Area business leaders honored
Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 16, 2008
NATCHEZ — The night was filled with applause and praise as the 2008 Natchez Business and Civic League award recipients were honored and congratulated.
The awards banquet Friday night began by honoring high school students with the youth awards.
Youth award winners were Leonard Andrew Lucas, Michelle Marie Winn and Summer ShaTerra Bailey.
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Lucas is a student at Cathedral High School with a 3.4 GPA and is 12th in his class. He has been on honor roll for all four years of high school and is involved in a multitude of extracurricular activities.
Winn is a student at Natchez High School, a member of NAACP, the Mayor’s Youth Council and National Honor Society, among others. She’s the senior class president and plays the saxophone.
Bailey attends Cathedral High School. She has a 4.0 GPA, was a National Achievement finalist for 2008, a member of the cheerleading squad, Key Club, National Honor Society and more.
The George F. West Man of the Year Award went to Melvin Demby. Demby was described as a man who wears many hats. Michael Winn, former NBCL president, said Demby is the deacon of his church and owns a distinguished business.
The Alice Felix Woman of the Year award was given to Vivian E. Graham. Graham owns her own jelly and jam-making business and is a hospital volunteer.
The Willie S. Scott Civic award was given to Ser Seshs Ab Heter- C.M. Boxley. Boxley is responsible for extensive work on the Forks of the Road.
Winn described Boxley as a pit bull when it comes to achieving his goals.
“When he locks in, he’s not going to tear loose until the task is finished,” Winn said.
Calvin Butler received the President’s Award.
Joyce Coulston accepted a separate President’s Award in honor of her late husband, Willie Coulston.
Andrew Calvit, president of NBCL, was given the Natchez Business and Civic League Honor, recognizing his three years of service.
The Delta Sigma Theta business awards were given to Winn Pharmacy and International Gifts and Novelty.
The theme of the evening was “Globalization: A New Mindset for the 21st Century.”
Globalization is a challenge that demands constant effort to stay up to speed with in the 21st century, the speaker said.
Col. Freddie Brown, the guest speaker, gave advice on how to face this challenge in Natchez.
First, he said it is important to stay strong and supportive.
“Mayor (Phillip) West has a vision and we have to support that vision,” he said.
He said West faces many challenges as a mayor, but has a plan for the city and its Natchez citizens’ duty to support him.
He said it important to understand the processes of city officials and without that, the process and the city will fade away.
Businesses, he said, will also fade away if not for the support of citizens. He advised Natchez citizens to support local businesses.
To look to the future and globalization, he said people need to instill children with education and discipline.
“Our children are the future,” Brown said. “We have to eliminate the drugs, we have to eliminate the killing.”
He said that children need to be raised in a way that they do not live in fear.
“Do not be afraid to guide and mentor our children,” Brown said.
Another key word in globalization is sacrifice.
Brown spoke about the 57-mile trek from Selma to Montgomery that was made in the 70s.
He spoke of the sacrifice that was made by those people so today the black community can stand strong. But the need for sacrifice is still in the community, he said.
“In order to deal with global challenges we face in the 21st century, there are going to be sacrifices that we’re going to have to make,” he said.
“Each of you, keep the dream alive and don’t let anyone hinder you in your goals to bring Natchez into the 21st century.”
The NBCL is an organization of black businessmen and women.