Civic league honors seven

Published 10:24 pm Friday, January 23, 2009

It’s about taking time to reward those who do good work.

At least, that’s what members of the East Suffolk Federated Civic League believe.

Each year, at the league’s annual Community Achievement and Awards Banquet, members award six outstanding citizens for their work in the community.

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It has become a tradition with the league, thanks in part to the efforts of former league president, Johnnie Edwards.

“He would say, ‘A lot of people do a lot of good, and if somebody doesn’t recognize these people, it’ll never be known,’ William Goodman, current league member, recalled.

And so, each year the league’s nominating committee selects people who have excelled in service efforts in one of five areas: business, religion, community service, education and athletics.

Additionally, the committee selects one member of the civic league who has gone above and beyond the call of duty.

After the nominating committee makes its selections, the ballot is brought to the league. League members can choose to add names to the ballot before voting for the best person in each area.

This year, however, the league had to make an exception. When it came time to vote on the representative from the education field, the vote resulted in a tie in the education category. So, this year, the league will have seven award recipients, as opposed to just six.

The following men and women are this year’s honorees:

Barbara Ann Artis – Community Service: Artis is an active member of East End Baptist Church and is a member in good standing of La’Mercetts Nursing Club; Nansemond Chapter No. 31, Order of the Eastern Star; the Hollywood/Jericho Civic League; the Suffolk Senior Citizen Police Academy; and the Suffolk Neighborhood College.

Cora Overton – Business: Overton is a member of the Overton Enterprise Plus Six Corp. and the manager of T.E. Cooke-Overton Funeral Home. She is a lifetime member of the National Council of Negro Women, the NAACP and the Chesapeake Democratic Party.

Pastor Catherine Skinner – Religious: Skinner has been a member of New Paul’s Temple for more than 50 years and has been the pastor for the church for 15 years. She is the wife of Deacon James L. Skinner. She also supports the Lake Kennedy Civic League.

Marion Wright – Education: Wright began her teaching career in 1965 at East Suffolk Primary School as a third-grade teacher and taught for more than three decades before retiring in 1999. She serves as the secretary and treasurer and is on the outreach committee for the Pleasant Hill Civic League.

Franklin Chatman – Education: Chatman works as an education specialist at Deep Creek SECEP, as well as a basketball coach for Nansemond Suffolk Academy. He was a founder of Young Men of Direction Inc. and is a member of Canaan Baptist Church.

Tony Smith – Athletics: Smith received a full scholarship to play basketball at Pfeiffer University. At Pfeiffer, Smith helped lead the team to back-to-back national Final Four appearances. After college, Smith played professional basketball overseas in 11 different countries.

Rosa Battle – League Award: Battle is a member of the East Suffolk Federated Civic League. She graduated from the STOP organization as a CNA and helps care for her aunt and a neighbor, who both are in bad health.

All of the award winners will be honored at the banquet at 6 p.m Feb. 7 in the East Suffolk Action Community Center, 134 S. 6th St.