Alpha Chapter Receives Townsend Award

COLUMBUS, Ga. - Columbus' Delta Iota Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., will receive the Dr. John Townsend Achievement Award as part of Columbus State University's 26th annual Black Applause Banquet Friday, Feb. 27 in the Cunningham Center's Blanchard Hall. The keynote speaker will be state Sen. Emanuel Jones, president of Legacy Chevrolet in Columbus.

The Townsend award, named in honor of the first African American to enroll at Columbus State, recognizes a local individual or organization for positive and noteworthy contributions to the community or for outstanding professional or personal service. Townsend and the Alpha chapter are linked historically by the chapter providing Townsend with tuition assistance for his Columbus College enrollment in the late 1960s.

Led by President Vincent McNeill, the 300-plus-member chapter includes about 50 members who are active in several community outreach and mentoring initiatives. Members are mentoring Eddy Middle School eighth-grade boys through Project Alpha, a national campaign to educate African-American males about the consequences of teenage pregnancy and the roles and responsibilities of fatherhood. The project also aims to reduce the rate of sexual abuse and violence among African-American teens.

Expanding health awareness, the chapter also conducts the Dr. M. Delmar Edwards Men's Health Awareness Fair to raise awareness of men's health issues and provides free screening for prostate cancer, high blood pressure and other conditions.

The annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Awards Breakfast is the chapter's primary scholarship fundraiser, and the chapter's Youth Leadership Conference has exposed high school students to workshops on topics such as money management, public speaking, table etiquette and leadership development.

Communitywide, the chapter annually provides Thanksgiving and Christmas food baskets to underprivileged families, and the 'Cool Our Seniors' program provides box fans to senior citizens and families who do not have air-conditioned living quarters. Chapter members also support the Combined Community Service of Columbus' academic tutorial program.

Alpha Phi Alpha was established in 1906 as the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity for African Americans and became racially integrated in 1945. The Columbus chapter formed in 1943.

The Black Applause Banquet will open with a 6:30 p.m. reception followed by dinner at 7 p.m. Outstanding students from Columbus State and local high schools will be recognized in addition to the Townsend award presentation and keynote speech. Tickets are $30 per person and available by calling 706-568-2273.