The East St. Louis branch of the NAACP held its 58th annual Freedom Fund Awards banquet on Oct. 21. The purpose of my letter is two-fold. First, I want to commend the banquet leaders including the branch president, the Rev. Johnny Scott, banquet chairman Kahalah Dixon Clay, Executive Director Charlotte Ottley, military honoree chairman Stanley Franklin and the entire committee for having chosen to focus the awards event on saluting our military heroes and community heroes. Second, I want to thank and congratulate the honorees.
As a member of the U.S. Selective Service System board, I am keenly aware that our country is protected at home and abroad by the armed forces' volunteer members. And so it was inspiring to witness the impressive NAACP awards event that paid tribute to such military heroes as: Lt. Gen. Darren W. McDew, commander of the 18th Air Force at Scott Air Force Base; Capt. Levicy Crawford, U.S. Air Force assistant staff judge advocate; Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Gordon Bush; Retired Lt. Col. Walter Chase; VFW Post 3480 Commander Doran Beckwith; American Legion Commander John Holman; and several other military honorees.
The special tribute to the famed Tuskegee Airmen Hugh White Chapter had poignant personal meaning for me because several of these honorees had been my classmates at Vashon High School. Also, tributes to community heroes retired judge Milton Wharton, Urban League CEO James Buford and Ameren Illinois President and CEO Richard Mark had particular meaning for me because of their contributions that enhance the quality of life for all of us.
Katie H. Wright
East St. Louis