Under the leadership of Branch President, Reverend Dr. Lenwood Reed, some 220 people across Crockett and other counties in Tennessee, were present, on Saturday, October 26 at the Crockett County National Guard Armory for the Crockett County National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Freedom Fund Banquet.
Using the theme “Change Moments into Movements”, guests were encouraged to think beyond a single issue and make it a movement for change. The Jurnett Brothers of Maury City presented the colors and the pledge of allegiance was led by county veteran services representative Larry Simmons.
Immediately following, guests sang along with an inspiring video of The Negro National Anthem, Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing. County community leaders presented with service awards were Victor Claybrooks, Jr., emerging leader; Lafrancine “Peaches” Brown, humanitarian; Martha Edmonds, meritorious service and Larry Simmons received the highest honor of Freedom Fighter Award.
Banquet speaker, Alexis Cole, Miss Black Tennessee 2019 told her story of changing a moment into a movement by encouraging everyone to be true and be you. She appealed to the youth present, especially young girls, encouraging them not to allow low self-esteem or other obstacles to define you. Miss Cole also entertained the audience by playing her alto saxophone.
Fitzgerald Mann, Haywood County guest said, “the event was phenomenal; the number of youth present was astounding.”
Featured speaker Jerry Reese, former senior vice president and general manager for the New York Giants football team, told his story of changing a moment into a movement. Mr. Reese brought and showed his two super bowl rings to the audience, and detailed his experiences in high school, college all the way to serving as General Manager for the New York Giants. The branch presented him with a $500.00 donation to his youth foundation, Team4Success in Lauderdale County.
Guests enjoyed a delicious meal, prepared by Lane College catering under the direction of James Sylvester. Freedom Fund Co-chairs Dr. Robin Gadsden-Dupree and Dr. June Murry encouraged the audience to take the moment of attending the banquet and be inspired by the community and the speakers to do more.
Branch first Vice President, Kevin Ellison and Membership Chair, Jerrel Little asked the audience to join the Crockett County NAACP Branch.
Dr. Reed said, “We are grateful for the support of our partners, sponsors and patrons. Pinnacle Partners were; JAHO, Dr. David Curwen, Bucks Chapel Baptist Church, Maury City Community Church of God in Christ, The Jessie T. Sr., and Farrar Apple Memorial Scholarship, The TNNAACP and the Jackson Madison County NAACP.
“Torchbearer Sponsors were The Jackson-Madison County African-American Chamber of Commerce, Golden Circle Insurance Agency, Baskerville Funeral Home, New First Baptist Church, Central High School Alumni Associates and Wee Care Preschool.
“Trailblazer sponsorships were Dyersburg State Community College, Gibson Electric Membership Corporation, The K.A.P.P.A Foundation.
“Pioneers Sponsors were; The City of Bells, Bank of Crockett, Peoples Bank, Jasper Taylor IV, Attorney, Jim Emison, Attorney and Mansfield’s Grocery.
“Patrons were Brian Yancy of Lake City, TX, Amanda Pullum Dammel of Sarasota, FL, Mr. and Mrs. Zachary Dupree of Nashville, Mae Helen Pullum Jones of Indianapolis, IN, Andre Yancy of Washington, D.C., Vernell Anderson of Jackson, Town of Maury City, Donnie King of Jackson and Tommie Gibbs of Brownsville.