Group honor you for your courage, strength and passion for continuing your education.
(signed by) Sister Ellen Marie Hagar, President, Elizabeth Seton High School, and Barbra J. Newby Givens, Executive Director, Seniors Against Stalking and Domestic Violence.
The Senate of Maryland Recognition of Achievement [both Dr. Thomas and Ms. McCutchen]
Be it hereby known to all that sincerest congratulations are offered to [the awardee] in recognition of striving to improve yourself and expand your field of knowledge. Your drive to continuously challenge yourself is a source of inspiration to others. Presented on this 25th day of February 2012 by Senator Victor R. Ramirez of 47th Legislative District, Prince George's County.
The Senate of Maryland Official Citation to Dr. Thomas for being selected as the Prom King
Be it hereby known to all that sincerest congratulations are offered to Dr. Clifford Thomas in recognition of this honor granted to you by your peers. Your drive to continuously challenge yourself is a source of inspiration to others. Presented on this 25th day of February 2012 by Senator Victor R. Ramirez of 47th Legislative District, Prince George's County.
Dr. Thomas and Ms. Susan McCutchen were presented certificates of appreciation from Barbara J. Newby Givens, founder and leader of the Bladensburg-based Seniors against Stalking Support Group, for outstanding service on behalf of stalking victims.
Dr. Thomas was presented a certificate of appreciation from St. Mary's County Department of Aging for participating in its annual health fair held on October 21 at the Volunteer Fire Department Hall in Hollywood, Maryland. It reads as follows:
Certificate of Appreciation
This certificate is awarded to Dr. Clifford L. Thomas in recognition of valuable contributions to St. Mary's County Department of Aging Health Fair "The Way to Wellness"
(signed by) Lori Jennings-Harris and Jennifer M. Hunt
Dr. Thomas was presented a special plaque from Shihan Tolson for his outstanding support as master of ceremonies and mediator in the 2009 Kombat Klassic tournament. It reads as follows:
Special Recognition presented to Dr. Clifford Thomas
I would like to Express My Sincere Thanks and Appreciation for Your Dedicated Support of the Kombat Klassic Martial Arts Tournament held on October 24, 2009.
(signed by) Shihan Steve Tolson
Dr. Thomas was awarded the blackbelt Sampson Award and S. McCutchen the underbelt Competitor of the Year Award at the 2nd Annual Pioneer Black Tie Awards hosted by Grandmasters Furman Marshall and Reginald Jackson. The grandmasters give these awards to honor those who "make a difference in this world because of their outstanding teaching and exemplary professional community service." They state that the premise for this award is: "At the heart of every successful martial arts school, workshop, tournament, educational program, and any other event are caring and dedicated instructors, students, and parents who believe in the ethical values of martial arts. These men, women, and children approach the teaching and learning process with a remarkable sense of responsibility and dedication. Their commitment is guided in their actions by the deep-seated conviction that every student is important, and every instructor is responsible for providing students with the tools and skills to become a strong leader, not only as a martial artist, but also as a citizen."
On behalf of the Town of Bladensburg, Mayor Walter James presented Dr. Thomas and his Tae Kwon Do Ramblers with a $200 check in support of the organization and its ongoing work. The mayor expressed his appreciation for the Ramblers' noteworthy community involvement and indicated that he and the Bladensburg Town Council look forward to a strong partnership with the organization in 2009.
Dr. Thomas received a beautiful plaque from Shihan Tolson for his organizational and mediator role in the 2008 Kombat Klassic tournament. It reads as follows:
Special Recognition presented to Dr. Clifford Thomas
I would like to Express My Sincere Thanks and Appreciation for Your Hard Work in making this event a great success.
Kombat Klassic Martial Arts Tournament held on October 25, 2008
Shihan Steve Tolson
Dr. Clifford Thomas received a proclamation from the Mayor and Town Council of Bladensburg on Monday, October 13.
WHEREAS, the Mayor and Town Council of Bladensburg, Maryland, wishes to recognize Dr.Clifford Thomas, a highly dedicated and talented Servant Leader who has honorably served the citizens and residents of Bladensburg, Maryland and surrounding areas; and
WHEREAS, Dr. Thomas is commended for his efforts to improve the quality of life for families in our town; and for his vision which is geared toward the uplifting of family principles and values in our community; and
WHEREAS, Dr. Thomas has fought to promote positive life skills, respect, loyalty and personal responsibility, as well as moral standards that reflect acceptance and respect for others; and
WHEREAS, Dr. Thomas has worked diligently throughout his lifetime and is applauded for devoting his time and expertise to educating and empowering our community; and through his Save the Seniors Program and martial arts classes he offers to the community at large;
WHEREAS, Dr. Thomas has received numerous awards for his outstanding work ethic and commitment to the building of the whole person.
