Chamber to hand out honors at annual banquet Oct. 24


Four citizens, a bank and a local organization will be honored at the Greater Grambling Chamber of Commerce Annual Community Contributions Banquet Thursday, Oct. 24 at the Ruston Civic Center. 

The evening begins at 6 p.m. with a wine and cheese reception and a silent auction followed by the banquet at 7 p.m. Individual tickets are $30 and tables seating eight are $210.

 “This is an opportunity to recognize individuals and organizations who consistently contribute to the betterment of the Grambling community,” said Barbara McIntyre, chamber president.  “Quite frankly, I am talking about money and time. Without a doubt, they have done it.”

The title sponsor for this year’s event is Dr. Rhonda Pruitt of True Care Dental in Grambling.

Each award is named for longtime Grambling area citizens and organizations, past and present, which have made major contributions to the advancement of the community.

“Contributions is the key word in the title of this banquet,” McIntyre said. “The banquet is not only about publicly recognizing those we honor, it is also about honoring those who have made extraordinary contributions to the Grambling community. They are the ones for whom the awards are named.”

Awards and recipients are:

ν Attorney John Belton will receive the Calvin A. Wilkerson Award for overall achievements. John Belton is a career prosecutor who has dedicated 22 years to serving the community as a courtroom advocate and is currently a practicing attorney with Belton & Belton, Attorneys at Law. 

Belton is associated with numerous community and civic groups (past and present) including the Greater Grambling Chamber of Commerce, DART, Council for a Better Louisiana, Boys and Girls Clubs of North Louisiana, and chairman of the Eddie G. Robinson Museum Commission among others. He and his wife Alana have an interest in several successful businesses in the area as well. 

The late Calvin A. Wilkerson was a local businessman also active in the social and political affairs of the community. He was elected to the Lincoln Parish School Board and appointed to the University of Louisiana Board of trustees among other honors.

ν Hazel Hunter will receive the Thelma Smith Williams 

Community Service Award. She is a Lincoln Parish police juror who is also involved in many community projects and organizations, among them are New Rocky Valley Baptist Church where she serves as president of the Deaconess Ministry, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and The Links, Inc.  

Thelma Smith Williams is a retired university professor and high school teacher who worked at Grambling State and Grambling State Laboratory High School. As Grambling’s unofficial historian, she has written a book on the community and has an extensive collection of historical document on the community and university.

ν Bank of Ruston will receive the A.D. Smith Business Award. Bank of Ruston has been an active contributor to many Grambling community activities.

A.D. Smith was a longtime Grambling businessman and mayor pro tem who was active in many community and church activities.

ν Pauline Lee will receive the R.W.E. Jones Education Award. Lee is the retired head librarian at Grambling State University. She is an active participant in many Grambling community activities including serving on the Founder’s Week committee where she coordinates the annual breakfast honoring GSU founder Charles P. Adams. She is a frequent volunteer for many community organizations including the A.C. Lewis Library. 

R.W.E Jones was the second president of GSU during the growth years when the school added new facilities, four-year bachelor degrees, expanded academics, and athletic and extracurricular programs

ν Annie Brown is the recipient of the L.D. Land Government Award. Brown, a former Lincoln Parish Police juror, is president of the Ruston Voter’s League, serves on the executive board of the Ruston NAACP and is active in many community organizations. 

L.D. Land was a longtime educator and Grambling community leader. A pioneer in Grambling and Lincoln Parish politics, Land was among the first group of blacks elected to the Lincoln Parish Police Jury under the single member district system.

For ticket and other information, contact Cathy Douglas, 274-2200; Nettie Goree, 247-8442; and Barbara McIntyre, 243-1858.