A woman who has given toddlers an educational foundation for 30 years was recently declared an unsung hero in the community.

The McDuffie Branch of the NAACP gifted Hazel Battle, director of Child’s World Comprehensive Learning Center in Thomson and Warrenton, with an Unsung Hero Award on June 22.    

In first creating the center in Warrenton, Battle had a vision to build from the ground up a place that would support children with the educational enhancement they would need to move forward in life.  The Thomson location was an expansion of that vision to equip more children with the building blocks of early childhood education.

The McDuffie Branch of the NAACP names a person who quietly makes a significant contribution to the development of the community through giving of their time, talents and resources its  unsung hero.

“Hearing my name was excellent,” Battle said. “It is one of those things that I never thought that I would get.”

Battle said the unsung hero award recognizes the hard work and perseverance she has put into giving children in Warrenton and Thomson a comprehensive beginning education. “It was a pleasure to stand before the NAACP crowd and receive this award.  I am so happy.”

Battle was ecstatic at the recognition but she said the children of yesterday and today deserved the honor more.

“This is an award but what I do for the children means more to me,” she said. “An award is going to sit on the mantle but what I do for my babies is my reward.  I love children and anything that I can do for the kids that are pushed aside I do, whether they need to be shielded, loved, hugged. It is a joy to see how those children who leave me excel in school, how they go on to college and do the things that they want to do. I let them know all of the time that the sky is the limit.”

The McDuffie Branch of the NAACP conducted its sixth freedom fund banquet under the theme “Steadfast and Immovable,” a direction from the Apostle Paul asking Christians to stand firm, let nothing move them and know that their work is not in vain.

Others who labored and have not let anything distract them for their work were also recognized by the chapter with certificates of appreciation and received hero medallions. Branch President David Walker received the Robert Bowdry Membership Award for bringing people the chapter and Bee Hart-Moss received the Citizen of the Year Award for her service to the chapter and to the community.

Walker in both the program booklet forward and during the celebration said current events of today make the theme more apropos as he called upon everyone to work diligently to bridge the divide that exists in communities today.

“As Paul in is missive to the Corinthian church, reminded them to be steadfast and immovable, we must adhere to the same directive as we advocate for equality and justice for all, and especially in this political climate we are current living must remain,” Walker wrote.

In an impassioned speech that turned into a call for a forward march, Dee Dawkins-Haigler told the assembly to “quit praying and get people moving forward and march.”

Dawkins-Haigler, former Georgia State Representative and current owner of DDH & Associates and Executive Director of Time 1000, and pastor, community activist and political strategist in Atlanta, thanked the McDuffie Chapter for being in the trenches and in the fight. “We know that sometimes it is not easy working for justice and equality,” she said.   She told the chapter that communities need to be together in marching toward victory for the years to come.

She centered her message around Exodus 14:5-31 where the people were freed from the house of bondage but soon bemoaned that their suffering did not seem so great after three days in the wilderness while being pursued by Pharaoh who had changed his mind about releasing his slaves from service.

Dawkins-Haigler said that Scripture correlates to the country’s environment today. “It almost seems as through we are going backward in time,” she said.  She said the country is in chaos and asked where do people and the NAACP go from here?

She encouraged the audience to stop whining, stop praying and start working because freedom and equality are on the horizon. She asked them to remember that with faith and Christ, all things are possible and that Christ will protect them from the evil as they move forward. “We can overcome any situation,” she said.  

Dawkins-Haigler said that as long as everyone in society is not free and treated unfairly and public policy is used to oppress people, there is work to be done. “Forward march until justice rolls down like a mighty stream,” she demanded.

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