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City News

Mayor Maddox to Present YMCA Awards

Mayor Walt Maddox will join the Benjamin Barnes YMCA on Sunday, Jan. 17 to present awards to distinguished community members that have made an impact on the YMCA and West Tuscaloosa this year. This annual event is hosted on the weekend of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to kick off the YMCA’s Youth First Campaign. This year’s honorees are:  

  • Mason Bonner, who will receive the Lifetime of Service Award. A former president of the Y Men’s Club and a lifetime member of the Benjamin Barnes YMCA, Mr. Bonner organized and ran a youth basketball program over the last two years, serving over 180 youth in West Tuscaloosa in 2019 alone. 
  • Paul Rollins and Rodney Pelt, who will receive the Trailblazer award. When the Barnes YMCA partnered with the Tuscaloosa City Schools over the summer to offer virtual learning and meals to students, Mr. Rollins and Mr. Pelt donated their time and money to ensure the success of this operation.  

Additionally, the following community members will be recognized for their commitment to and support of the YMCA:  

  • Kerri Ash
  • Freddy Washington 
  • Ashly Wheat
  • Danielle Eaton 
  • Shae Byrd
  • Raytonya Hughes
  • Bishop L Spenser Smith 

“I am honored to join the YMCA in recognizing these outstanding community members for their service to our West Tuscaloosa community,” Mayor Maddox says. “ As Martin Luther King, Jr. famously said, ‘the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.’ These community members turned their focus to their community during this challenging year, and it is fitting to honor them on this weekend devoted to Rev. Dr. King.”

On Tuesday, Jan. 12, The Tuscaloosa City Council unanimously voted to acquire the Benjamin Barnes YMCA facility as well as the downtown YMCA location, forging a partnership between the two entities that will allow the Barnes branch to continue serving West Tuscaloosa while working to build a new facility.

“The greatness of a community is best measured by the compassion, dedication, and servitude of its members,” Tanika Rice, Chair of the Benjamin Barnes Advisory Council says. “We will honor these members for their advocacy, commitment, and bravery in continuing the mission of the 14 members who organized and built the Benjamin Barnes YMCA sixty years ago. Barnes was built by the community, for the community. We will continue this legacy of responsibility.”