Rhonda Harris,, right, poses with Sheryl Smedley of the chamber of commerce after receiving her award Monday. -- Sarah Cook

Ward 4 gives Butterfly Award in yearly celebration

Published 10:50pm Monday, December 17, 2012

Ward 4 residents gathered for a night of community fellowship Monday as they celebrated the 4th annual Ward 4 End of the Year Celebration.

Angela Benjamin, Ward 4 representative, said she hosts this event every year to celebrate city achievements and honor those that “go above and beyond their call of duty.”

Each year, Benjamin and Mayor George Evans award the Butterfly Award, which is given to a resident that shows exceptional dedication to Ward 4 and the rest of the city. This year, Ward 4 resident Rhonda Harris was given the coveted award along with the Gospel Tabernacle Church of God in Christ.

“Everyone wants one but not everyone gets it,” Benjamin said of the yearly award. “It’s something very special. It’s called the Butterfly Award because Selma is the butterfly capital of Alabama. This is an award that recognizes someone that goes above and beyond for the community and does it for no pay.”

Harris, a stay at home mother, dedicates the majority of her time giving back to the community through volunteering at R.B. Hudson Middle School and Selma High School.

“I was really shocked when they announced my name,” Harris said, moments after receiving the award. She said her motivation to volunteer her time stems from a want to “give back to the community and give back to Selma.”

Benjamin said this was the first year that more than one Butterfly Award was given.

“We knew we had to recognize all their hard work,” Benjamin said of the recipients.

The Gospel Tabernacle Church of God in Christ, Benjamin said, was recognized for their extensive volunteering in the construction of the ward’s Kaboom playgrounds, which were set up in Ward 4 to give children a safe place to play.

“They have stepped in not only with their pastor, but with their whole congregation,” Benjamin said of the church. “They came in with great numbers and that’s why they’re being honored.”

Another goal of the celebration, Benjamin said, is to highlight businesses that have opened their doors in the past year.

EvMarie’s Cupcakery, Sweet Advantages, The Coffee Shoppe and The Pavilion Boutique were the four businesses that were featured during the celebration.

“Angela told us she was doing this for some of the small businesses in Selma,” said TySharon Suttles, who owns The Pavilion Boutique alongside her sister, Pamela. “She wanted to help us get our name out there.”

Suttles said the boutique, which is located at 1530 Broad St., opened two months ago and they have been steadily building their clientele. The store offers ladies fashion and a large selection of shoes, she said.

“There’s really nowhere else in Selma where you can find this type of clothing,” she said.

The boutique held a fashion show during the celebration, displaying its apparel.

“Every year we feature local businesses because we stress shopping local, shopping in Selma,” Benjamin said. “This is just a way to celebrate everything that’s been going on in our Ward and in our city.”


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