By Edie Johnson
Ed Gaines III paused for a moment and gathered his thoughts when I asked him, “You must be SO proud of your son, Ed Gaines IV, who was accepted to West Point, where he will attend in June, after finishing school at Farragut Military Academy in Florida. Ed Senior said “Proud doesn’t even come close…I need a bigger word. I can’t even think of a word that shows how I feel.” Ed Junior said he got the guidance to become a West Point candidate from his parents. “When I was 8 years old and watched the cadets on TV, I told my mom and dad, “That’s the school I want to go to.” They told him that if that was what he wanted to do he needed to show he was a leader, “Be a leader, and be a captain in sports.” In JROTC he learned more, and repeated his desire to go to West Point. Ed said “Then my Mom called me and said “If yu really want to go to West Point, you should go to a military school first.” And that’s how this now 19-year-od ended up at Admiral Farragut Academy where he became Captain of both the Swim and Lacrosse teams. On March 18 he received a message from his liaison officer that he’d been invited to West Point admissions, and will continue his education there beginning June 28. Continuing in his father’s footsteps, Ed said that eventually he wants to be Military Police, the kind that guards bases and keeps people safe around the world.
But this story has more to tell. His father, Ed III, shared that he had grown up in very poor conditions in the Harlem projects. He ran away from home, eventually got back in school, worked very hard and received a football college scholarship. He never stopped working and climbing up the success and respectability ladder. Now he is a New York State Police Investigator, assigned to Governor Cuomo’s Protection Unit. Now he’s been on the protection unit for almost 19 years and protects all visiting dignitaries along with the Governor. Ed Senior said that the point he is making is that if you work hard, do the right things and build a good reputation, not only do you become respected yourself and set an example for other family members and friends…… your family can build on that foundation from generation