By Terry Rogers
On Saturday, May 6, the Milford-Slaughter Neck NAACP honored several local citizens at their annual Freedom Banquet at the Milford Senior Center. Four individuals were recognized for service to their community and five Community Church Awards were given due to their support of the NAACP.
Laura Becton was awarded the Community Achievement of Youth Award. The award is given to a young person in the community who promotes the activities of the NAACP. Ms. Becton is a president of the Milford-Slaughter Neck Youth NAACP Chapter. She is an athlete at Milford High School as well as a member of the Business Professionals of America, an organization she also leads as president.
Pastor Richard Portalin was recognized with the Community Leader Award at the banquet. Pastor Portalin founded the Multicultural Church as well as Hearts Unlimited along with his wife. The church, which is located on Northeast Front Street in the building that used to house the Boys and Girls Club, operates a Code Purple Shelter as well as a food and clothing bank. The organizations created by “Pastor Richie,” as he is known, offer health screenings, family fun days, youth activities and more for the community designed to end homelessness, help others in the area live better lives and promotes an understanding of diversity.
Reverend Jonathan Dukes, who founded the Word of Life Community Church in Lincoln, was given the Unsung Hero Award for his support of the NAACP. In addition to his church, Rev. Dukes also established the local Take it to the Streets Ministry, an organization dedicated to bridging the gap between those who need assistance and those who have been blessed enough to provide assistance.
Community Church Awards were given to Larry Potts, Bethel AME Church in Milford, Cassandra Young of Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church in Slaughter Neck, Hazel Palmer of New Shiloh FBH Church of God of the Americas in Ellendale, Loretta Benson of St. Paul UM Church in Milford and Jayla Curry-Smith of Mt. Enon Baptist Church in Milford.
The Lifetime Achievement Award at the banquet was given to Delores Price, the former Mayor of Ellendale for her lifetime of service to her community. She was a teacher in Milford School District for almost 33 years before becoming an instructor in environmental sciences at Delaware Nature Society. She served as secretary for the Ellendale Town Council before becoming the first African-American Mayor in the town. She retired from the position in 2011 after two terms. She was a member of the Ellendale Community Civic Improvement Association, a group that was instrumental in adding a centralized sewer system in the town as well as improvements to the drinking water for residents.
NAACP President, Sam Wylie, said that anyone interested can become involved in the NAACP by becoming either a youth or adult member. The NAACP gives a voice to those advocating for equality and civil rights. In addition, the organization provides scholarships to outstanding students who are members. To become a member, visit www.naacp.org/membership/ and to learn more about scholarships, visit www.poisefoundation.org.
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