Chamber to honor local leaders


The fifth Annual Community Contributions Banquet sponsored by the Greater Grambling Chamber of Commerce will honor a local business, individuals, and two community groups Oct. 11 in the Ruston Civic Center. 

“We look forward each year to this opportunity to acknowledge the outstanding individuals, institutions, community groups and businesses that contribute to the vitality of our community,” said Barbara McIntyre, president of the Grambling chamber.  

Tickets are $30 and tables of eight are $210. The evening starts with a wine and cheese reception at 6 p.m. and the banquet begins at 7 p.m. 

The title sponsor for this year’s event is Dr. Rhonda Pruitt and True Care Dental in Grambling. Supporting sponsors are Entergy, American Legion Post 593 in Grambling and Attorney John Belton.

“With these awards we honor those in the past and the present,” McIntyre said.

“Our goal is to not only to honor those who make contributions every day, but also, we pay tribute to those on whose shoulders we stand.”

She said that is why each award is named for longtime Grambling citizens who have made major contributions to the advancement of the community. The 2012 awards and the recipients follow:

Dr. Mildred GallotR. W. E. Jones Education Award. Gallot is a retired Grambling State University professor who served as chair of the history department and wrote a book on the history of the university. She also served on the University of Louisiana System board of supervisors. The late R.W.E. Jones served as president of GSU for 41 years.

Mertrude Douglas – Thelma Smith Williams Community Service Award. Douglas retired as director of multicultural affairs at Louisiana Tech University.  She is president of the Monroe-Grambling Chapter of the Links. Thelma Smith Williams is a retired university professor and high school teacher who worked at GSU and the GSU Laboratory High School. As Grambling’s “unofficial historian,” she has written a book on the community and has an extensive collection of historical documents on the community and university.

Alicia Williams – L.D. Land Government Award. Williams is the Washington, D.C. office manager for U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu. She has served in administrative positions for former U.S. Sen. J. Bennett Johnson and former Louisiana Lt. Gov. Melinda Schwegmann. L.D. Land was one of the leaders in Grambling and Ruston who fought through the courts for single member districts in Lincoln Parish. He was also among the first blacks elected to the parish police jury.

Hill’s Grocery – A.D. Smith Business Award. The family-owned business has been an active participant in many community activities and a consistent supporter of Grambling chamber activities. The late A.D. Smith was a local businessman and on the Grambling City Council where served as mayor-pro tem. He was also active in numerous church and community affairs.

Special Recognition Awards go to the following:

Johnny Maxwell – local businessman and philanthropist. A native of Ruston, Maxwell established and for years operated Holiday Inn and Maxwell’s Restaurant. He has served on committees for both the Ruston and Grambling chambers. A longtime supporter of Grambling State University, he has worked with the Eddie G. Robinson Museum committee and has been a friend of the Robinson family for over 50 years.

Eldontá Osborne and the Boys & Girls Club – Osborne is executive director of the Boys and Girls Club program, which provides after school and other activities for area children. This successful program has operated at full capacity for the past four years serving more than 100 students per day.

The 40th Anniversary of the Formation of Single Member Districts in Lincoln Parish.  In 1972, single-member districts were instituted in Lincoln Parish, giving African Americans for the first time since Reconstruction representation on the police jury, the school board and local municipal legislative bodies.  

For ticket and sponsorship information, contact Cathy Douglas at 318-278-5505, Nettie Goree at 318-247-8442, or Barbara McIntyre at 318-243-1858.