Thursday, November 23, 2017

Epsilon Eta Zeta's Community Pearls Scholarship Luncheon

In observance of Finer Womanhood, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority recognized five outstanding ladies of the community for their extraordinary community service.  The number five is noteworthy of the five founders of our sorority.  The 2017 honorees were recognized at the chapter’s luncheon which was held at the Columbus Country Club.  The guest speaker for this occasion was Ms. Chrislyn Turner.

Ms. Turner has an affinity for nonprofit service and it has been her life’s passion.  Currently, she serves as the Zetas Enlightening and Uplifting (ZEAL) Foundation Board President.  Z.E.A.L. is the 501c3 fundraising arm of Rho Xi Zeta Chapter. Ms. Turner has over 15 years of non-profit leadership and board experience. As a proud Diamond Level member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Ms. Turner served as past National Executive Board Member, Regional and State Director of the Southeastern Region.

The 2017 Community Pearl honorees were as follows:  Mrs. Lillian V. Baker, Mrs. Joyce Dent-Fitzpatrick, Mrs. LaTivia Rivers, Dr. JoAnn Thomas-Buchanan and Ms. Katonga L. Wright.
Mrs. Lillian Vaughn Baker is a Salem, Alabama native and a lifelong educator and community servant having worked as a teacher, principal, director of community education, assistant superintendent and three times interim superintendent in Russell County. She was also the first black female to serve as Assistant Superintendent.  She attended Alabama A & M, Troy University, Phenix City and Auburn University.

Mrs. Baker has been recognized for community service with many organizations to include (RCERA) Russell County Education Retirees Association, serving as secretary for eighteen years, St. Paul CME Church in Crawford, Alabama as church secretary, Christian Education Director, Advisor of the Missionary Auxiliary, and Vacation Bible School.  Mrs. Baker served tirelessly on the Inaugural Committee of the Phenix City Mayor’s Day of Compassion and an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

Mrs. Joyce Dent-Fitzpatrick is a Lieutenant with the Columbus Police Department’s Special Victims Unit (Sex Crimes/Youth Services), where she has proudly served her community for over 30 years.  She is a native of Lumpkin, Georgia and is married to John Fitzpatick, Jr.  She received her Bachelor of Science degree, Master of Science in Public Administration/Justice Administration from Columbus State University.

Joyce’s passion for mankind extends beyond her daily responsibilities at the Columbus Police Department.  She raises awareness within the community as a guest speaker on bullying and sex crimes, an active participant in motorcycle rides for cancer awareness and a volunteer for Heroes and Helpers Annual Children’s Christmas Shopping Spree.

Mrs. Fitzpatrick’s memberships and affiliations are extensive but some include the Police Honor Guard Commander, State of Georgia Fraternal Order of Police Motor Unit, Stewards of Children, Coalition for the City of Columbus, Georgia on Ending Human Sex Trafficking Now, Easter Seals Board and Gamma Tau Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Mrs. LaTivia Rivers is currently the Manager of the Georgia Visitor Information Center, Columbus, Georgia.  Mrs. Rivers is a proud graduate of Wallace Community College and presently attends Troy University and is a certified “Travel Marketing Professional” (TMP).

Mrs. Rivers is extremely active in the tri-city community serving on numerous committees within the following organizations:  Phenix City Charter Review Committee, Phenix City Alabama-Mayor’s Ball, Whitney M. Young, Jr. Awards Banquet, Kiwanis and the 2016 General Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia Leadership Team. 

Dr. JoAnn Thomas-Buchanan is a Columbus native and proud parent of one daughter, Tamara Sheri’ Johnson.  Dr. Buchanan was educated in the public schools of Muscogee County.  She often speaks of the encouragement and positive contributions made by her parents and many teachers she encountered as she matriculated through school. Dr. Buchanan advanced through the Muscogee County System working as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, Director of Student Affairs, 504 Coordinator and Behavior Intervention Specialist at the Woodall Center.  Her passion to continue to educate and make life better for others lead her to open her own Healthcare business.  Dr. Thomas has made numerous charitable donations to community organizations and provide college scholarship assistance to deserving local high school students.

Dr. Thomas is a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Epsilon Eta Zeta Chapter.  Her motto is: “Stand for something or fall for everything!”

Katonga L. Wright, ESQ is a native of Columbus and a 1995 graduate of G.W. Carver High and Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.  In 2011 Ms. Wright and her father, Attorney William J. Wright, Sr. founded The Wright Legal Group, LLC.

Ms. Wright is the founder of Master of My Fate Mentoring Program; a not for profit initiative started to give students access to mentoring opportunities and career related camps and programs.  For the past four years, the program has focused on law related internships and summer camps for kids and young adults interested in becoming lawyers.  She has also worked with diversity initiatives within the State Bar of Georgia.

The luncheon was enjoyed by all. Proceeds from the luncheon will support our scholarship program for deserving high school students in the area.  Entertainment was provided by Ms. Josephine Ford, Soloist and Mr. Warren Thornton, Saxophonist. Photos by Davis Video Creations.