FORT HOOD — The Killeen Branch of the NAACP had very humble beginnings with about 60 people attending its first banquet 41 years ago.
On Saturday night, 460 people from throughout the community gathered in support of the NAACP’s 41st annual Freedom Fund Banquet at Club Hood.
Bishop Nathaniel Holcomb, founder and pastor of the Christian House of Prayer, was the evening’s keynote speaker. The theme of the evening was: “Still Fighting for the Cause of Freedom and Justice for All!”
“This banquet helps us to raise funds so we can operate for the year and continue our community service projects,” said Rosa Hereford, chair of the Freedom Fund Committee. “More importantly, we are here to honor our scholarship recipients. We focus on our youth because they will grow up to be our leaders.”
TaNeika Driver-Moultrie, president of the Killeen NAACP, said their organization is for “anyone because discrimination doesn’t have race, a color or a gender.”
Attendees donned their finery, dined on roast sirloin and baked chicken and were treated to a performance by the Glorious Praise Dance Ministry and musical medleys courtesy of Calvin Moultrie, CEO of Men of Purpose, and Voices of Unity and Eerial and Trish Moore, both members of the organization.
The main purpose of the event was to award scholarships to six high school students from the Killeen and Copperas Cove Independent School districts.
“I can go to school and have less debt,” said Shakira Wingate, 18, of Shoemaker High School.
Wingate was awarded a $1,000 scholarship sponsored by the NAACP and Extraco Bank. She plans to attend Wesleyan University or Southern Methodist University to pursue her dream of marrying medicine and outreach.
“This gives me hope for college knowing that behind every corner lies open-minded students like myself,” said Manuel Brion, 17, of Killeen High School. He received a $1,000 scholarship from First National Bank of Texas and Fort Hood National Bank. He will attend the University of North Texas to study theater arts.
Other scholarship recipients were Alexus Blake, 18, of Copperas Cove High School; Keanna Moore, 18, of Ellison High School; Lynda Lambert, 18, of Harker Heights High School; and Joseph Enriquez, 18, of Copperas Cove High School.
Several community leaders thanked the NAACP for serving the public.
The NACCP also recognized this year’s community partners: H-E-B, Metroplex Health Systems, Ashley Furniture, All American Chevrolet, Killeen ISD, the city of Killeen and Greater Peace Missionary Baptist Church.