More than 250 guests attended the 41st annual Freedom Fund Banquet, sponsored by the Montgomery County, Radford City, Floyd County Branch 7092 of the NAACP on Oct. 8 at the Inn At Virginia Tech.

Debbie Travis and Alan Palmer, co-chairs of the Freedom Fund committee, welcomed the guests, and recognized several special groups and sponsors, including Virginia Tech President Dr. Timothy Sands.

The Nannie B. Hairston Community Service Award for 2016 was given to Lawrence R. Bechtel, the local artist who designed the bronze bust of Ms. Hairston that is on permanent display at the Montgomery County Government Center. Several other efforts by Bechtel were noted during the award presentation, including his volunteerism with local charities and civic groups.

Dr. Basil Gooden, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry for the Commonwealth of Virginia, was the keynote speaker. His message, “A Matter of Days,” inspired the attendees to use their days wisely, for the good of all. He related special days of remembrance and accomplishments, such as the more than 300-day transportation boycott during the 1950s in Alabama, which led to integrated transportation systems. He noted that sometimes it took more than a day to attain a goal, and that “perseverance will serve you well.”

Music for the event was provided by Dr. Glen Holmes, Alan Johnson and Jason Diggs II.

— Submitted by Larry Middleton

Submitted by Larry Middleton

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