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HomeNewsLocal newsWheatley Center Celebrates 50 Years of Resilience and Community Spirit

Wheatley Center Celebrates 50 Years of Resilience and Community Spirit

Wheatleys stand together as they enjoy the celebrations. (Source photo by Joshua Crawford Barry)

The Wheatley Center, a beloved commercial hub on St. Thomas, marked its 50th anniversary Saturday with a festive event that showcased its resilience and deep-rooted connection to the community. Despite enduring a fire and several Category 5 hurricanes since its inception in the 1970s, the center has stood the test of time, evolving into a bustling spot where residents gather for shopping, socializing, and more.

The celebration, held in the center’s parking lot, was a heartfelt tribute to the spirit of St. Thomas. Families and children reveled in activities like Jenga and cornhole, transforming the usually busy space into a playground of joy and laughter. Disc jockey Tony T kept the energy high with his excellent music selection, while entertainment was further enriched by the performances of Happy Time.

The event was graced by the presence of the Wheatley family—Luana, Maurice, and Henry Wheatley—whose legacy continues to shape the center. Property managers Anthony Chaline and Alexandria Holder were also on hand, ensuring the event ran smoothly and reflecting on the center’s rich history and promising future.

A significant aspect of the celebration was the impressive lineup of sponsors who contributed to the event’s success. These included The Fruit Bowl, Doctors Choice Pharmacy, A+ Education Supplies, Supreme Media & Print, Kingdom Prayer & Power Ministries, Silk Greenery, Liberty PRVI, Paradise Party Decor, Strictly the Best Clothing, Marianne’s, Homemade Taste Restaurant, Manar Pet Supplies, Wings on Fire, Beauty Royal Group, and Sanabil Bakery. Their support underscored the strong network of businesses that the Wheatley Center nurtures within the community.

Though the event was momentarily halted by a sudden downpour, the rain did little to dampen the spirits of those present. Participants enjoyed themselves thoroughly until the weather intervened, a testament to the vibrant and resilient community spirit.

A highlight of the event was a generous donation of $1,000 to the Boys and Girls Club, symbolizing the Wheatley Center’s ongoing commitment to giving back to the community that has supported it through the decades. This gesture reflects the center’s enduring role not just as a commercial entity but as a pillar of community support and development.

As the Wheatley Center looks ahead to the next 50 years, it remains a symbol of resilience and community spirit on St. Thomas. Its history of overcoming adversity and its dedication to fostering a sense of togetherness are qualities that will undoubtedly continue to define its legacy.

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