RANTIN: Honoring unheralded acts of service in S.C.

May 3, 2014 

BERTRAM RANTIN

brantin@

thestate.com

(803) 771-8306

They are noted for their quiet acts of service and their roles in strengthening the community.

Ten Midlands women were honored recently when the Columbia Urban League Guild presented its annual Tower Leadership Awards.

The award, in its third year, recognizes women for the pivotal roles they play in supporting their spouses’ efforts as Midlands business and community leaders.

“The Tower Leadership Award recognizes a unique level of leadership and service. It demonstrates that community leadership is usually not a solo endeavor but a partnership," said Columbia Urban League president James T. McLawhorn. “The 2014 Tower Award recipients are career professionals themselves, yet they balance work and family while maintaining impressive portfolios of community service as well.”

This year’s honorees include Gwen Bynoe (spouse of Herbert D. Bynoe), Eleanor Clark (Benny F. Clark), Chrystal Finney (Lauris Finney Sr.), Wilma Frye (Curtis Frye), Debra W. Hamm (Steven W. Hamm), Alethia Parr Rearden (Harrison Rearden), Marilyn Spells (Nathaniel Spells), Elizabeth Sowards (John A. Sowards), Karen Tanner (Ray Tanner), and Vivian Washington (Frank B. Washington).

The recipients were honored during an awards luncheon in Columbia.

The Tower Awards program was inspired by the late Ava Austin, a former Columbia Urban League board member and spouse of former Columbia police chief and city manager Charles B. Austin. As a career employee with the U.S. Department of Social Security Administration, Ava Austin is credited for her tireless work with her family, church and community.

The Urban League Guild is a volunteer auxiliary of the organization. Leaders say they hope the Tower Awards will help uplift the importance of supportive families in society.

“These individuals we are honoring demonstrate a resolve and commitment to foster strong, healthy families in our communities,” said guild president Leslie Wilson.

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