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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


NAACP ‘Freedom’ banquet, Oct. 17

(Oct. 1, 2015) The Worcester County chapter of the NAACP will hold its annual Freedom Fund Banquet at Stephen Decatur Middle School in Berlin on Saturday, Oct. 17.
The event returns for the third time in four years after taking a break last year because of a scheduling conflict with the NAACP’s election of officers.
This year, for the first time, the banquet will double as an awards ceremony, honoring individuals, businesses and nonprofits.
The list of honorees includes Al “Hondo” Handy from Ocean City, World World II veterans William Briddell and Virgil Armstrong, Highway Safety Activist Patricia Dufendach and Pocomoke City Police Chief Kelvin Sewell.
The Sun Rise Church of Berlin and Atlantic Physical Therapy in Ocean Pines will also be recognized during the event.
“I wanted to honor people within the community, because the people in the community make a difference,” Ivory Smith, president of the local NAACP chapter said. “People like Hondo Handy, who is one of the citizens of the year… he’s been doing a lot for over 30 years within the community.
“Sun Rise Church has done a lot in the community and Patty Dufendach was very inspirational in getting (Route) 113 lighting done and crosswalks there. People like her need to be recognized,” Smith continued.
Smith said it was a no-brainer to honor the community’s WWII veterans, while in the case of Atlantic Physical Therapy, the business came to his attention after helping to rehabilitate the son of an NAACP member who was struck by a school bus on Flower Street.
“They also do a lot for Stephen Decatur,” Smith said. “There’re doing a lot within the community and they’re doing a lot for our kids.”
Briddell, who served in the United States Army during the World War II, said he would likely accept the award and enjoy the evening, rather than speak too extensively about his service.
“It’s been so long now,” he said. “I was in quite a bit and I’m pretty old right now. But I did it. I was right with it, years back.”
U.S. House of Representatives Member Donna Edwards (Democrat, 4th District) is the guest speaker.
Smith said the theme of the evening is that the NAACP is a community organization that depends on its partners.
“We’re also about civil rights, but we’re a community organization and we need all the help that we can get in the community,” he said. “Every month, I have a speaker of some sort that’s giving knowledge to the people, but they’ve got to come out and they’ve got to want it.
“I want people to come out and participate and be active in the community,” Smith continued. “Right now, I’m the youngest one [in the chapter] and the older folks are getting older and getting tired. We need the younger folks to step up.”
Tickets, which are limited, are $35 each or $15 for children under 12.
Proceeds go to the Freedom Fund, which fuels operations for the nonprofit.
For tickets or more information, call Smith at 443-944-6701, or search “Worcester County N.A.A.C.P.” on Facebook.