It was the chance to sample some good food and celebrate folks in the community at the same time.
The Pi Omega Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. used the occasion of its Salute to Excellence Banquet to also award its annual scholarship to a deserving student.
The event was held in the Douglass Community Room of the V.O. Dobbins Sr. Complex on Saturday, September 29, 2012.
"This is the annual fundraiser for our scholarship," says Chapter Treasurer Mary Jordan. "Every year, we give a student a scholarship, and the banquet is our opportunity to raise funds for that, and also to honor folks in the community, folks that have contributed to the community, folks who have worked with us."
"It's been our tradition to celebrate Women of Excellence," she says, "but this year, we wanted to expand that because we indeed had men in the community that we wanted to honor as well. This year, we are honoring 'Persons of Excellence.' We combined both the scholarship fundraiser and our Celebration of Excellence."
Before the ceremony announcing the honorees, patrons got to enjoy traditional meals in the spirit of the four seasons in the African-American community. Turkey and dressing and foods from the Thanksgiving holiday celebrated the fall season, barbeque pork, cole slaw and deviled eggs were available for the 4th of July summer season, the spring season of Easter was celebrated with ham, green beans and potato salad, and winter was remembered by meatballs, veggie-fruit trays and cocktail smokies.
"We were lucky enough to pick a date for the banquet where everybody could come out, with so many events going on," says Mrs. Jordan. The people who come out and support us and our scholarship mission, help us celebrate the people that we are honoring."
This year's scholarship honoree is D-B grad Kelsie Dulaney, daughter of Michael and Kelly Dulaney, and granddaughter of Clara Dulaney. Kelsie is a student at ETSU, majoring in graphic design.
The 2012 Salute to Excellence honorees are:
In the field of Education, Mrs. Jan Mills Russaw, retired educator....
also, Dr. Keith John, professor and department chair at East Tennessee State University....
And, Ms. Chrsita Reid, educator at the Liberty Bell Middle School.
In the field of Economics and Business, the 2012 honoree is Mr. Stephen Dixon, Vice-President, Bank of Tennessee.
In the area of Community Outreach, Mr. Robert Lynn Whie, Chief PUblic Relations Officer at the Johnson City Power Board.
For Social Justice, the 2012 honoree is Mr. Calvin Sneed, news anchor at WTVC-TV NewsChannel 9 in Chattanooga, and the Webmaster for the Douglass Alumni website, www.sonsanddaughtersofdouglass.org, Kingsport.
And honoring a lifetime of achievement of volunteering in the Riverview Community and the city of Kingsport, community colunteer Mr. Van Dobbins Jr., retired, was present a lifetime achievement award.
"Sometimes, folks serve in the community doing their jobs," says Mrs. Jordan, "and a lot of times, they don't get much recognition. We want to recognize that they have continued to provide excellent service to our community behind the scenes, but definitely noticeable."
"We're very proud to do this type of recognition in our communities."