BY JOYCE NANETTE JOHNSON, Staff Writer
The 2014 Men and Women of Distinction Awards Ceremony, sponsored by The Gathering of Women, was held Sun., April 13 at the St. Petersburg Country Club. It was a time to celebrate, honor and recognize the hard work and leadership of people who have made a positive impact in the city.
LaDonna Butler, member of The Gathering of Women, read the welcome from President Samantha Richardson.
“These are men and women who have made a significant and unique contribution in our communities by showing vision, creativity, determination and initiative,” Richardson wrote. Butler went on to read their president’s favorite quote: “Life is not measured by the number of breaths that we take but by the number of moments that take our breath away.”
In the welcome address it was noted that all of the recipients have one common link—helping others. A sentiment shared by honoree Clarence Scott, who recently retired as Leisure and Community Services administrator for the City of St. Petersburg.
“Working for more than 30 years as a public servant, community service became indicative of my being. Years ago I adopted the motto: ‘he aint heavy he’s my brother’ and it has been my lifelong goal to help others along my journey as a mentor and a friend,” Scott said.
Guest speaker Cheryl Y. Underwood energized the crowd with her message. She has a degree in nursing from Syracuse University and attended seminary in Atlanta, graduating with honors from the Interdenominational Theological Center with a Master of Divinity Degree.
Underwood encouraged the audience to “face the challenges of changing our future and organize for the common good.” She requested that we look at the person we want to be, then look at the person we are called to be and finally to look at the stark reality of who we really are.
Andrida McCall Hosey returned as Mistress of Ceremony. Her graciousness, wit, and warmth once again captured the crowd and kept the program moving forward. Her husband, Tampa Bay Times photographer Boyzell Hosey was also an honoree.
This year, the Young Women of Distinction Award was awarded to Majiah Antonique Powell. The award was created to pay tribute to the young women in the community who have demonstrated remarkable character, initiative, and commitment to serving their neighbors, strengthening their communities and acting as role models that all should strive to emulate.
Former Mayor Bill Foster was the recipient of the Gwen Reese Lifetime Achievement Award.
“To receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Gathering of Women is humbling enough,” Foster said. “But to receive an award named after Gwen Reese put it in another dimension. She’s my role model of people who make a difference every day.”
The organization also honored the 2014 Roger and Renee Ambrose Scholarship recipients: Caprece Thomas, Khalil Harris, Destiny Coleman, Azhana’ Sullivan and Willie McCalphin, III.
The 2014 Men and Women of Distinction Honorees are:
- Jai Hinson Arts — Cultural & Heritage Award
- Latrese Taylor — Health & Awareness Award
- Majiah Antonique Powell — Young Women of Distinction Award
- Pastors Joseph & Lieska Mitsch — Humanitarian Award
- Marlene Johnson — Education Training & Development Award
- Carole Kimpson Alexander — Entrepreneur & Innovation Award
- Lisa Wheeler-Brown — Community Activist & Leadership Award
- Clarence Scott — Outstanding Community Service Award
- Richard C. Guess — Spiritual Motivator Award
- Gail Eggeman — Volunteer, Advocacy, & Community Service Award
- Rev. Brian Brown — Spiritual Leadership Award
- Boyzell Hosey — Media & Communications Award
- Larry & Bettye Newsome — Business Professionalism Award
- Luke Williams — Community Building & Public Service Award
- Vyrle Davis — Posthumous Recognition Award
- Darryl Rouson — Special Recognition to the Florida House Representative
- Mayor Bill Foster — Gwen Reese Lifetime Achievement Award