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Speaker: Continue to do ‘Lord’s work’

Southside Outreach Group, Inc. held its third annual banquet Friday night at Halifax County High School featuring keynote speaker the honorable Sherman Saunders. Saunders currently serves as Danville mayor and Pittsylvania Community Action Agency executive director.

Saunders, a veteran of the United States Army, served in Vietnam and first became a member of Danville City Council in 1996. He is a member of several community and civic organizations and serves on a number of boards. 

For 40 years he has been married to Sanford “Sandy” Patricia Saunders.

After a catered dinner was served, Saunders congratulated the group for all the great work they have done and continue to do.

The mission of the group is to assist low-to-moderate income persons in obtaining safe, decent and affordable housing.

According to Saunders, who recently announced his retirement from Pittsylvania Community Action Agency after 42 years, the group invests in helping people, and they should continue to do “the Lord’s work.”

“Let people run their mouths, you run your business,” said Saunders. “People have a better quality of life because of what you do.” 

Saunders told attendees he understood poverty and being poor, he was 23 years old before his family had indoor plumbing, and he was raised on a tobacco farm.

“But I can honestly say there was a lot of love in our home, support and encouragement,” said Saunders.

Saunders added everyone needs a helping hand.

“No one has ever obtained anything of their own volition,” said Saunders.

Before closing, Saunders emphasized to everyone the importance of voting in the upcoming election. Saunders told the crowd that “all votes do count.”

He shared an experience of when he was up for re-election in 2000, and he lost by 59 votes.

“After the election I had over a hundred people apologize for me not winning because they didn’t vote,” said Saunders. “If 60 people had voted, I would have won.” 

Saunders concluded, “Thank you for what you do every day.”

Southside Outreach Group, Inc. President Chris Ward and Executive Director Earl Howerton thanked those in attendance for coming, including all the agencies who make the success of the group possible.