Businessman LeRoy Walker honored with ‘Hands of Providence’ award

Maggie Wade and LeRoy Walker

‘The Bottom Line for Kids Benefit Dinner and Auction’ presented by the Southern Christian Services for Children and Youth

By Ayesha K. Mustafaa


Maggie Wade and LeRoy Walker
Maggie Wade and LeRoy Walker

The annual Bottom Line for Kids Benefit Dinner and Auction was held at the Country Club of Jackson on Tuesday, September 22, featuring great entertainment by local musicians, a silent and live auctions, and awards dinner.

Popular Mississippi artist Alfred Nicols was the featured artist this year. Master of Ceremonies was local businessman Jeff Good. Auctioneer was Jim Wilkerson.

Maggie Wade of WLBT News made the presentation of the Hands of Providence Awards, which honored individuals making a significant and positive impact on the lives of children and youth through a faith commitment.

The three honorees this year were LeRoy Walker, Susan Garrard and First Christian Church of Meridian.

Walker was also recently named the 2014-15 Mentor of the Year by 100 Black Men of America, Inc. – being selected from among 126 chapters nationwide. He was honored as “one who blazed a trail of exceptional accomplishments as a dedicated, engaged and accomplished mentor.”

Walker is a pillar in the Jackson community and supports local colleges. In 1994, he was inducted into the Junior Achievement of Mississippi’s Business Hall of Fame. He serves on several business boards in the Jackson area. He often says that he takes the most pride in “inspiring people.”

He believes in helping young people and mentoring students. He is a founding member of the Jackson chapter of 100 Black Men.

The First Christian Church of Meridian was honored for its volunteer work missions and gifts for needy children throughout the state of Mississippi and beyond. Whether it be for tornado victims or simple needs of day-to-day life, from baby formula to blankets, the church has been there to assist.

It was instrumental in helping its sister church in New Orleans  getback on its feet. As part of its “Kentucky Ham Meal,” they fed over 3,000 a home cooked breakfast over a two-day period with over 100 volunteers. It gives a full scholarship each year for every child in its church to attend summer camp. Accepting the award on behalf of the church was Winn Umphlett.

Susan Garrard, president of the Mississippi Children’s Museum, was honored for her civic work, serving on boards such as the Belhaven Neighborhood Foundation, Jackson Preparatory School and the Junior League of Jackson.

She is responsible for the MCM’s $26.6 million capital campaign that realized the dream of the 40,000 square foot museum in Jackson. She presently serves on the International Association of Children’s Museums’ board of directors. And she was recognized by Goodwill as a Community Volunteer in 2009.

The proceeds from the dinner and auction benefit the programs operated by Southern Christian Services for Children and Youth, Inc.

It is a non-profit, faith based organization with the mission “to serve and equip vulnerable children and youth, assisting them in the process of becoming self-sufficient and contributing members of society by helping them to overcome the barriers created by poverty, neglect and abuse.”

Susan Garrad with Maggie Wade
Susan Garrad with Maggie Wade
Winn Umphlett and Maggie Wade
Winn Umphlett and Maggie Wade