The Wichita Branch NAACP hosted its 94th annual Freedom Fund Banquet on October 26 to honor esteemed community leaders. The event raises support for programs and services the NAACP provides to the Wichita community. Les Eck, president and owner of Rusty Eck Ford, was awarded Person of the Year. According to NAACP, "This award is given to the person or business for improved quality of life for all in the Wichita community and is viewed as being informed and ready to take action that leads to change. Is willing to speak out against actions that may allow discriminatory practice at any level and actively participates in or works to help change existing unfair practices, rules, or laws. Is actively involved in community actions to cause change."
Other honorees included:
- HT Sims Excellence in Education: Mr. Sherman Padgett, Principal of North High School
- Clergy of the Year: Pastor Wade Moore, Christian Faith Center
- Janett Jackson Community Service: Dr. Charles Coleman, Owner of CCPI Production and Entertainment Company
- Theo Cribbs Political Action: Sen. Oletha Faust Goudeau, Kansas State Senate
- Chester I Lewis Distinguished Service: Joyce Dixon, INTRUST Bank Community Investment Coordinator
- Community/Neighborhood/Civic Association: Nigerian Association of Wichita
- Legacy Awards: Tim Norton, Board of Sedgwick County Commissioners; Eugene Anderson, Post Commander of American Legion, Arthur Gossett Post 273; Marvin Stone, The Knox Center Inc. Chairman of the Board of Directors; Shirley Kelly, Community Volunteer
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.