By TRAVIS MORSE email@example.com
---- — MT. VERNON – Honoring those who make a difference in their community is one of the many ways the African-American Heritage Committee inspires the people of Mt. Vernon, said Heritage Award winner Tineka Doggan.
“I think it's important because you have a lot of people who do a lot of hard work who need to know that their labor isn't in vain,” Doggan said. “And they need to be encouraged by their peers and the people in the community.”
Doggan was one of four local residents to be honored with a Heritage Award at Saturday night's 15th annual Jefferson County African-American Heritage Committee Gala at the Mt. Vernon Holiday Inn. About 130 people attended the event.
It was an evening of inspiration and spiritual celebration featuring a number of speakers, musical performances by the Grisby Family Singers, and award and scholarship presentations. The theme of this year's gala was “Standing in the Present: Looking to the Future.”
The keynote speaker was senior human resource generalist Tina Moss, who gave a rousing speech asking those in attendance to celebrate past accomplishments while always looking forward. Moss is a Hazelwood, Mo., resident who works for Express Scripts, Inc. She is the daughter of Brenda and Elbert Cain and Charles Brannon of Mt. Vernon and the granddaughter of the late Mable Grace Young.
“More than anything, I'm really focusing on moving forward,” Moss said before the event. “We celebrate what has come before us in African-American history, but focus on moving forward and forging ahead.”
Moss's career has covered all aspects of human resources. She is also active at her church in Berkley, Mo., serving as the vice chairwoman of the Trustee Ministry and as the Church Human Resource professional.
Another highlight of the evening was the Heritage Awards presentation. Awards were given to Doggan, Kenneth E. Warden, Oscar Brown and Julian Burns Sr.
“It's definitely an honor and definitely humbling to be honored by your peers and people who see what you're doing in the community and acknowledge it,” said Doggan, a developmental therapist who has written a new book, “From His Woman...To His Wife.”
Speaker Rev. Ron Lash, the Jefferson County NAACP president, urged those in attendance to volunteer in the community and do what they can to impact the lives of others.
“Don't say that there's nothing to do in Mt. Vernon,” Lash said. “Because if there's nothing to do in Mt. Vernon, that means you're not doing anything.”
Also on Saturday, Special Recognition Awards were given to Hilary Brown, Sonja Ligon, David Keen and Bryce Woods. Special Academic Awards were also handed out to Nigel Woodgett and Teghan Goodman.
In addition, Laura Cheatham Scholarships were awarded to Timothy Goodwin and Alexia Lewis-Moss, and a Heritage Award Scholarship was given to Achaia Shipp.