By Sophie Higby
Samford University kicked off the new month and inauguration week with the Medallion Awards ceremony in the Jane Hollock Brock Recital Hall on Nov. 1. In honor of Beck A. Taylor becoming Samford’s 19th president, the Medallion Awards recognized those who have made a difference in society through community affairs and the church within Alabama.
WVTM-13 news anchor Rick Karle hosted the awards and kept the audience engaged with his quick wit and sincerity.
“Those who earned those awards, truly earned it,” Karle said.
The first recipient of the Medallion Award was Mark Wakefield with Alabama Baptist Disaster Relief. Distinguishable by their bright, hopeful yellow shirts, the Relief group has aided those in need with food, water, childcare, repairs and even the rebuilding of homes.
“It is my honor to receive this award on behalf of hundreds and hundreds of volunteers,” Wakefield said. “When we put our hearts, our finances and our work together, we can accomplish what the Lord has called us to do.”
The second recipient of the evening was Frances Ford, executive director of Sowing Seeds of Hope. Ford works in Perry County, a place described as “persistent poverty.” Sowing Seeds of Hope works with members of the community to help meet their needs and provide hope to the hopeless.
Ford graduated from Samford University and received her degree from the Moffet and Sanders School of Nursing. Her ties to Samford have allowed current students to become aware of the needs in Perry County.
“It has always been a joy to work with the Samford students that come. They play a part, and they do work with us,” Ford said.
The last recipient was Tony Cooper, the now-retired former executive director of Jimmie Hale Mission. The nonprofit organization provides services such as an addiction recovery curriculum, education and training skills, individualized counseling, discipleship and chapel services and job placements for no cost.
“Thank you to Samford University; thank you to the board of directors for this prestigious honor,” Cooper said. “You can’t do it without your family,” he said, referring to Samford as his.
To conclude the ceremony, President Taylor spoke and expressed his inspiration by the stories of faith. Taylor referred to the recipients as “superb exemplars” of faithful action given in service to others.
Wakefield, Ford and Cooper were each awarded with a check for $1,000 to continue their good works in the communities.