NOW, THEREFORE, WE, THE MAYOR AND TOWN COUNCIL OF THE TOWN OF BLADENSBURG, on this 13th day of October, 2008 do hereby recognize the commitment and dedication of Dr. Thomas and his staff of professionals; you are leading by example.
Dr. Thomas received a Hall of Fame Golden Pioneer Award, which reads as follows:
Be it known by these greetings and presents that Dr. Clifford L. Thomas, in testament of his distinguished lifelong career and contributions to the Martial Arts and humanity has this day been formally and ceremoniously recognized as a Golden Pioneer [Award].
This honorable and most distinguished individual has unselfishly dedicated over 35 years of his life to teaching and preserving the ancient Martial Ways for prosperity.
Be it known by all men that the above mentioned has steadfastly upheld the virtues, traditions and honor that embodies the spirit of the ancient ways of the fist. His loyalty and many years of training have touched hundreds of thousands of people's lives over the past almost half century.
This organized body further recognizes his illustrious career as a global humanitarian that has--through proven testimony--benefited mankind both far and wide. It is with great privilege that we honor the great deeds of a life dedicated to promoting and proliferating the Martial Arts. With that said, we place our hand and seal that no man may disavow these findings.
(signed by Grandmaster Reginald Jackson, Sr., and Grandmaster Furman Marshall, Founders and Martial Arts Grandmasters)
Dr. Thomas received a letter from Joe DeMattos, Jr., AARP Maryland State Director, indicating that he had been nominated as a recipient for the 2008 Andrus Award for Community Service. Mr. DeMattos continued by saying "your nomination for the award is a clear recognition of your remarkable service in the volunteer role you have chosen." He added that "it also reflects the impact that you have had on the lives of others and on your community." The Ramblers family and the Bladensburg Community Center staff congratulate him on his well-deserved nomination for this prestigious award.
On Saturday, July 19, Dr. Thomas was presented with a Maryland congratulatory citation by Senator David Harrington at Bladensburg Community Center at a break during regular class time. Bladensburg Council Members Cris Mendoza and Walter Ficklin, always supportive of the Ramblers and other community activities, also honored him on this auspicious occasion. Dr. Thomas not unexpectedly chose to share this honor with his students and their parents because, as he noted when he thanked the senator, the Tae Kwon Do Ramblers organization is a family, and an award given to him belongs to his family, just as a trophy won by a student in a tournament belongs to the organization. The citation was given to Dr. Thomas "in recognition of your tireless efforts to improve the quality of life and safety for residents in Prince George's County through education and empowering our community through your physical and spiritual teachings of martial arts and self defense." Senator Harrington addressed the audience and spoke about Dr. Thomas' longstanding and dedicated service to the community. He pointed out that just as people regard well-known and outstanding figures in the government or in the entertainment or sports fields as individuals they admire and would like to meet, people should reflect about outstanding citizens such as Dr. Thomas who reside in and contribute to the community.
On Saturday, March 22, Dr. Thomas was awarded a handsomely framed "Certificate of Special Recognition, Community Service Award presented to Clifford Thomas PhD by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Theta Omega Omega Chapter." He very much appreciated receiving this recognition.
Dr. Clifford Thomas received an award from Professor David Grosscup of the Maryland Professional Karate Association (MPKA). MPKA welcomes affiliate members whose values are "closely matched" to their own. Accordingly, the Tae Kwon Do Ramblers is one of these schools that has "demonstrated their desire to join together and set aside past discriminations and grievances between styles for the betterment of the martial arts under one banner in Maryland." Dr. Thomas and other individuals who received an award are shown in the photos above.
On Tuesday, August 7, Dr. Thomas received a certificate of appreciation from the Lyttonsville, Rosemary Hills, and Rock Creek communities of Silver Spring on the occasion of their National Night Out at Coffield Community Center. It reads as follows:
Tribute of Appreciation
On behalf of the Rosemary Hills, Lyttonsville, and Rock Creek communities of Silver Spring, Maryland, thank you for the special touch you added to our National Night Out celebration on this Seventh Day of August in the year of Two Thousand and Seven. This yearly crime-free program is also known as Let's Give Crimea Going Away Party and you have made this an enjoyable evening to celebrate the absence of crime and the simple rules of safety for our protection and well being.
Your contribution to this program is a visible sign to us of your interest and concern in helping our communities, our law enforcement agencies, and county government agencies accent the importance of crime-free neighborhoods that build strong healthy families and thereby help produce good neighborhoods and quality leaders for the future.
On Sunday, December 10, Martin O'Malley, outgoing mayor of Baltimore and Maryland's governor-elect, co-hosted the annual Baltimore City Hall's Holiday Open House with City Council president and incoming mayor Sheila Dixon. Dr. Joe Parrish, Dr. Clifford Thomas, and Master Joe Cooper of the United States Head Of Family Martial Arts Association (USHOFMAA) were invited as Mr. O'Malley's special guests at this meet-and-greet occasion. For the organization's hard work, efforts, and contributions to the City of Baltimore, USHOFMAA received the prestigious Golden Dragon Award.
