Pioneers and Pearls Gala Extends Awards to Community Notables
By Eric M. Winkfield
Special to the Outlook
The John G. Riley House & Museum honored Strong & Jones Funeral Home for the business’ legacy of family entrepreneurship at the 11th Annual Applause for the Pioneers Cufflinks and Pearls Gala.
Strong and Jones Funeral Home, a business that started in the early 1940’s has been a philanthropic, professional and compassionate arm to families in Tallahassee for three generations.
“I am elated. It is a joy to be honored tonight. It means someone is thinking about you and what I have in the community,” says Darrell Lawrence, Funeral Director at Strong & Jones Funeral Home.
For more than 68 years, Strong & Jones have been providing funeral service to families in the community.
“I feel very special and honored. I think very highly of the organization of thinking of us. I wasn’t looking for any honors. I have been there since childhood,” said Linn-Ann Jones.
The Annual Cufflinks and Pearls Pioneers Gala purpose is two-fold. First the Riley House honors those individuals and businesses that have been instrumental in providing services to the Tallahassee community. The second is to raise money for the John G. Riley Internship fund.
“Tonight represents the honoring and homage that we pay to Tallahassee’s unsung heroes. We take time to respect and honor them because this pioneers spent their lives paving the way for the community. They have often lived and died without being recognized for their work,” says Marion “Missy” McGee, executive director, John G. Riley House and Museum.
The sold out event with tables going for $1,000 per table and $125 per ticket filled GoodWood Museum & Gardens Carriage House with Tallahassee officials such as: city commissioners, sheriff, university presidents and academic deans.
“The Pioneers Gala honors the individuals in the community who have made a tremendous impact for the betterment of the Tallahassee community,” said Ann Kimbrough, Dean at FAMU School of Journalism & Graphic Communication.
In order to be selected as an honoree by the John G. Riley House a business must have a rich heritage or history here in the city that has future descendants for future generations that still represents that family legacy or that organization legacy.
The first honoree of Applause for Cufflinks & Pearls Gala was the late Thelma Gorham. A publisher, activist, journalist and educator that pioneered the school of Journalism at FAMU, which is now one of the country’s leading journalism programs for African Americans. Other honorees include individuals such as: Elder Moses General Miles, Leon County’s African American Educators Irene Edmonds and Dr. Russell Anderson.
Next year’s annual gala will be held on Friday, February 26, 2016 at the Augustus Turnbull Conference Center.