2009 Men of Substance Awards Dinner, June 22, Pineville, LA

Enjoy these photos from the 2009 Men of Substance Awards Dinner held Monday, June 22, at the Main Street Community Center in Pineville, LA.

All photos by Al Cotton

Pineville’s Lakeside residents: Beware of daytime home burglars

By Bill Sumrall
The Light

PINEVILLE — Two daytime breakins in Pineville’s Lakeside area have residents on the alert, a community leader said Friday, June 26.

“We’ve had some breakins here,” said Angelina Iles, who heads Pineville’s Concerned Citizens group. “The neighbors are beginning to be vigilant,” Iles said.

Lakeside area resident Kitty Harris complained that one daytime breakin occurred Wednesday, June 24, at a doublewide mobile home on Wayne Street and another occurred Thursday, June 25, at a house on Prince Street.

Harris speculated burglars have been “casing out” the area.

Lately there’s been a lot of foot traffic noticed in the afternoons and evenings, Iles said.

“These are people we don’t know,” Iles said.

There’s been much transient traffic this summer and Iles warned that new renters in the area should be aware of this problem.

Pineville’s police department has a community policing program but the area affected also falls under the jurisdiction of the parish, Iles said.

Iles added the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office no longer has an assigned contact person or deputy to provide the coverage as in the past.

However, concerned citizens can learn more about what to do during the Neighborhood Watch organization’s meeting the last Tuesday each month, with the upcoming meeting at 6 p.m. June 30 in the Main Street Community Center of downtown Pineville, Iles said.

The Light honors 10 men who make a difference

Men of Substance cover

By Leonard Ford

He’s your neighbor.

He’s your pastor.

He‘s your banker.

He’s your police juror.

He volunteers to help senior citizens. He’s a local historian. He mentors your children. He’s the board president of your local health care center. He’s a principal.  And he’s a Man of Substance.

But there’s more to them than meets the eye. Every day,  in Alexandria there are countless individuals who pour their hearts and souls into mentoring youth, sprucing up neighborhoods, working with the elderly, or simply volunteering their time and energy to help others. Their acts of service may not gain them any attention, but what they do, has positively impacted their community and others.

The men who have been nominated by their families, wife, church member, friend, or others, and who have been chosen as The Light’s 2009 Men of Substance are just a few of those  whose passion to serve motivates them to contribute to their community, to assist those in need, and to uplift individuals, families, and neighborhoods. Everyone knows that volunteerism and service plays an important and significant role in communities around the country, particularly black communities.

All of them stand out for taking the extra steps to do what is needed to help others and are behind the scenes making things happen that you don’t hear or read about. They each have shown a conspicuous level of compassion, commitment, and willingness to give. That giving, caring, and sharing of themselves are their ways of preserving the quality of live in the community in which they live.

They have never or never would seek recognition for their work. I believe that each of them do what they do because they want to make their community a better place. I also believe that they do the things they do because they have a heart and a spirit that has no limits. Each 2009 Man of Substance has his own personal style of doing things, which is very inspirational to others and which makes others want to emulate them.  They have done, and are continuing to do outstanding work in Central Louisiana.

Thank you 2009 Men of Substance for your dedicated service to your community, and congratulations on your honor. You truly deserve this recognition.

The Light, Pages 1-4, revised Pages 5-8

Forget the myth, good black fathers exist

June 15  cover

As we get ready to celebrate Father’s Day, the thought of so many of our young black children not having a father in their lives has me asking this question: “Are there any good black fathers out there?

It’s a legitimate question to ask as many in mainstream America still has this stereotypical view of black men as being shiftless, untrustworthy, uneducated, unemployed, womanizers, dope heads/dope dealers, thugs, criminals, hustlers, and absentee fathers. This is true of a significant number of black men, as the problems of black men in this country have been statistically well documented. However, it is not true of every black man as some believe.

What those statistics don’t tell you and what never seems to get acknowledged is the countless number of black men who embody the essence of fatherhood. In other words, good black fathers do exist in America despite what the media or society would have us believe.

Unfortunately, not enough focus is put on, and not enough credit is given to black men who are good fathers. Along with being good fathers, black men are also nurturing fathers, responsible fathers, caring fathers, loving fathers, and supportive fathers. There are more good black fathers out there than are ever talked about. They very seldom come up in our conversations.

Far too many of us always seem to lump all black men under the category of negativism that is so associated with being a black man in this country.  And that’s because all of us, on a regular basis, have been exposed to the stereotypes of black men. But, in truth, there are many black men who live up to their roles as fathers and providers to their children.

The notion that good black fathers are not supposed to be is wrong, dead wrong. And that takes me back to the question – “are there any good black fathers out there? I know, and can attest to, that good black fathers do exist and are out there in my neighborhood, your neighborhood, and in everyone’s neighborhood across this country. Good black fathers are far more plentiful than one would think. When a black man takes an active role in raising his children, being with them, providing for them financially, supporting them in their activities, helping them with their homework, taking them to the park, library, or doctor, you know that he is a good father. Hey, wait a minute. He’s a GREAT FATHER.

Black men are some of the most dedicated fathers around, and we have many of them right here in Central Louisiana. They are protectors, healers, mentors, role models, disciplinarians, and teachers.  Many of them have endeavored to be the same type of father to their children as their own father was to them.  They are walking the walk of committed fatherhood.

Speaking of a great father, my brother, John Kelvin Ford, is one of the best fathers that I know. He is always there for his daughter, Kelvina. He takes her to the doctor, to her dance classes, and doing just about anything she asks him to do for her. He loves her very much, and there is nothing that he will not do for her. He seriously takes his role as her father to heart. My hat goes off to him for being such a wonderful and caring father.

To those black men who know what the true meaning of fatherhood is, I say “Happy Father’s Day to you, and keep on “fathering” on.

And to my father, Leonard (“Tootsie”) Ford, Sr., who passed away in 1987, I say thanks, Daddy, for everything that you did for us.  You may be gone, but you will forever be in our hearts.

June 15, Pages 1-4June 15, Pages 5-8June 15, Pages 9-12

Celebrate Black Music Month

June 1-14, 2009 coverPages 1-6, Pages 7-12