YWTSA cel­e­brates ‘Youth In­fu­sion’

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL - SJ Correspondent Mem­bers of YWTSA, as part of their MLK Day of Ser­vice project, visit Amaz­ing Grace Child Care in Cedar­town to make de­liv­er­ies of potato chips and other snacks to the chil­dren.

Lo­cal res­i­dents gath­ered on Sun­day to cel­e­brate the 32nd Martin Luther King Jr Day at Cedar­town’s Friend­ship Bap­tist Church for the 15th an­nual MLK Jr. “Youth” In­fu­sion cel­e­bra­tion.

A com­bi­na­tion of YWTSA (Youth Work­ing To­gether for a “Speedy” Aware­ness) mem­bers and other spon­sors worked to give the MLK Jr procla­ma­tion, give out com­mu­nity and lead­er­ship awards, pro­vide en­ter­tain­ment, and honor civil rights trail­blaz­ers.

Zoe Pasley — an hon­orary YWTSA am­bas­sador and fresh­man at Cedar­town High School — opened the Jan. 14 event by set­ting the oc­ca­sion and re­mind­ing the con­gre­ga­tion about King’s im­por­tance.

“On this oc­ca­sion, we gather as a com­mu­nity to pause and re­flect upon the life of a great man who changed Amer­ica,” she said. “God sent him to lead his peo­ple out of bondage, just as he sent Moses to de­liver the peo­ple of Is­rael. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Said ‘the ul­ti­mate mea­sure of a man is not where he stands in his mo­ments of com­fort and con­ve­nience, but where he stands at times of change and con­tro­versy.’ ‘Mea­sure Up’ is our theme for this mo­men­tous oc­ca­sion. Will you speak out like Fred­er­ick Dou­glas, learn like Booker T. Wash­ing­ton, help like Har­riet Tub­man, stay strong like Rosa Parks, in­spire like May An­gelou, or lead like Martin Luther King Jr.?”

Mea­sur­ing up and lead­er­ship were two cen­tral themes dur­ing the event, and these qual­i­ties were kept in mind dur­ing the hon­or­ing of 2018’s civil rights trail­blazer Ma­jor Estella Ham­mock Mc­Der­mott.

“It’s an award given to an in­di­vid­ual who has over­come the ob­sta­cles cre­ated by our na­tion dur­ing the post-civil rights move­ment,” WYTSA Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Pamela Baker-King said. “These in­di­vid­u­als are ed­u­cated, and they pro­vide ser­vices that have made a dif­fer­ence in the lives of others. They col­lab­o­rate in the dreams of others and help make di­ver­sity pos­si­ble.”

Mc­Der­mott was the vale­dic­to­rian of her grad­u­at­ing class from Cedar Hill High School in 1963. In 1967, she earned a Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence De­gree in math­e­mat­ics from Mor­ris Brown Col­lege in Atlanta. Later en­rolling in Ge­or­gia State Uni­ver­sity, Mc­Der­mott ob­tained a Mas­ter’s De­gree in sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion, and her pro­fes­sional ca­reer be­gan as an ed­u­ca­tor in sec­ondary Math­e­mat­ics for Musco­gee County’s School Sys­tem.

In 1975, Mc­Der­mott en­rolled in the United States Air Force Of­fi­cer Train­ing School in San An­to­nio, Texas where she was later com­mis­sioned Sec­ond Lieu­tenant.

The woman worked sev­eral dif­fer­ent di­vi­sions, reached dif­fer­ent ranks, and worked dif­fer­ent jobs all the while help­ing others. While sta­tioned in the Philip­pines, she helped a lo­cal or­phan­age by pro­vid­ing birthday cel­e­bra­tions, small con­struc­tion projects, and gen­eral moral sup­port. Mc­Der­mott reached the rank of Ma­jor later in 1990.

Un­til her re­tire­ment in 1995, she as­sumed the po­si­tion of Chief Pro­gram Analysis at the Aero­nau­ti­cal Sys­tems Cen­ter, Air Force Ma­te­rial Com­mand, F- 16 Pro­gram Of­fice Fi­nan­cial Man­age­ment Di­vi­sion at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Day­ton, Ohio.

Re­tire­ment wasn’t the end for the hard­work­ing woman, how­ever, be­cause Mc­Der­mott’s off-duty hours were spent at­tend­ing church, work­ing with the Holt Street Mir­a­cle Cen­ter for the home­less, par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Big Han­dles/Lit­tle Hands tu­to­rial pro­gram at Van Cleve School for the Arts, ed­u­cat­ing adults as Coosa Val­ley col­lege (now GNTC,) work­ing as a men­tal health asses­sor at Floyd Med­i­cal Cen­ter, and much more.

Pre­vi­ously hon­ored trail­blaz- ers Sarah Dar­den, Gla­dys Gip­son, David Huskins, John D. Callins, and Mary Ann West Callins were rec­og­nized, and Lynn El­lis, Sergeant Vanesa Holmes, and Michael At­wa­ter each took home awards earned from their con­tri­bu­tions to the com­mu­nity.

Like the hol­i­day, the “Youth” In­fu­sion teaches us that ex­cel­lence can be rec­og­nized re­gard­less of race, eth­nic­ity, sex, gen­der, or re­li­gion.

“In the end, the Rev­erend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr gave his life,” Pasley said. “But be­cause of him, we now live his dream and must con­tinue to pre­serve it for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.”

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