By Kyle Siegel
The Sedalia/Pettis County chapter of the NAACP held its annual NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet on Saturday, April 14, at the Sedalia Best Western.
There was a nice turnout for the event, with 81 tickets being sold.
The master of ceremonies for the evening was Jeffrey Boggs and musical numbers were performed by Pastor Ron Tuley and Kathryn Rayford.
During the event the NAACP recognized Salvation Army Major Mark Haslett with their prestigious Man of the Year Award. Haslett was awarded with a plaque for the work he does for the community and the NAACP.
“This is great. It is quite an honor. God bless you and thank you for all your help,” Haslett said while accepting the award.
During the event Norma Poindexter was introduced as the guest speaker for the evening.
Poindexter, formerly Norma Gravitt, is a Sedalia native that moved away to Atlanta. Poindexter has overcome many barriers in her lifetime to become the woman she is today.
During her speech, Poindexter mentioned that from 1989 to 1996, she went though a lot of things that she was not proud of. She had been in trouble for drugs and stealing.
“I thank God for my mother. My Father, who was such a strong man, he always told me I was better than that,” Poindexter said.
Poindexter’s many troubles led her to prison, and during her time in prison she turned to God.
“As closer as I drew to the Lord, he helped my see who I was,” she said.
During her time in prison, Poindexter began to study law to help fellow inmates get their children back.
Poindexter is a graduate from the University of West Georgia, where she received a master’s degree.
Poindexter spoke of reflecting on her past.
“I look back at my past and think it is just that, the past. I thank God today for what he has done for me,” she said.
She added, “Education is important. Education will help you in your future. Success is good, especially if you come from rock bottom.”
During the banquet, Dr. Ryan Edwards was recognized for his support of the NAACP.
Edwards, a lifetime member of the NAACP, donated $500 that provided funds for one of the two scholarships that were awarded during the evening.
“I really appreciate him. We need more people that are willing to step up and give,” NAACP Secretary Ida Shobe said.
Two $500 scholarships were awarded to two young ladies. Kimberly Cline, a S-C senior, and Patrice Sims, a senior in Columbia, were both awarded the scholarships.
Sims plans on attending the University of Missouri-Kansas City to receive a degree in nursing. Cline plans on attending SFCC for two years and then transfer to a four-year college to study pre-med.
The money raised at the event goes to a number of important services.
Funds raised go to help feed the hungry, provide medication to those who can’t afford it, and a wide variety of charitable services. Photos by Randy Kirby, Sedalia News Journal.