Four honored by Cordele City Commission

Published 8:11 am Thursday, February 17, 2022

Mother Lucille Dennard Shazier, the oldest citizen in Cordele, was given several gifts on her 109th birthday by Tammye Jones representing Congressman Sanford Bishop.

Retired Magistrate Judge Gail Sims was honored by commissioner Isaac Owens and Royce Reeves, Sr. for her “Mighty In Character Leadership” approach and her positive and resilient attitude that never allowed adversity to hinder her success

Mother Leila Mae H. Smith, 102, pictured with Cordele Commissioners Isaac Owens and Joshua Deriso, was born February 4, 1920. The Commission proclaimed February, 16, 2022 as Mother Leila Mae Harris Smith Day observing 102 years of her life.

Tears flowed when Rosie Prather Watkins, was honored by Cordele Commission members Isaac Owens and Wes Rainey. Watkins,a social entrepreneur, facilitated youth crusades, involving pastors from 11 churches, parents, and youths from nine cities in Georgia .

Staff Report

Tuesday was a night of recognition at the Cordele City Commission meeting. Four of the best known women in Cordele were honored for their contributions to the city.

Mother Lucille Dennard Shazier, the oldest citizen in Cordele, was given several gifts on her 109th birthday by Tammye Jones representing Congressman Sanford Bishop and the city commission issued a proclamation declaring February 18 as a “Mother”Lucille Dennard Shazier  Day. She was also presented a key to the city.

Another centenarian, Mother Leila Mae H. Smith, 102, was born February 4, 1920. She is active member of Zion Hope Missionary Baptist church in Wenona where she serves as Mother of the Church.  She was formerly a Youth Sunday School Teacher and Mission President.

She still lives in Cordele, in the home that her husband built for them more than 60 years ago; with the assistance of her daughters, homecare providers, and other family members.

The Commission proclaimed February, 16, 2022 as Mother Leila Mae Harris Smith Day observing 102 years of life;

Retired Magistrate Judge Gail Sims was honored by the commissioners for her “Mighty In Character Leadership” approach, her positive and resilient attitude that never allowed adversity to hinder her success but allowed adversity to foster the opposite effect and propel her to greater levels of success.

The fourth to be honored was Rosie Prather Watkins, a social entrepreneur.  She earned an associate’s degree in general education then attended Mercer University, studying communication skills and intermediate accounting.

Watkins facilitated youth crusades, involving pastors from 11 churches, parents, and youths from nine cities in Georgia and served under the USDA AmeriCorps member program’s Rural Development Team with the Crisp/Dooly Partnership, Inc., formerly known as the Southwest Georgia United Empowerment Zone.
She is currently in the process of replicating the Family Engagement Networking Team “Developmental Math and English Language Arts Project” with fifteen (15) Human Service Organizations within the State of Georgia.

 

 

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Beal-Shephard tries to weather the storm over City HallBy Neil B. McGahee Managing Editor Cordele City Commissioner Vesta Beal-Shephard was elected in 2001 to represent the people of Ward One. By all accounts, she has done a very good job of relating to the citizens living in her ward. Recently, however, a dark cloud has settled over City Hall. From the first day of his term, newly-elected commission chairman Joshua Antwan Deriso began taking verbal snipes on social media at some of the other commissioners. Shephard says she just ignored it at first but on April 9, Deriso posted on Facebook “…It was much anticipated for Comm. Rainey to be against change. Comission (sp) Shephard fights against me the hardest…does not know much about government at all…She needs to be voted out next year 2023.” A few days later, he posted live saying …“I am totally over the games, the political stuff…a lot of people want to make what I said about Commissioner Shephard something about disagreement with Commissioner Shephard. It was her ignorance and short-sightedness…not able to understand what we can do as a government. “When there were people in charge that didn’t look like us…white people… she didn’t question anything. Since I became chairman, she has blocked everything…you don’t know what you are doing; you don’t know what you are talking about.” Shephard winces as she listens to Deriso. “I don’t do drama and I don’t do pettiness,” she said. “I refute everything he has said about me. I’m not angry with Josh; I am somewhat disturbed that he has targeted me, a citizen of Cordele; a black female…he accused me of loving white folks. Well I do love white folks, and brown folks and black folks — Haitian, Jamaican, Indian, Cuban, Mexican — I have no discrimination to anyone. My job is to facilitate for people in this ward and when I vote, I vote my conviction.” Shephard said she doesn’t know why Deriso has such hard feelings against her. “It’s so sad, I have to say that I never saw it coming,” she said. ”But I have to voice my opinion.” But one sad thing has evolved from this. “This is the first time I have been discriminated against by a fellow commissioner,” she said. “I used to invite people to my home if they had a problem. But I had to stop that. If you want to meet with me, we will have to go to a public area or to my office at city hall. I am going to keep my distance for the simple reason that I don’t want to endanger myself.