ELIZABETHTOWN — For 22 years The Bladen County Training School – Bladen Central High School Alumni Association has sponsored an annual banquet to honor black business owners of Bladen and surrounding counties. This year’s banquet, which was held on April 23 at The Paul R. Brown Building in Elizabethtown, spotlighted The Paul Brown Leadership Academy.
Minnie Price acted as mistress of ceremonies. The program opened with the presentation of colors by The Paul Brown Leadership Academy’s Color Guard. Rev. Vince Rozier gave an invocation and President Dorothy McKoy welcomed the group.
After dinner, the group was entertained and thrilled by The Academy’s award-winning John L. Foye Drill & Rifle Team . Delores Wade then presented Headmaster Roland T. McKoy, the speaker for the evening. McKoy was very enthusiastic as he spoke about the history of the school and the accomplishments it has made since its establishment in 2012. Along with emphasis on academics, character, discipline and physical fitness, the Academy also focuses on life skills and developing the student as a whole to take responsibility for his or her own actions, he stated.
After McKoy was presented a Certificate of Appreciation, Vice-President Catherine Autry recognized and presented certificates for Business Accomplishments to the following business: Autry’s Trucking, Hair Power, MCCAD, McKoy’s Concrete, OK Farms, Paul Brown Leadership Academy, Raw Transport, Rozier’s Realty and 3Ms and T Inc.
The John L. Lucas Outstanding Business Award, presented in honor of the late John L. Lucas, long-time treasurer of the alumni association and well-known building contractor in southeastern North Carolina, was presented by his children, John Lucas Jr., Shelby Claudette McKoy and Althea McAllister.
This year’s recipient was Willie Lewis, owner of L&M Lawn Care Services of Elizabethtown. Lewis, a Bladen County native, is employed by the Bladen County Schools Maintenance Department and is owner of L & M Lawn Care Services. Willie along with the late Kevin McDowell started L&M Lawn Care Services in 1987. Lewis is a positive role model in his community by offering summer job opportunities to local youth; supporting local girl scout troops and assisting with recreational softball, baseball and basketball. He is a member of Anderson’s Angels Relay for Life Team.
Lewis and his staff insure that every customer receives personalized professional lawn care services offering high quality work without the high prices. “Willie B”, as he is affectionately known is an example of an ordinary man doing extra ordinary things and by the help of God continues to humbly provide quality services to Bladen County.
The program ended with the retiring of the colors by the PBLA cadets and benediction by the Rev. Rozier.