January 31, 2018
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (January 31, 2018) – Tallahassee Community College unveiled the 18th annual Cherry Hall Alexander African-American History Calendar on Monday in Turner Auditorium. The calendar honors local individuals who have made significant contributions to the African-American community. The theme for the 2018 calendar is “African-Americans in Times of War” and honors the African-American women and men who serve or have served in the U.S. military. Honorees include:
Willie Gardner: After his service in World War II and honorable discharge from the U.S. Army in 1946, Willie Gardner returned to his position as principal of Smith Brown Junior High School. Shortly afterward, Garner began teaching veterans as part of the Institutional On-Farm Training Program for the Department of Agriculture. He later served as a teacher, assistant principal and principal at several schools in Leon County. (Gardner, age 100, was unable to attend the event.)
Robert M. Butler Jr.: Before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force in 1975, Robert M. Butler Jr. was a teen leader working with the NAACP. He continued his fight against discrimination during his time in the military. Since leaving the Air Force, Butler has served as a mentor to elementary and middle school students, as an assistant pastor at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church and as an executive board member for Steele-Collins Charter School.
Ronald M. Joe Sr.: Retired Col. Ronald M. Joe Sr.’s distinguished military career includes such accolades as the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal and Horatio Gates Award. In 2012, he received the Secretary of Defense Award for Outstanding Public Service. After his 30 years of service, Joe now volunteers with organizations such as the Florida Council for Education and Employment of Women and Girls and 100 Black Men Tallahassee.
Halbert Andrews: After completing his military service as a decorated soldier, Halbert Andrews went on to work with the Florida Department of Corrections for 25 years, serving as an officer at correctional institutions around the state, including as assistant warden of programs at Liberty Correctional Institution.
Michael Jackson: After 23 years of service, Master Sgt. Michael Jackson retired with the sixth-highest award given by the Army, the Army Commendation Award, and the second-highest award, the Meritorious Service Medal. Jackson later worked as a veteran services officer in Gadsden County, helping hundreds of veterans and spouses receive compensation and disabilities benefits, along with burial assistance, special adaptive housing and education benefits.
Henry Thomas: After serving in the U.S. Army, Henry G. Thomas served as a Florida state corrections officer and then joined the staff of Tallahassee Community College, where he works as office manager for the Business, Industry and Technology Division. He also participates in TCC’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service and many other initiatives.
Tulani Honablew: In just six years in the Army Reserve as an administrative assistant, Tulani Honablew collected an impressive number of accolades including a National Defense Service Medal, a Marksman Marksmanship Qualification Badge with Rifle Bar and an Army Lapel Button. She is currently the dual enrollment coordinator at TCC.
Albert Wynn: After 12 years in the U.S. Navy and 12 years with the U.S. Marine Corps, Albert Wynn III has continued to serve his country and his community. Before becoming a contracts and grants coordinator at TCC, Wynn led the Troops to Teachers program at Florida Atlantic University.
Robert Brantley: In the 15 years since being honorably discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps, Robert Brantley has taught English, language arts and reading in Florida schools. He currently teaches at Cobb Elementary School and has been recognized as the Glenn-Howell Minority Educator of the Year.
Eddie Oliver: After his service in the U.S. Navy, Eddie Oliver became a barber and then the lead teacher for About Face, a statewide educational program for at-risk youth. He is now a mathematics teacher at Wakulla High School, working with students who are at-risk of not graduating. Oliver has piloted a number of programs and uses technology to maximize student engagement.
Joseph Henderson: Bishop Joseph Henderson, who served seven years as an officer in the U.S. Navy, is a veteran of the Persian Gulf War. Henderson received his qualifications as Officer of Deck Underway and his Surface Warfare Officers qualifications. His honors include the Navy Achievement Medal, National Defense Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Service Medal and Sea Service Ribbon. He is now pastor of Celebrate New Life Tabernacle Church, oversees the Timothy Training and Development Center and trains future ministers as a faculty member at Tallahassee Christian College and Training Center.
Wilson Barnes: Since retiring from the U.S. Army with accolades including the Bronze Star and the Distinguished Service Award, Col. Wilson Barnes has been involved in many civic, social and educational endeavors in an effort to make the community a better place. Barnes was the first African-American to serve as marshal for the Florida Supreme Court, a position he held for 15 years.
The celebration was hosted by Joe Bullard, popular radio disc jockey and program director at Cumulus Broadcasting. The guest speaker was honoree Wilson Barnes, a retired U.S. Army colonel with a 29-year military career. Barnes holds the Bronze Star medal, Defense Superior Service medal and National Defense Service medal. He was the marshal of the Florida Supreme Court from 1990 to 2005.
Attendees enjoyed a performance by young musicians from the Javacya Elite Chamber Orchestra. The invocation was given by Patrick Medlock, pastor of Springhill Road Church of Christ.
For information, contact Marcus Nicolas at NICOLASM@tcc.fl.edu or (850) 201-8045.
Photo #1 caption (honorees): Back row, L to R: Albert Wynn, Halbert Andrews, Michael Jackson, Wilson Barnes, Henry Thomas, Robert M. Butler. Front row, L to R: Eddie Oliver, Robert Brantley, Tulani Honablew, Ronald M. Joe, Joseph Henderson (not pictured: Willie Gardner).
Photos courtesy of the MLK Foundation of Florida.