Saturday ceremony will honor those who serve community

Published 8:02 pm Wednesday, January 7, 2015

By Blake Deshazo

The Selma Times-Journal

Six community leaders in the Selma-Dallas County area will be honored this weekend for their service to the community at the third annual Golden Bridge Builders Award Ceremony.

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The ceremony will be held on Saturday, Jan. 10 at 1 p.m. at the Carl C. Morgan Convention Center.

“It’s an award program to honor people that have contributed in their area of expertise that are 55 and older who are unsung heroes that have donated towards the community,” said Evelyn Cox, volunteer coordinator for Selma and Dallas County.

The Golden Bridge Builders Award recipients for 2015 are Judge Robert Armstrong, educator Melvin Flanagan-Brown, pastor James Edward Byrom, pharmacist Joseph Hall Carstarphen, Alice Martin West and broadcaster Randy Williams.

Each one was selected for serving a different area in the community.

“We honor people in education, religion, government, healthcare, community service and communication,” Cox said. “It shows that we appreciate them, and the community loves them.”

The award ceremony started three years ago when Selma Mayor George Evans wanted to thank people for helping Selma become a better place.

“It is important to give them a token of appreciation to let them know that we recognize and appreciate them here in Selma and Dallas County for the contributions they are making to our community,” Cox said. “We notice that, and we just want to say thank you.”

Members of the community nominated each recipient, and the winners were chosen according to the service they provide to the community.

“We ask the public to make nominations,” Cox said. “We don’t want to just do it ourselves, so we ask for the community’s input.”

Recipients will receive a plaque honoring them for their contributions at the award ceremony, Cox said. She also hopes the award ceremony inspires people who attend.

“I hope it would be a challenge for people to be motivated so they can learn and want to serve,” Cox said. “We want people to learn that it pays to serve and to give up yourself and expect nothing in return.”

Judge Robert E. Armstrong will receive the government award for the work he has done to help decrease the juvenile crime rate in Dallas County.

Melvin Flanagan-Brown was selected for the education award for serving as the principal of Salem Elementary School for the past 17 years and inspiring students.

The Rev. James Edward Byrom will be given the religion award for working on various construction and disaster relief projects in Alabama and other states, as well as serving as pastor of Marion Junction Baptist Church for 27 years.

James Carstarphen was chosen for the medical award for providing customers of Interlink Drug Company with good service for the past 48 years.

Alice Martin West is being honored with the community service award for her work during the Civil Rights Movement. West was responsible for assisting more than 300 people to register to vote as well as participating in the Selma to Montgomery March. West also provided housing and food for people involved with the movement.

Randy Williams will receive the media and communications award for starting WVCA FM in 1959. He also served the community by keeping people up-to-date over the airwaves about political, community and cultural activities.