Guest post by Mel Redd

Many individuals in the Middle Georgia area contribute their time, effort, leadership, and generosity to the community. On March 17, 2018, the Middle Georgia Fisk Alumni Association will recognize such individuals who have shown exemplary service, selfless giving, and commitment to their profession.

The 2nd Annual “Tribute to Middle Georgia Legends” Scholarship Brunch will honor four community leaders with the Leontine Espy Award of Excellence. Those being honored include:

Starr Hutchings Purdue, Entrepreneur – Mrs. Purdue is a funeral director and the Treasurer of Hutchings Funeral Home, Inc. She is the State Treasurer for the Georgia Funeral Service Practitioners Association and National Treasurer for the National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association. A licensed insurance agent and CPA, Mrs. Purdue serves as board chairman for Navicent Health and the Development Authority of Bibb County, and she is a member of other local boards.

James Caldwell, Educator – A retired teacher of French, humanities, and social studies, Mr. Caldwell’s innovative style of teaching and love of the French language earned him the 2008 Governor’s Award in the Humanities. His greatest accolade in teaching has been exposing his students to the world of culture and travel. He has taken groups of students to France, Italy, the Netherlands, England, Switzerland, Germany, and Belgium. He currently teaches French at Georgia Academy for the Blind and serves on several local boards.

Richard Keil, Social Activist – Moved by the struggle for equality, Mr. Keil has dedicated his life to the cause of social justice. A former priest at St. Peter Claver Church, Mr. Keil is the founder of the Tubman Museum of African American Art, History, and Culture. The goal of the museum is to remind people of the integrity and strength of the African American experience. One of the highpoints of his life was attending the March on Washington in 1963. He is the author of the book “Lessons Along the Way: Before, During and After the Priesthood.”

William Turner, Sr., Educator – As a teacher and administrator, Mr. Turner showed an unrelenting enthusiasm for his work, and he provided a haven of support, guidance, and encouragement for many Houston County students. A charter member of the Omega Gamma Gamma Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and a charter member of the Greater Warner Robins Pan-Hellenic Council, he continues to impact local youth through his activism with the fraternity. Mr. Turner also serves on the Citizens Panel Review Board for the Juvenile Courts of Houston County.

These honorees have demonstrated excellence in their field, and their accomplishments and leadership have provided guidance and encouragement to others in our community for many years. These individuals have brought distinction to themselves and benefit to their communities.

A “Tribute to Middle Georgia Legends” also serves as a fundraiser to assist local students striving to pursue an education at one of the nation’s finest institutions, Fisk University. Founded in 1866, Fisk, is a historically black, liberal arts university located in Nashville, Tennessee. “Cultivating Scholars and Leaders One by One” is Fisk’s motto. The University currently ranks # 9 on the US News and World Report Historically Black Colleges and Universities list and boasts of alumni such as W. E. B. DuBois and Representative John Lewis. Fisk has a rich and resilient history, and as alumni, we are proud to stand on the shoulders of so many, especially the original Jubilee Singers.

As a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, the Middle Georgia Fisk University Alumni Association’s mission is to increase visibility and promote goodwill in the community, to recruit and support talented students who desire to attend Fisk, and to continue the Fisk tradition of leadership and excellence.

A “Tribute to Middle Georgia Legends” will take place at the Anderson Conference Center, 3661 Eisenhower Parkway, Macon, Georgia, at 11:00 am on March 17, 2018. The festivities will include an appetizing brunch, silent auction, local entertainment, and special tribute to the Family and Friends of Fisk University.

We invite you to join us as we celebrate the vision, skill, and courage of our honorees for being guiding lights for others to follow.

For additional information, contact Mel Redd at 478-747-0457 or email



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