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Southside Outreach Group holds banquet

William E. Coleman was the guest of honor Friday evening at the fourth annual banquet of the Southside Outreach Group, Inc., held at Washington Coleman Community Center.

In addition to serving as keynote speaker, Coleman was presented an award for his recognition, appreciation and support of the organization by its executive director, Earl Howerton Sr.

The Southside Outreach Group is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization that has assisted families in Halifax and surrounding counties with housing since 1995. 

According to Howerton, Southside Outreach has been responsible for giving 35 families home ownership opportunities, providing rehabilitation to many homes, and the organization currently is working on two homes. 

During the Friday evening banquet, South Boston Town Manager Ted Daniel provided a PowerPoint presentation showing the history and recent reconstruction of the Washington Coleman Community Center. 

Following the catered dinner, guests were challenged by keynote speaker William E. Coleman “to take on the majesty traits and characteristics of an eagle.” 

 Coleman is a Halifax County native who currently resides in the Alton/Turbeville community with his wife, Margaret. He is a graduate of Mary M. Bethune High School, William Penn College with a major in accounting and LaSalle Extension University in Chicago with a major in business administration. 

He is the former executive director of the Tri-County Community Action Agency, Inc. Coleman was the first African-American elected to the county board of supervisors serving from 1985 to 1997.

He currently serves on the Halifax Regional Health System Board of Directors and is the financial and administrative officer of the Southside Community Services Board. 

 “One writer used the eagle to describe a true leader by stating that a true leader does not turn back at the sight of a storm — but finds a way to rise above it and continue to soar,” Coleman said. “So, let us soar way above pettiness, way above hate, way above jealousness, way above self-righteousness and way above envy and false pride.” 

Coleman also asked Southside Outreach to continue in carrying out “God’s given mission.” 

He described the organization as a “door-keeper and a watchman at the gates of government.” 

 “As a watchman at the gates of government at the local, state and federal levels, your organization has endeavored to arm the least of these with useful information, knowledge and resources for their survival,” said Coleman. 

Guests were encouraged to become more involved in politics for “if you don’t mess with politics, then politics will surely mess with you.” 

Coleman reminded everyone of their right to vote, calling it a “powerful tool” and asked everyone to “re-commit to be and remain a good citizen under the almighty God.” 

 “As a watchman at the gate, I’m sure many of you find yourself asking yourself why does God allow all the evil to exist in this world?” said Coleman. 

According to Coleman, many believe the answer to that question can be found in the Book of Job where it says, “have you tried my servant?” 

“Just remember that in a world when evil seems to triumph over good and righteousness that God trusts us to trust him,” said Coleman, 

“Just be patient and listen to His warnings, I am a living witness - he will surely see you through.” 

Coleman thanked Southside Outreach and all of its supporters for “their commitment to continue to soar just like an eagle.” 

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