‘CADA 11’ inducted

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 11, 2008

RICH SQUARE – Several past and present employees with the Choanoke Area Development Association (CADA) have been recognized for their work with the local community action group.

Recently the North Carolina Community Action Association (NCCAA) inducted 31 honorees into the NCCAA Hall of Fame. Eleven of those honorees were associated with CADA, a non-profit corporation that assists low-income people in Bertie, Hertford, Northampton and Halifax counties.

“These individuals have contributed a lot to the early years and the continuation of CADA,” said Sallie Surface, Executive Director of CADA. “We’re very proud of all our inductees.”

Surface, a past NCCAA Hall of Fame inductee herself, added several of those inducted were important figures involved with CADA’s history that spans more than 40 years.

“This is our way of honoring them,” she said.

Surface said the induction ceremony took place at the Sea Trail Convention Center in Sunset Beach, NC. Those honored received a framed certificate along with a medallion to mark their induction.

Created in 2005, the Hall of Fame strives to recognize the work of outstanding leaders while also capturing the history of community action agencies.

Previous NCCAA Hall of Fame inductees from CADA include Dr. Bruce E. Whitaker, Bob Spivey, Rev. James Clemonts, Doris Cochran, Robert Earl Sessoms, James T. Barnett, The Honorable John Hall and Paulette Lawrence.

Honorees were nominated by CADA’s Board of Directors under one of the following categories:

* Champions: Individuals who have made an impact and contribution to the community action movement.

* Board of Directors: Board members whose leadership and community involvement is recognized in the community the agency serves.

* Executive Directors: Executive Directors whose dedication, guidance, work ethic and loyalty to community action have brought about positive change in the agency and the community served.

* Staff: Staff whose good work ethic, loyalty, longevity and dedication has made a positive impact in the community action agency and the community.

Among those recently inducted into the Hall of Fame were two well-known Roanoke-Chowan leaders.

The late State Senator Rev. Robert Lee Holloman was inducted into the NCCAA Hall of Fame under Champion. Holloman served as a member of CADA’s Board of Directors from 1994 to 1999.

In addition to representing eight counties, Holloman was a pastor at Nebo Missionary Baptist Church in Murfreesboro.

Holloman’s colleague, the late House Representative Howard J. Hunter Jr., was also inducted under Champion.

Hunter served on CADA’s Board of Directors from 1978 to 1983. He was recognized by the North Carolina Affordable Housing Coalition as the Legislator of the Year for his work to provide affordable standard housing for all North Carolinians. Hunter served nine full terms in the North Carolina General Assembly.

Current CADA Board of Directors President Cleveland Blount Jr. also received recognition.

Installed as a board member in 1990, Blount has served for nine consecutive terms representing the “public” population of Hertford County.

Blount has held a number of positions over 31 years at Roanoke Chowan Community College (RCCC). He retired from RCCC in 2004 and is now an assistant basketball coach at Elizabeth City State University.

Former Board of Directors President Fred Cooper was the leading forces in 1963 in helping CADA receive funding from the North Carolina Fund. At first the organization was turned down but with the late Cooper’s persistence and a personal phone call to former Governor Sanford, funds were secured for CADA, which led to the non-profit’s first paid staff and office space.

A resident of Roanoke Rapids, Cooper served the state as President of the North Carolina Good Neighbors Council.

Longtime community leader and business man Thurman Askew served as a CADA Board member from 1968 to 1972 and also served as president.

The late Askew was employed at Newsome Oil Company for 54 years and was involved in his community through various roles as a public servant. His civic involvements included serving as a councilman on the Roanoke Rapids City Council, President of the Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce and President and Chair of the Roanoke Valley Red Cross.

Board member Joyce Bohannon has served on the CADA Board for more than 21 years and is currently the board’s First Vice President.

A 41-year veteran educator in Halifax County, Bohannon is involved in numerous efforts, including the National Education Association and the North Carolina Association of Educators. She has volunteered at the Roanoke Valley Medical Ministries Free Clinic, sponsored the Davie Middle School Junior Beta Club for 26 years and was named as William R. Davie Middle School Teacher of the Year.

The late James Edward Wright served on the CADA Board of Directors for many years.

He began his career as a Vocational Agriculture Educator in 1951 and retired as one of the first African-American Agriculture Extension Directors in the state. He served in many professional and civic organizations including the RCCC Community College Board of Trustees and CS Brown Cultural Arts Center and Museum Board of Directors. Wright was also receiving numerous honors for his work among them the National Distinguished Service Award for County Agriculture Extension Agents and a Presidential Citation from North Carolina A&T State University.

John William Taylor Sr. served as Executive Director for CADA from 1965 to 1973.

The late Taylor received his early education in Kentucky and earned a BS Degree in Business Administration from Hampton University in Virginia. Before joining CADA, he was involved in the insurance and construction business. After serving as Executive Director, he accepted a position with the Cooperative Extension Service of Virginia

Polytechnic Institute and Virginia State College in Petersburg, Va. He retired from that position in 1989.

Staff Member Wendell Edwards served CADA for 17 years in a number of capacities, including assistant center director, administrative assistant, center supervisor and transportation director.

In 1983, Edwards became the Executive Director of the Choanoke Public Transportation Authority (CPTA), a position he held until his retirement in 2007. He received his BS Degree from Shaw University and attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in conjunction with the North Carolina Fund. His civic involvements include being a charter member of the Northampton County Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Northampton County Historic Commission and the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity.

Other honors include the Governor’s Transportation Award, the Federal Transit Administration’s Outstanding Service Award and the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.

Staff Member Bessie Mitchell served the community for 34 years while at CADA, first as a community service secretary and then as Manager of Community Services for Bertie County.

Mitchell is involved with a number of community organizations, including Askewville Baptist Church, Askewville Fire Department and is the Chairwoman of the Family Ministry Community Development Association. She is also a founding member of West Chowan Baptist Association Toy Store Committee that has great success in providing affordable toys to low-income families at Christmas. Mitchell is a graduate of Chowan College.

Staff Member Alice Sharpe was also inducted into the NCCAA Hall of Fame. Sharpe has worked with CADA for 34 years as a Manager of a Community Service Center. She continues to assist low-income residents today by serving on the Dominion Resources Advisory Board for the Energy Share Program.

Her other community involvements include Hertford County Smart Start Team Leader and First Chair, Co-Founder of the Hertford County Habitat for Humanity Program, State Migrant Advisory Council and the State Task Force for Vocational Education. Sharpe’s current involvements include the Area Agency on Aging, North Carolina Senior Tar-Heel Legislature Alternate and a founder of Harrellsville Churches United.

The NCCAA is a membership organization for community action agencies.