Service efforts honored at annual celebration in Stockbridge


Crowds gathered in Stockbridge over the weekend to honor the efforts of past generations, and to recognize those who are keeping a positive tradition alive for the future.

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Red Oak United Methodist Church hosted the fourth annual Stockbridge Community African-American Heritage Celebration Saturday. Approximately 400 attendees at the standing-room-only event, which Stockbridge Mayor Pro Tem Alphonso Thomas hailed as a chance “to recognize a few individuals making a difference” in the area.

“While they don’t serve or work for the recognition, it is an honor to thank them for their contribution,” said Thomas.

Additional co-hosts for the celebration were: the church’s pastor, the Rev. Dr. Jacqueline Rose-Tucker; the Rev. Jacqueline Johnson, Pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church; and Shana Thornton of “Let’s Talk America.”

Pastor Spencer T. O’Neal of Global Christian Ministries delivered the keynote address for the occasion. The program also featured a spoken word performance by Debra Wells and Steaven Misher, a performance by the Stockbridge High School Centre Stage theatre group, and music by 9-year-old Kelsey Bunn.

“It was as if each person performing, singing or speaking was on fire!” said Vanessa Holiday, who was among those in attendance. “Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better than the last person, it did!”

Fourteen individuals at local churches received “Unsung Hero” awards for their work in various community projects in Stockbridge in 2014.

Councilman Thomas received a Civic Leadership Award from Henry County District V Commissioner Bruce Holmes, and Janet Turner was given a Humanitarian Service Award. State Sen. Emanuel Jones received an Excellence in Leadership Award, and Carrie Mae Hambrick was posthumously honored with the Stockbridge Historical Footprint Award.