Black History Scholarship Program honors local businesses

Published 11:00 pm Monday, February 10, 2014

The Outreach Endtime Deliverance Church north of Troy hosted its 15th annual Black History Scholarship Program and Banquet on Sunday night with the focus of “keeping the dream alive.” The program is held to benefit a scholarship given each year to Pike County area students to offset expenses at the college of their choice.

Six local businessmen and businesswomen, Jean Guice of Jean’s Day Care, Jacquelyn Williams Patterson of Jacquelyn’s Design and Graphics, Ellouise Pennington of Ellouise’s Day Care, James Baker of Baker’s Mechanic Shop, Maureen Bean of Bean’s Daycare and James Still of Still Logging Co., were honored at the program.

Program Coordinator and Founder Dorothy Townsend called these six “history-makers.”

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“We call these honorees our history-makers,” . “Each one of them took a chance and opportunity to strike it on their own. Everyone here took a risk and kept their own dreams alive.”

Every business honored on Sunday night has been in business for more than 20 years—no small accomplishment in uncertain economic times. Troy Mayor Jason Reeves gave each honoree a certificate of commendation from the city for their accomplishments. “What this program has accomplished is a great thing,” Reeves said. “In 15 years, you have provided scholarships to 25 students. You’re providing young people with an example of what our community needs to be.”

Reeves said Pike County could not succeed without a common sense of community between all its citizens. “I had the opportunity to be on the stage with Dr. Bernice King earlier this week,” Reeves said. “She gave a moving talk that focused on ‘we.’ We are all in this together. The only way we can make it as a community is if we all work together.”

The Rev. Stanley Gillis was the featured speaker at the event. Gillis’s talk focused on the need for young people to know their history. “As people of color. We have a lot to celebrate,” Gillis said. “We have been through the storm. God has brought us a long, long way.”

Gillis said it was important to celebrate the struggles of those who came before the current generation. “We need to celebrate all the things our mothers and forefathers have done for us,” Gillis said. “My prayer was for this room to be full of young people. Young people need to find out where we come from. Throughout the years, so many of our brothers and sisters have fought for the rights we have today.”

Gillis said conditions have improved so much since the start of the Civil Rights campaign so many years ago. “If you get up, go to school and conduct yourself in a proper manner, then the sky is the limit,” Gillis said. “Now, your God-given dreams are only kept alive as long as you believe in them. Nobody can hold you down except for yourself.”