4th Annual Black List Awards honors 13 people

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The Dorchester Banner/Susan M. Bautz
The Rev. George Ames spoke passionately about “Change has come to Dorchester County.” From left: State Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes, Hurlock attorney Robert Merriken, and Lamonte E. Cooke.

 

HURLOCK — The 100 plus people who braved the weather and dire travel predictions to attend the 4th Annual Black List Awards at North Dorchester Middle School agreed it was worth the effort. The event, sponsored by the Hurlock Ministers & Citizens, honored people who have served their communities with distinction over the years. It was as much a foot tapping, hand clapping old fashioned revival this year as it was last year.

The winter storm prevented keynote speaker Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford from crossing the Bay. The Rev. Charles Cephas, Ministers & Citizens group founder, was lavish in his praise of Republicans Rutherford and Gov. Larry Hogan who attended last year’s event. “It’s not a matter of Republican or Democrat, white or black,” he said. “Get someone in office who’s going to work for the people because if you’re not working for me, you’re not doing anything.” Rev. Cephas thanked the Lt. Governor who has toured Hurlock, met with community members, and listened to ongoing concerns about traffic safety at the town’s red light.

The refrain in a speech by much admired local celebrity the Rev. George Ames, was “Change has come to Dorchester County.” He mentioned Melvin Jews, the county’s first African American district court judge; his own 20 years as an Orphans’ Court judge; and Boyd Rutherford’s election as Lt. Governor.

Ashley Cephas and Jonathan Fletcher presented the 13 honorees, including:
• Mary Elizabeth Adams Jones retired in 2003 after 34 years of service with Dorchester County public schools. She was the business department chair, and assistant advisor to Future Business Leaders of America.

• Viola Lucille Hughes retired from the Dorchester County food services department in 2002. She is the 1992 recipient of Heaven 600’s Good Neighbor of the Year award and was named Mother of the Year in 2011 by the Dorchester Banner.

• Joyce Spratt, Hurlock’s Mayor, is a member of the Dorchester County Tourism Board and the Hurlock Lions Club, owns and operates a successful business, and is an active member of the Unity Washington Methodist Church.

• Roger Harrell is the chief public health officer for Dorchester County. He received the 2009 Clara Barton award for his work with the Red Cross and the 2014 Cambridge rotary club Lifetime Achievement Award. He lectures at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.

• Peter Singleton retired as director of the North Dorchester Middle School Bands after 41 years in the post. He is former president of Dorchester Educators, adjunct professor at Sojourner Douglas college, and retired Sgt. 1st class of the 229th MD National Guard Army Band.

• Dawn M. L. Chandler was named Teacher of the Year in 2008-09. She has served the children of Dorchester County for 23 years and currently teaches pre-kindergarten at Hurlock Elementary School.

• LaMonte E. Cooke has been with the Queen Anne’s County Department Of Corrections since 1987. He is vice chairman of the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commission and is a certified police and corrections supervisory instructor.

• Laurie Maxwell is a 2006 graduate of Johns Hopkins University with an MBA in business administration. She serves as finance director for Chesapeake Urology Associates.

• Walter Weldon Black Jr. attended Morgan State University on a full scholarship and served as a 1st lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He is on the executive committee of Blake-Blackstone American Legion Post #77 in Easton.

• Walter E. Chase served for 38 years with the Easton Police Department and in 1995 was named the town’s first black chief of police. He is the 1st vice president and a lifetime member of the Talbot County NAACP.

• Gary Clough is a Vietnam veteran and served as finance officer of the Hurlock American Legion Post 243. The owner of Future Builders, he is a “friend to all and has been a role model for overcoming discrimination and prejudice.”

• The Rev. Keith K. Cornish served in the Air Force for 10 years, as president and vice president for the Good Shepherd Association for 20 years, and as pastor of the Church Creek-Cambridge charge for the past 17 years.

• Mamie Stanley is a lifelong Dorchester County resident. A retired school bus driver, Ms. Stanley celebrated her 98th birthday in November 2014. She has served as First Lady, Sunday school teacher, lay speaker, and evangelist.

The Ministers & Citizens honor guard, a group of impressively dressed young men, welcomed guests, acted as ushers, and presented plaques to the honorees plus floral bouquets for the women.

Master of ceremonies Minister Javonte Sanders moved the program along and introduced the talent that continuously rocked the auditorium. Darrence Slacum performed in “whiteface” to rollicking gospel music as he mimed the words. Singers included Tomeka Watkins, Sisters of God, Lords of Greatness, and Rosezette Dennis.

At the conclusion of the official ceremony, Ms. Hughes told Rev. Cephas “it was an honor for you to honor me tonight. I appreciated it so much I made you a cake.” The celebration continued with food and fellowship.

Susan Bautz is a freelance writer for the Dorchester Banner.

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