The Reed Foundation celebrates community at 3rd annual gala

Published 3:00 pm Wednesday, May 8, 2024

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The local non-profit organization, the Reed Foundation, held its third annual gala on Saturday. The Foundation was started by Lanett native, Cameron Reed in 2021 to provide resources and services to the greater Valley area’s seniors and youth populations. 

The event was hosted at the Valley Sportsplex. The festivities began with a red carpet, where April Ross of BeeTV interviewed guests as they arrived. The gala honored local officials, students and business owners.

The guests of honor were escorted by the Lanett JROTC. Representatives from the cities of Valley, West Point, and LaFayette and the Chambers County Commission gave speeches. Dean Collins, the President of Point University gave the opening prayer. 

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Dinner was served by local students as a violinist played. After the intermission, the awards were given out. The event was hosted by Elder Robert L. Brock Jr, a pastor in Newnan. 

The two awards given out were college scholarships to high school seniors and helping hand awards to individuals in the community who, according to the Foundation’s website, “Embody our foundation’s mission.”

The students who received the scholarships are LaFayette High Senior Joy Robinson, Valley High Senior Bailey Haney, and Lanett High Senior LeFranco Bridges. Robinson will be attending the University of Alabama in the Fall, Haney will be going to Troy University and Bridges will be attending Auburn University. 

The Superintendent of Lanett City Schools, Jennifer Boyd spoke to the students after they received their awards. 

“As you continue in your academic endeavors, no matter what comes your way, you hold on to your self-confidence. Don’t allow fear of failure to become dream-killers, instead, use fear of failure as a motivator to catapult you to your next level,” Boyd said. 

For the recipients of the Helping Hand Award, coworkers and friends of the winners were interviewed before the gala and the videos were shown on the monitors. The recipients then gave acceptance speeches. 

The 2024 Helping Hand winners were Kenny Knox, Sandra Crim, and Ben Hamilton. Knox is the owner of Knox Tire Center in Valley. Crim is a Lieutenant at the Valley Police Department and a School Resource Officer for the school system. Hamilton is the owner of Johnny’s Pizza in West Point, Ga. 

Once the speeches were done, the foundation did a raffle for prizes from the sponsors. The rest of the night was filled with music from a live band, Frankie Hutchinson and the Group. 

The last words of the night were given by Reed himself. While the others who spoke throughout the evening praised Reed for his work in the community, Reed used his time to highlight the people closest to him. He “gave flowers” as he put it, to the workers of the Reed Foundation, those who had driven in for the event, and had some come up and speak. 

He brought up three of the Lanett coaches who helped him become an equipment manager years ago. Today, Cameron is an equipment manager for the Chicago Bears in the National Football League. Next, was a former elementary school teacher from Lanett City Schools who made an impact on him. 

One of the guests of honor who was invited to speak was not from the area. Tony Medlin, is the director of equipment for the Bears and has been with the team for 37 years. Reed introduced him as an “NFL pioneer” and the “first African American equipment manager in the National Football League.”

Medlin summed Reed up in his speech by saying, “I just want you all to know that you have someone very special here. If young people want to know how to follow somebody, this is one person to follow.”