Billy King named Outstanding Citizen at Chamber Banquet
By Joe Starkey
It is not often that the speaker at a business meeting starts by requesting two gospel songs, but Ms. Cynthia Fitzgerald made exactly that request to Mrs. Susan Petty. Mrs. Petty received a standing ovation after an outstanding rendition of “Soon I’ll be done with the trouble of the World”.Ms. Fitzgerald was introduced as a woman whose business done over seven million dollars this year . She quickly disabused us of the concept that this was easy to do. Her total profit for the first year was $464.00 . And she basically lived on Raman noodles for two years but did not have the sense to stop. The Anthrax threat after 911 gave her the first break. She found out the government was asking for bids for Respirator Masks. She called at 10:15 in the morning and found out the bid was due at 11:00 AM. She put the bid together in 40 minutes and WON.She posed the question to us that many have asked her, “what’s it like to be a success?” Her answer is that “success can only be evaluated backwards.” “It is what happened when you were going up the rough side of the mountain.” She moved to Texas at 42 after a divorce that took her job, house, and all her money. “I was convinced that I would find a way to eat.” She said. She started her business with “No Money, No Plan and No Hope.” After that first good contract, she found out that for one step forward, there can be five steps back. She got to her personal point of BEING SUCCESSFUL – “I could get my hair done every week” when they “MOVED HER CHEESE” as a result of an employee embezzling $325,000.00 leaving her without the money to pay her suppliers. Her lawyer told her to file bankruptcy, she fired him. He told her there was no shame “BUT I would not be me” she said. She took all her retirement savings, paid her creditors crying as she wrote out the checks and then delivered them personally telling her creditors that “I got the merchandise in good faith and I’m it paying back in good faith” The result was that her suppliers kept her in business.Then the subject changed to community and responsibility. She begin by saying, “Nobody seems to take personal responsibility but at the end of the day – it comes back to you.” “We are lacking in this country as companies and government officials are all trying to find the Out Clause”. Coming broke to Texas after her divorce, she found jobs with two companies but quit both as they were dishonest. She started her own business after realizing that if you work for someone else = a job and, “Any time, any place, any reason, someone can upset your boat.” She also commented that the older you are, the more opportunies you have for success. You have experience and knowledge far beyond what a child just coming out of school has.Have a dream? Pursue it. It does not have to be a big one. Her dream was to be able to get her hair done every week. Find something to do. The secret is that you don’t have to be the best – just be consistent and willing to pay the price.Her last subject was that the next generation – all colors – do not know how to work. In particular, black people are going backwards. “We need to teach them how to work”, said Fitzgerald Today’s grownups did this to the children by trying to give them what they did not have instead of teaching them to work for what they wanted or needed. The parents here are the gatekeepers and we screwed it up – We spoiled them for work. “We did not teach our children to fish and they are about to starve,” she said. She calls Corporate America the “Plantation” because we’re still picking cotton. Her final remark was, “It better be your cotton or you will starve.”A special presentation was made by Mrs. Neomia Bank as the Abilene Black Chamber of Commerce recognized Mr. Billy King as the Citizen of the Year. Mr. Floyd Miller let us in on “Billy’s Plan”. He had nominated a person he felt worthy but was not at the board meeting that selected the person. He called Floyd the next day and asked who won? Floyd simply told him that his suggestion was a good one. Then Billy proposed that the Board tell everyone that Billy won and it would be a great surprise when the winner was called. His plan worked perfectly as he was almost speechless when his name was called.
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