An afternoon of “Model Stars with Classic Cars” honored 13 “model” men who are outstanding citizens in the community. The Tri-County (AL) Chapter of The Links,
Incorporated held its signature fundraising event, the 2012 M.O.D.E.L. (Men of Distinguished Exemplary Leadership) Program, on May, 5, 2012, at Old Car Heaven. Each honoree, a man of excellence
who has made outstanding contributions to the tri-county community (Jefferson, Shelby, and St. Clair Counties) in the areas of politics, health, law, business, religion, education, or law
enforcement, was highlighted at a luncheon affair for his accomplishments and featured in a 2012 calendar sporting a classic car from Old Car Heaven.
The 2012 M.O.D.E.L. honorees were as follows: The Honorable William A. Bell, Sr., Mayor of the City of Birmingham; State Representative Oliver Robinson, Jefferson County - District 58; Mr.
James "Jay" Roberson, Associate Director of Athletics - Samford University and Birmingham City Councilor - District 7; Mr. Ken Washington, Leeds City Councilor - District 1; Mr. John O. Hudson,
Vice President of Public Relations, Alabama Power Company; Mr. Gary Burley, Owner and CEO, Pro Start Academy; Bishop James L. Davis, President of the Council of Bishops, African Methodist
Episcopal Church; Brigadier General A. C. Roper, Chief of Police, City of Birmingham; Reverend Al B. Sutton, Senior Pastor and Founder, Living Stones Temple Church; Dr. Perry Ward, President,
Lawson State Community College, Mr. Garrick McGee, Head Football Coach, University of Alabama at Birmingham; and Leeds educators, Mr. Andrew Briskey, Principal of Leeds Elementary and Mr.
Michael Turner, Principal of Leeds High School.
The Tri-County (AL) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, chartered in June 2010, created this event to showcase positive male role models in the community. Immediate Past President Samuetta Drew stated, “Our communities, particularly our youth, need to see our successful men who are role models for our neighborhoods, cities, counties, districts, state, and nation. Our youth need to know that they, too, can achieve what these distinguished men have accomplished. We need to celebrate them, uplift them, and use them as examples to follow. These honorees represent the types of citizens we want all of our youth to become.” Much of the proceeds from this event will be used to support youth empowerment, which is the primary focus of the chapter.
This event began with Sarah Verser, WBRC Fox 6 Anchor, as mistress of ceremony, greeting the attendees. Dr. Susanne Matthews, Luncheon Program Chairperson, welcomed everyone followed by Melva Langford, who shared the purpose of the occasion. Before lunch catered by Ambrosia, Chaplain Janice Orange provided words of inspiration. Following a delicious meal of salad, fruit, rice, bake chicken, green beans, squash casserole, roast, and assorted desserts, Past President Samuetta H. Drew and President Betty J. Underwood presented the distinguished honorees their awards-- a plaque, a large color photo of the honoree pictured with his selected car, and a gift. Adrienne K. Mitchell, chair of the Calendar Committee read biographies for each of the honored guests. Tracey Morant Adams acknowledged the corporate sponsors of the event: Alagasco, Alabama Power Company, Belk at the Summit, Malcolm Pirnie/Arcadia, and Old Car Heaven. Other contributors were Sanders Jewelry, Ninth Episcopal District State Lay Organization, Ninth Episcopal District Northwest Lay Organization, St. John African Methodist Episcopal Church, Melvin Humes State Farm Insurance Agency, Goodyear Shoe Hospital, Emmanuel's Barbering Salon, and Custom Trophies. Special gratitude was extended to the calendar stylist, Mr. Emmett Reed, Jonathan Harrison, and Handy Photography.
The Tri-County (AL) Chapter understands how important it is to work with and impact youth. The signature community program for the group is S.H. A.P.E. The Greenwave Program, a partnership with Leeds High School that promotes positive social interaction, healthy living, academic excellence, physical activity, and emotional wellness. Each week, the chapter members design a program for selected adolescents to support students' growth in education, arts, health, and national and global awareness. In addition, the organization sponsors field trips and other activities for the Leeds youth to extend their learning beyond the school building. The members also host an annual Youth Summit to educate youth and parents among the three counties about making healthy decisions. In March, the 2012 Youth Summit was held at Bessemer City School featuring speakers who discussed relevant topics such as obesity, bullying, dating, careers, and juvenile law. Tri-County members continue to dedicate their time to the Huffman High School Future Business Leaders of America Club, providing tips for increasing their “Job Seeking and Job Keeping” skills. Members of the organization value literacy and shared their enthusiasm with elementary-age students in Fairfield City Schools, Birmingham City Schools, and Leeds City Schools on Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Through the years, the group has hosted youth at Arts events in the city, such as plays in partnership with the Virginia Samford Theatre, Miles College and ArtPlay at the UAB Alys Stephens Center.
Immediate Past President Samuetta H. Drew commented, adding to an old African proverb, “It takes a complete village to raise a child. We must all work together to support our youth. We must provide positive role models for them and show them how to be productive men and women in society. It is our service.”