NORFOLK/NEW JOURNAL AND GUIDE
Hundreds of persons, including current and former employees, leaders and individuals who have benefitted from programs, attended the 50th anniversary celebration of STOP, Inc in Chesapeake on November 21. TV personality Ashley Smith served as the M.C.
State Senator L. Louise Lucas was the keynote speaker for the event, regaling the audience with stories about her community involvement in Portsmouth and elsewhere, and her tenure as the fifth and first female Executive Director of the agency.
Jim Schuyler, the Executive director of the Virginia Community Action Partnership (VACAP) delivered the “State of Occasion.”
Schuyler cited the recent visit to the U.S. by Pope Francis who urged the government to help people reach their full potential, as summation of the work of STOP, Inc over the years.
“Isn’t that the message of community action, which you have practiced for the past fifty years,” asked Schuyler. “The agency has a proud history of working collaboratively with other organizations, with local and state governments, with business and faith communities, and community leaders and low income people themselves to achieve your mission.”
Greetings and celebratory messages were issued by Chesapeake Mayor Dr. Alan Krasnoff and delivered from the office of U.S. Senator Mark Warner, as well as by state affiliated agencies.
Three categories of awards were bestowed, first on the cities and counties which worked to help form the STOP, Inc in 1965.
The Community Partnership awards went to The Boleman Law Firm, PNC Bank, Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority, Attorney Taylor Walker and Towne Bank.
The 2015 Lifetime Achievement Awards went to Brenda H. Andrews, Publisher of the New Journal and Guide; George C. Crawley, the founder of the Hampton Roads 200+ Men and STOP’s second Executive Director; Claudia Gooch, of the Planning Council; Myrtle B. Humphrey, founder of the STOP’s Heart Start program at Grace Episcopal Church; and Ruby H. Walden, a community activist, founder of Head Start Suffolk and the agency’s Community Service Coordinator.
During the event, Mrs. Regina P. Lawrence, STOP Inc’s current President and CEO, was honored for 41 years of service to the agency.
The city of Virginia Beach issued a proclamation declaring November 21 as George F. Reed Day in honor of the outgoing STOP, Inc Board Chair for his long tenure of service to the agency.
Also, the City of Chesapeake issued a proclamation in honor of Mr. Reed’s service and dedication to the agency.
During the event, Mr. Reed’s replacement was named. Current Vice Chair William E. Curtis is now STOP, Inc’s new Chair of the Board.