In my over 30 years of coaching football, basketball, softball with boys and girls in Hoboken, I have had the honor of meeting thousands of kids. Each kid I have engaged I have attempted to inspire and focus their efforts to be disciplined. The most rewarding experience for any coach is to watch a child realize their potential and actualize it. This is why I am especially proud to endorse Carmelo G. Garcia for the New Jersey State Assembly. Mr. Garcia was a catalyst in making my Mama Mary Johnson’s dream a reality in providing the city a state of art field where all children can come and recreate.
For as long as I have known him, Carmelo has always been a kid that did not let obstacles and naysayers stand in his way. From the short 8th grader with his unorthodox jump shot playing for Connors school, playing for my mother’s whiffle ball team or through his tenure on Hoboken High Swim team, Carmelo always worked harder in getting better. And although he faced overwhelming circumstances as a young father, his commitment to excellence drove him to higher education while others would have quit.
I have watched Mr. Garcia grow from a boy to a man. I have seen firsthand all of his accomplishments: he graduated from Seton Hall with B.A. received his Masters from Stevens Institute of Technology, became the first and youngest minority Director in the History of the City of Hoboken, first former resident of the Housing Authority to serve as its Executive Director, he has made great changes on the Board of Education, and most impressively remains a committed coach and father. I am proud to call Carmelo Garcia an example of what can be accomplished through diligence and dedication. He should be embraced by all as a faithful son of this great city.
Finally, although there are a multitude of accomplishments I could continue to point out that share his resume of milestones, the most critical I would like to point to my first love—open space for children. Nowhere was Carmelo’s vision more pronounced than the Mama Johnson field at the Housing Authority. While others said it couldn’t be accomplished, and politicians tried to present obstacles, Carmelo stayed true to his vision and turned the worst field in Hoboken to the absolute best. Just drive by on any spring softball afternoon or night to watch the young professionals playing kickball or softball on that field, which serves as a place for all Hoboken residents to enjoy.
Whatever the politics of the day might be, I am honored to support someone I can trust for the State Assembly. Carmelo Garcia is a shining example for all residents to be proud of in this diverse and outstanding community. Keep working hard Carmelo and represent Hoboken as you always have; to the best of your ability.
Coach Vinny Johnson