ELIZABETHTOWN — The Bladen County Training School-Bladen Central High School Alumni Association held it’s 24th annual Black Business Banquet on April 28 at The Paul Brown Building and recognized local black business owner-operators.

Mistress of Ceremonies Minnie Price began the program by calling on the Paul R. Brown Leadership Academy’s color guard for the presentation of colors and pledge led by Headmaster Roland McKoy. The Rev. Vince Rozier followed with an invocation. President Dorothy McKoy welcomed the group of approximately 50 persons and Tammy Johnson entertained the group with a medley of Gospel songs.

During dinner, catered by Johnice Autry and Maurice Williams, Paul R. Brown Leadership Academy’s national award-winning John L. Foye Drill Team performed for the group.

Delores Wade introduced Leroy Purdie of Savannah, Georgia, as keynote speaker for the evening. Purdie talked to the group about some of the characteristics of a successful business owner-operator. After President McKoy presented a certificate of appreciation to Purdie, she and Roland T. McKoy recognized the following businesses represented: LPJ Services, Inc., Rozier’s Realty, Whimsical Flowers & Gifts, Majestic Funeral Home & Cremations, Gillespie Farms, OK Farms, 3MS &T Inc., McKoy’s Concrete, MCCAAD, and RAW Customs & Transport.

The John L. Lucas Outstanding Business Award presented in honor of the late John Lawrence Lucas, longtime treasurer of the alumni association and well-known building contractor in southern North Carolina was presented by his daughters Althea Lucas and Claudette McKoy. The recipient for 2018 was Robert McKoy Jr. of Elizabethtown, owner-operator of RMJ Logistics & McKoy Logging, Inc. McKoy started as an employed truck driver who now owns a fleet of trucks and does contract transporting for several businesses in the area.

After a musical salute to the business owner-operators by Tammy Johnson, the program ended with the retiring of colors by the PRBLA Cadets and benediction by the Rev. Rozier.