In observance of African American History Month, PJM employees volunteered to gather and share information about their personal heroes. Look for additional postings from more PJM employees throughout the month.
Yonas K. Habtemichael, engineer – System Planning
When asked how he was influenced by his hero, Habtemichael said:
My hero is an American comedian, actor, author, television producer, educator, musician and activist – William Henry “Bill” Cosby, Jr. . Cosby is well-known for producing and starring in the 1980s sitcom The Cosby Show which highlighted the experiences and growth of an African American family. The show was unprecedented since it was the first show to portray an intelligent and affluent African American family with two college educated, financially successful parents – a lawyer and a doctor. Cosby used his creativity and humor to produce a revolutionary sitcom which demonstrated to America that African Americans and other ethnicities could also achieve and live the “American dream”. Though not as visible as he was before, Cosby is still very active in efforts to uplift the African American community. He tirelessly urges African American parents to focus on education, self-respect, self-improvement and good moral behavior for their children. Though Cosby’s message is directed to African Americans, the principles he communicates are applicable to any family regardless of ethnic background – a significant reason that Cosby is my hero.
Ernest Owens, master dispatcher – Dispatch
According to Owens, Grambling State University football coach Doug Williams is his hero because Williams was a pioneer of new beginnings. Williams was the first African American quarterback to start and win a Super Bowl, among many other accomplishments.
In 1988, Williams beat out Hall-of-Famer John Elway and the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXII, becoming the first and only African American to win a Super Bowl as a starting quarterback. He threw four touchdown passes in the second quarter to lead the Redskins to a 42-10 victory; he was named the Super Bowl most valuable player.