Dr. Clifford Thomas received a proclamation from Jack B. Johnson, County Executive for Prince George's County, on Tuesday, November 28.
WHEREAS, the Office of the County Executive for Prince George's County, Maryland, wishes to recognize the hard work and accomplishments of Dr. Clifford L. Thomas, a highly dedicated and talented professional who has honorably served the citizens and residents of Prince George's County and surrounding areas; and
WHEREAS, Dr. Thomas is commended for his tireless efforts to improve the quality of life and safety for residents in our county. He is the Founder and CEO of Tae Kown Do Ramblers Self-Defense Systems: We Lead by Example, which offers programs focused on different needs and age groups; and
WHEREAS, their mission to develop confident, successful leaders by promoting personal safety and security, as well as to build high moral standards that reflect acceptance and respect for all cultures is applaudable; and
WHEREAS, Dr. Thomas has worked diligently throughout his career and is applauded for devoting his time and expertise to educating and empowering our community through various programs and lessons. The Rambler Program focuses on preparing successful futures for children, youth and adults through teaching both, the physical and spiritual aspects, of martial arts and self-defense; and
WHEREAS, Dr. Thomas has a long history of involvement as an active member in our community where he has taught and volunteered for many years. He has received many awards including rank under the General Chai of Korea and the World Korean Martial Arts Union. His excellence in Martial Arts has earned him black belts in five different Martial Arts styles.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JACK B. JOHNSON, COUNTY EXECUTIVE FOR PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, MARYLAND, do hereby recognize Tae Kwon Do Ramblers Self-Defense Systems: We Lead by Example and the dedicated leadership of Dr. Clifford L. Thomas. FURTHER, I extend best wishes to Dr. Thomas in all of his future endeavors.
The United States Head Of Family Martial Arts Association (USHOFMAA) held its second International Hall of Honor - Hall of Champions awards ceremony and dinner on Saturday, November 18. Earlier in the afternoon, several of the internationally known martial artists who traveled to the grand event to receive their awards demonstrated their impressive skills and those of their students by graciously holding seminars for the public in Toyama Ryu Japanese sword (Dr. Kevin Hufford), professional refereeing (Sr. Master Joseph Cooper), tae pyung forms seminar (Grandmaster Sy Cheatham), Chinese art of push hands (Sifu Abdulmuhsiy Abjurrahman), cane techniques (Grandmaster Mark Shuey), and introduction to Bilalian Ryu Jujitsu (Dr. Abdul Hakim Bilal). Martial arts vendors displayed their wares at a trade show, selling items ranging from martial arts publications to statues, swords, and other martial arts equipment to natural herbs/herbal medicines.
In the evening, the lion dance (Wong's School of Chinese Boxing) and Korean drummers opened the awards ceremony, followed by the International Hall of Champions - Hall of Honor induction ceremonies hosted by USHOFMAA's Dr. Joe Parrish, President, and Dr. Clifford Thomas, Executive Vice President. The fact that the importance of the organization's work in the wider community has not gone unnoticed was underscored by the announcement that Mr. Martin O'Malley, Baltimore's outgoing mayor and Maryland's governor-elect, had proclaimed Saturday, November 18, in honor of the United States Head Of Family Martial Arts Association, and that the USHOFMAA would receive a proclamation at a Maryland government ceremony in January 2007. The star-studded event included the most elite martial artists from the area and other locations, including Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Puerto Rico, and Trinidad Tobago, several of whom presented awards from their organizations to Dr. Parrish. A special guest of honor was former heavyweight contender Randall "Tex" Cobb, a noted actor in such well-known movies as Raising Arizona, Uncommon Valor, Blind Fury, and The Golden Child, to name only a few, who was honored for his notable work in martial arts. The legendary Grandmaster Jack Stern was honored at this event as well, which also marked the illustrious return of Grandmaster Conde to the Washington-Baltimore area. These were just a few of the outstanding martial artists who were honored.
At least 300 people, including the awardees and their guests, enjoyed the award presentations and the banquet. In addition to the Tae Kwon Do Ramblers Self-Defense Systems, some of the schools represented included the Avengers, Bantu, Bilalian Ryu, Little Tiger Ryu, M.A. Unity, NTF, and Simba Do Jang. Dr. Thomas and several members of the Ramblers received awards at the banquet. Dr. Thomas received the Elite Grandmaster of Honor and Legion of Honor awards, and adult students Gregory Clement, Cedric Davis, Susan McCutchen, and Clara Simpson received the Executive Martial Arts Award of Dedication, while Patricia Wilson received the Martial Arts Support and Dedication Award. His students and other Rambler family members humbly thank Dr. Thomas for nominating them for the USHOFMAA awards, which they were pleased and honored to receive at this prestigious event, particularly in the presence of such noteworthy international martial artists.