By Rob Schuette, The Real McCoy Staff
People should live their dreams and encourage everyone else to
pursue and follow their dreams in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King
Jr., said the installation's Black History Month guest speaker.
Evrod Cassimy, a television
reporter and rhythm and blues singer, tells the audience about
his dreams and inspirations during a Black History Month
observance at McCoy.
(Photo by Allan Harding)
Evrod Cassimy, a reporter for a Madison television station and
a rhythm and blues singer, shared his talents and philosophies with
members of the Fort McCoy community during the Feb. 14 observance.
"You had a
dream," he said to the military members in the audience.
"You're in uniform, defending the country, and freedom of speech.
You're doing a great service so all others can have (and follow) their
Cassimy said he dreamed of becoming a singer to touch and
inspire other people. It was difficult to balance that with going to
He worked full-time from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. From 6-10 p.m., he went
to school, where he graduated on time with a degree in broadcast
journalism. And from 10 p.m.-2 a.m., he was doing all those things to
further his musical career -- writing songs, meeting with people, etc.
Now, he has the best of all worlds. He gets to work on his
music, which he uses to inspire others.
In his job as a broadcast journalism reporter, he can advocate
assignments to cover the stories of other people or programs that can
inspire or touch the community.
"I look at this as an empowering month," Cassimy
said. "It's not just about the Black community. People need to
put aside the negative stereotypes, and celebrate and focus on all of
the positive things all ethnic groups have contributed."
In his own case, Cassimy said several individuals had inspired
him throughout the years. His mother was the driving force behind many
of his accomplishments, including going to college in Chicago.
Michael Jackson served as a musical inspiration. Cassimy heard
Jackson's album "Thriller" in the second grade. Art Norman
of NBC 5 news in Chicago, a local institution in the third-largest
television market in the country, helped launch his television career.
Norman helped launch Oprah Winfrey by providing assistance to get her
program on the air on Chicago television.
Cassimy interspersed his presentation with performances of some
of the songs he has written. One honored his current girlfriend.
He chose Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" to pay
tribute to those in attendance for making freedom possible, as stated
in the line from the song. ".won't forget (the) ones who died and
gave that right to me."
The audience gave him a standing ovation.
The next observance at Fort McCoy will be from 11:30 a.m.-1
p.m. Tuesday, March 4 for Women's History Month. Elizabeth Burmaster,
the Wisconsin State Superintendent of Public Instruction, will be the
For more information, call the Equal Opportunity Office, which
sponsored the observance, at (608) 388-3246.