Bertram Rantin

Columbia Urban League awards honor 11 women as supportive spouses – and community leaders

They are known in some corners as “behind the scenes” women, but their community contributions are being touted as monumental.

The Columbia Urban League Guild honored 11 area women with this year’s Guild Tower Leadership Award during a luncheon Saturday at the Capital City Club.

The award recognizes the women’s community contributions to the quality of life in the state as well as their support for their husbands’ efforts to fulfill leadership responsibilities in the Midlands.

“We are accustomed to seeing the accomplishments and impact of high-profile (male) leaders. However, for the most part, the role of their spouses is seldom acknowledged,” said Urban League president James T. McLawhorn Jr. “You will find the 2015 Tower Award recipients are career professionals themselves, yet they have impressive portfolios of community service, as well.”

McLawhorn applauded the guild for creating the award, noting it recognizes an important group of people who often go unnoticed while their contributions have enhanced the quality of life in the community.

This year’s Tower Award inductees include Judge DeAndre Benjamin (spouse of Columbia Major Steve Benjamin), Judge Michelle Hurley Johnson (George C. Johnson), Councilwoman Joyce Dickerson (Matthew Dickerson), Councilwoman Tameka Isaac Devine (Jamie Devine), Brooke Bishop (Sean Bishop), Cindy Cox (Randall Gaston), Darci Strickland Rush (Torrey Rush), Wendy Brawley (Paul Brawley), Tammi Gilchrist (Stephen Gilchrist) Elaine Garrick (Roosevelt Garrick), and Maris Deschamps Cannon (Dennis N. Cannon Jr.).

Guild president Leslie Wilson said the group hopes the Tower Awards also will uplift the importance of supportive families in society.

“One of the keys to the success of these Tower Award honorees and their spouses has been their ability to work as a team to promote family stability and community service,” Wilson said.