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Hester Woods named Hero at I-CAN Hero Luncheon

By Joe Starkey



After an opening invocation by Rev. Iziar Lankford of Plum Street United Methodist Church, Mr. Petty Hunter gave the traditional history of the I-CAN. During the 1960s and 70s, the Carver neighborhood deteriorated and gained a criminal reputation especially for North 13th Street. In 1990 citizens stepped up and asked for help. A small group met time and time again {{more}} to discuss issues, make plans and became a “point of awareness.” “The cry of one of our mothers to stop the drugs and killing became I-CAN.”This group got rid of the drugs on North 13th and recently was one of the forces for getting the mess on North 8th street cleaned up. They helped expand the GV Daniels Center giving youth a place to go. They became leaders and a model for others to look up to and follow. They are a process to gain resources for the neighborhood. A recent accomplishment was a tool shed with lawn mowers and edgers for the neighborhood to use in maintaining their homes. He finished by stating that leadership, vision and discipline are why I-CAN succeeds.Mistress of Ceremony was Ms. Kyna Grigsby, Anchor KRBC TV News a presented her “little sister”, Alvia Simmons from the Big Brother and Sister Program performing songs for entertainment. Very well done Alvia.Mr. Larry Gilley introduced the speaker, Mr. Richey Childers, City Manager in Lancaster, Texas. Rickey grew up in Abilene and graduated from the University of Tulsa. After graduating from college he was drafted to play professional football, however injuries sidelined that career. He then focused on a career in city management. Mr. Childers was the first Afro-American selected to be an Assistant City Manager in Abilene in 1985 and became City Manager for Lancaster in 2006. Mr. Childers was City Manager in Longview, Texas an assistant City Manager in several other cities before assuming his current position.Mr. Childers began his talk by saying he always remembered the lessons from his father and others while growing up in Abilene. He stated that Woodson School was their cultural center in the 60s. His first job in city management in Abilene was to create part of the plan to relocate people from the flood plain. They got the funding to do this and now “those plains are ball fields”. “Community activism is not new but it IS ALWAYS NEEDED.” We can not wait for government to do it – Neighborhoods must take responsibility for themselves. The Dangers are 1. Apathy often expressed as my vote doesn’t count but “then you don’t have a dog in the fight and must lay back and take whatever comes.” 2. Leadership – we need both leaders and good followers to get a job done. He asked that we accept whichever role is necessary to get the job done. 3. Knowledge – Know what you are talking about and do not let the loudest voice run the show. 4. Building relationships in a group – keep your personal business to yourself and . take Accountability by getting your job done or communicating to the group that you need help. This works for both public and private responsibilities. And Last – TAKE COURAGE and be not afraid of cynics.Reverend Andrew Penn presented Sister Hester Woods as the I-CAN Hero for 2008. Sister Hester Woods has played a significant role in the battle against health neglect issues and minority education issues for the Carver Neighborhood by volunteering and sharing her expertise for every event, working every Cleanup and Health Fair and supporting all efforts to improve the physical and spiritual lives of residents and visitors to our community. She does not hold office for many of her efforts but she is always there making it look good or make sense for all of us. Being the woman of god we all expect to see and even when she is absent we know that she is there, Sister Hester Woods who is long time a member of I-CAN, the Conference Coordinator for the Original West Texas Baptist Association, Inc., she serves on the Cultural Affairs Commission, the Alliance for Women and Children and the Church Secretary of New Fellowship Baptist Church.

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