The annual Freedom Fund banquet of the Greater Terre Haute NAACP Branch highlighted another year of service to our community since it was established in 1918. More than 160 NAACP members and friends were in attendance to recognize the organization’s local members making contributions as well as NAACP accomplishments and achievements.

John E. Lang, Freedom Fund Committee chair and Master of Ceremonies, welcomed the audience by reminding of the theme, “When We Fight, We Win” equality, access, reform, and respect, “for we are fighting for equal rights, voting rights, criminal justice reform, educational access, sensible gun laws, historical accuracy and accountability, and much more.”

Mayor Duke Bennet presented Greetings from the City of Terre Haute.

Throughout dinner a slide presentation showed many of the accomplishments, achievements, and happenings of the local branch during the past year.

A.Theressa Bynum, Press and Publicity chair, acknowledged the contributions of attendees, contributors, and volunteers. Special appreciation was given to Hamilton Center, Terre Haute Human Relations Commission, Indiana State University, Duke Energy, First Financial Corporation, St. John Missionary Church, Minority Health Coalition of Vigo County, Drucella Thomas, Oscar Session, Lisa Spence Burnett, Vigo County Democratic Party, Charles and Barbara Norman, and Arthur Feinsod.

The Greater Terre Haute NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet 2019

Torchbearers for Freedom were identified as life members, past and present, who have made a long-term commitment to sustain the NAACP through that level of membership. Awards to the most recent life members were presented to Dinah Vasbinder, Jon Ford, and Sandra Wickware.

Melvin L. Burks, CEO of the Hamilton Center, delivered the keynote address. Known for his servant leadership to Hamilton Center, Inc. for 40 years and the community, Burks has demonstrated his ability to lead as well as his passion for service.

In recognition of his Community Leadership, Branch President Sylvester Edwards presented an NAACP award to Burks.

Branch President Sylvester Edwards notes that “Mr. Burks always leads by example – as a mentor, a coach, an innovator. He implements programs that promote diversity and second chances – all consistent with the goals of the NAACP.”