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The Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Legacy Awards

Honoree Major Dr. Henry Mack - Keynote Speaker Mayor Sharief

Honoree Major Dr. Henry Mack – Keynote Speaker Mayor Sharief

The Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Legacy Awards

Gala recognized and honored dozens of veterans this past Friday.

By Crystal Mathis of Press Release Marketing

     On Friday, November 10, 2017, the Broward County Section of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) hosted its first-ever Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Legacy Awards Gala at the Westin Hotel in Fort Lauderdale. With over 300 community leaders, stakeholders and influencers in attendance, the President of the Broward section, Laura Richardson, is extremely proud of the success of this year’s gala. Richardson says, “the gala took months of planning and support from local leaders.” In fact, keynote speaker Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief opened the gala with a powerful speech that was the talk of the night.

It was clear that NCNW committee members, Christine Baker, Linda Hughley, Lola Glenn, Rosalind Wilson, Lakeisha Grant, Femika Hill along with Laura Richardson is a dynamic team of focused and mission driven ladies. Collectively, the ladies went beyond their initial goal of recognizing five veterans and ultimately ended up honoring 16 veterans by having their military accomplishments read by Commissioners Margaret Bates and Beverly Williams who also presented the veterans with a plaque of achievement.

Amongst the honorees was Major Dr. Henry Mack. Dr. Mack who sat with a meek demeanor, a joyous smile and enjoyed his dinner dressed in full uniform complete with ribbons, pins and medals. As he made his way to the stage and the speaker read Dr. Mack’s accolades, a sense of pride permeated the room. Dr. Mack enlisted in 1947 and is a documented veteran of the Korean, Cold and Vietnam Wars. Recognized by the Department of Defense for promoting peace during the Cold War; it is astonishing that Dr. Mack was amongst the first African Americans assigned to the regular Army’s Caucasian units when the military was ordered to integrate. One could only imagine what Dr. Mack endured during his two decades of selfless military service.

The Gala also honored the founder of the NCNW, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune. It is well known that Dr. Bethune was an American educator, a civil rights leader and an inspiration to women all over the country. She served as a distinguished advisor to several American Presidents and championed for racial equality. She is quoted as saying, “The whole world opened to me when I learned to read.” Her granddaughter, Dr. Evelyn Bethune gave a personal account to the character of her grandmother, via video montage. Dr. Bethune is best known as the founder of, now, Bethune Cookman University; which she founded with $1.50, on an abandoned garbage dump lead only by her faith in God. Today the university is worth over $100 Million Dollars and serves as an institution of higher learning to thousands of students.

Dr. Evelyn Bethune concluded with, “Service is the highest call of duty,” which was well received, in the room full of veterans, with a mixture of both rousing applause and tears of gratitude. Guests were definitely inspired to continue their community service, which served a true testament that the legacy of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune lives and thrives today.


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