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Annie Powell earned the Role Model Award during the Minority Awards Banquet on Tuesday.
Daily photo by Gary Cosby Jr.
Annie Powell earned the Role Model Award during the Minority Awards Banquet on Tuesday.

Minority Awards honors 5 for hard work

By Eric Fleischauer 340-2435

Every morning when Peggy Allen Towns wakes up, she asks God to enable her to help someone.

Apparently he answers that prayer regularly. She received the Community Involvement Award at the Fifth Annual Minority Awards Banquet on Tuesday night.

Other awards

Other award winners:

  • The Longevity Award went to Emmitt Goode Jr.

  • The Role Model Award went to Annie Ellison Powell.

  • The Perseverance Award was shared by Pat Arrington and Oscar Salcido.

    The keynote speaker at the event, which was presented by the Minority Development Committee of the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce Work Force Development Board, was Birmingham lawyer Terri A. Sewell.

    "There is power in knowing and honoring your history," Sewell told the crowd at the Decatur Holiday Inn. "I'm sometimes embarrassed by the sheer arrogance of my generation."

    That arrogance, she said, is apparent when young blacks fail to understand that their success would be impossible but for the sacrifices and accomplishments of those who came before them.

    Her main message to minorities on how to achieve business success was not racially specific.

    "The challenge is to produce the best product at the best price and in a timely fashion," she said.

    The problem for minorities is that they are held under a microscope.

    When one fails to produce a quality product, she said, all members of the minority group suffer.

    Pushing for improvements

    Sewell pushed the business and political leaders in the audience to help rectify other problems confronting minorities in business: barriers in accessing capital, and an invisible wall preventing minority businesses from getting an equal chance to supply products to large companies.

    An important part of Sewell's success — she was a Wall Street lawyer before moving to Birmingham's Maynard, Cooper & Gale to be near her ailing father — has been pride in her identity. Central to that identity, she said, was being from Selma.

    "It's really important not to deny that which is your essence," Sewell said.

    Award winners

    Mary K. Braddock, executive director of the Volunteer Center, introduced the award winners.

    Towns is a district aide for U.S. Rep. Bud Cramer, D-Huntsville. She has a degree in religious studies from Union Chapel Institute of Bible Studies. She has served as chapter president of Alabama New South Coalition and as a member of the mental health board. She is on the Community Action Agency board.

    Goode owns Goode Tax Service, a company with 3,700 clients. He is a member of the National Society of Tax Professionals, the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and the Huntsville Track Club.

    Powell, employed at OEM Components for 23 years and at Morgan Price Candy Co. since it began, has for years cooked Thanksgiving dinners for Tennessee Valley Outreach and for the Boys and Girls Club. She operates a concession stand for Northwest Youth Athletic Association baseball.

    She founded Hostage for Education and Cupidette Club Inc.

    "I am the fourth of nine children," she said, "so I've always taken care of the kids. At the concession stand I have 120 kids that call me 'Grandma.' "

    Pat Arrington, owner of SilkRoad Salon and Image Studio, is a licensed cosmetologist. She is a graduate of The Master in Huntsville.

    "I have never, ever asked Pat for anything that she has not given," Braddock said. "I don't think any nonprofit has."

    Salcido owns several restaurants, including Camino Real and Maria Bonita's.

    He came to the United States from Mexico in 1995.

    The awards banquet was held in coordination with National Minority Enterprise Development Week.

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