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Barnes named ABA citizen of the year

The Alabama Broadcasters Association has named businesswoman and philanthropist, Patricia “Sister Schubert” Barnes as its 2009 Citizen of the Year. Barnes, a native of Troy, is founder of Sister Schubert’s Homemade Rolls of Luverne and Horse Cave, Ky.

The ABA Citizen of the Year award is given annually to honor an Alabama citizen for distinguished public service and outstanding contributions to the well-being, prosperity and progress of the state.

Barnes accepted the honor during the annual ABA convention, May 14 through 17 at the Perdido Beach Resort in Orange Beach.

Barnes said she was very honored to receive the award and told the audience that she would do everything within her power to continue to be an ambassador for the state.

“This award is a special honor because it’s not just based on a business criteria,” Barnes said. “It’s also a humanitarian award and for the ABA to think that I’m deserving of it is a humbling experience.

“But nothing that I have achieved have I done on my own. The credit goes to the Good Lord. The recognition goes to Him. Without God, I would not have been able to accomplish anything in my life.”

Although Barnes has reached celebrity status as the founder and face of Sister Schubert’s Homemade Rolls, she said that she remains the same person she was growing up in Troy.

“Any success that has come my way has not changed who I am,” she said. “I don’t look at myself any differently and I don’t think those who know me do either. I feel privileged to have been given the opportunity to improve people’s lives through the success of Sister Schubert’s and the works of the Barnes Family Foundation.”

Barnes founded Sister Schubert’s Homemade Rolls in Troy in 1991. Her business actually started in her home kitchen when she began making homemade yeast rolls from her grandmother’s recipe.

“It all goes back to my grandmother,” Barnes said. “I think that it’s ironic that her ‘Everlasting Rolls’ have had such a huge impact and, hopefully, will for some time to come.”

In 2000, stock in Sister Schubert’s Homemade Rolls was sold to Lancaster Colony Corporation. While retaining an active leadership role as founder and vice president of Sister Schubert’s, Barnes set up the Barnes Family Foundation to fund her philanthropic mission. To date, the foundation has distributed more than $2.3 million to charities, scholarships, historical preservation and work with abandoned children.