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Alpha Kappa Alpha pays respects to month

Cathia Cook and Calvin Dunford were not cut from any ordinary patterns. They are extraordinary people.

In celebration of Black History Month, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority singled Cook and Dunford out and recognized them for their willingness to venture into areas that others might find too challenging or too difficult or just downright too scary.

Cook owns and operates two Waffle House locations in Troy and Dunford is a single father raising three sons, ages 16, 17 and 18.

“Calvin Dunford and his sons are our adoptive family,” said Vicki Robinson, KAK sister. “We adopted the Dunfords about two years ago because Calvin is doing an outstanding job raising his three sons and we wanted to do what we could to help him out. Family adoption is one of our chapter’s, (Kappa Pi Omega), platforms. We assist the family during holidays, with groceries and offer Calvin hints on how to raise his sons on his own. He’d doing a great job.”

For Cook, the thought of owning and operating two 24-hour “waffle” establishments was a piece of “pancake.”

“I was up for it,” Cook said, with a smile. “I was in the military for 13 years and I was always looking for a venture.”

Cook’s take-charge attitude was developed at home and fostered by Uncle Sam.

After her tour of duty, she worked with Waffle House on the corporate level and learned the ropes. She also learned that she could work 24-7 and enjoy it.

Waffle House opportunities come in areas and, although Cook knew nothing about the Troy area, she chose it over Delaware.

“Real estate is cheaper in Troy than in Delaware,” she said, laughing. “Being in the military, I was used to moving. I’d just up and go. So I packed up and came. I learned that Troy existed when I came.”

The Waffle House on the south side of Troy opened in 2001.

“Nine months later, I had a ‘baby,’” Cook said, laughing. “I opened the other Waffle House on North 231.”

Cook said there are definitely challenges with a business that is open 24 hours seven days a week.

“But I really see that as a positive,” she said. “People know that we are open 24 hours and that sets us apart from other restaurant-type businesses. Waffle House has gained a reputation for being open and people know they can always get a hot meal at Waffle House no matter the day or the time.”

When it’s three o’clock in the morning and it’s dark and raining and cold, the Waffle House radiates warmth and friendliness and extends an invitation to come in and sit a spell.

That’s what Cathia Cook likes about what she does and she welcomes the challenges and opportunities of a 24-7 business.

“This is my opportunity and I want to make the best of it,” she said.

Catherine Jordan, sorority sister, said Kappa Pi Omega is proud to recognize two very deserving members of the Troy and Pike County communities.

“We are a social/service organization that is made up of females who are graduates of four-year colleges and want to do something positive for their communities,” she said. The sorority has 57 members from the Wiregrass area, including Troy and Brundidge.