The Liberty County Martin
Luther King Observance Association have announced the recipients for the 2020
According to MLK committee members the award winners have all reached personal achievements and have made contributions to the progress and enhancement of the quality of life of all citizens of Liberty County.
Grand Marshal – The Honorable William “Bill” Austin
Mr. William Austin, a native or Riceboro, Georgia is a 1960 graduate of Liberty County High School. He received a B.S. Degree in Commercial Industries from Tuskegee University in 1966 and a Master’s of Science in Management from Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida in 1981.
He has served as Mayor of Riceboro since 2008 and has brought in over $17,000,000.00 in grants and or low interest loans, and has increased the operating budget, personnel, and reserves in excess of 400 percent. The new $5 million dollar sewer system upgrades and 5.3 million dollar green well are both extremely significant in that they support an additional 500 jobs in Liberty County alone.
Bill’s work as the President of the Dorchester Improvement Association at the Historic Dorchester Academy has been of particular note as he has orchestrated a revival of one of the most prominent institutions for African Americans in Liberty County. Dorchester’s status as a National Landmark sets it aside as one of 48 of the most important historical items in the state of Georgia, and one of 3000 in the United States. Martin Luther king’s work at Dorchester was vitally important. Dorchester served as the home base where over 2000 students were trained to overcome civil bias in voting and solve local community issues. It was also the base where plans for the pivotal “Birmingham March” were laid out by Dr. Wyatt T. Walker to Dr. King and his staff. Bill gives much credit to the dedicated members of the Dorchester Improvement Association for their work in the preservation of this historical landmark.
Bill is a member of First Zion Baptist Church in Riceboro. He holds membership in the following organizations: President of the Board of Directors, Dorchester Improvement Association, life member of the NAACP and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.
Community Service – Ena Wilson, Millie Wilson, and Mea Wilson
Girl scouting is a family affair for Millie Wilson and her daughters, Ena and Mea. Millie has been involved with Girls Scouts of America for 58 years. In 1993, she established Troop 30001 in Liberty County, and through it, she impacted the lives of nearly 100 girls. The troop number was retired in 2001 after some of its earliest participants graduated from high school. Following in their mother’s footsteps, Ena and Mea Wilson have been in scouting for 26 years. They also established currently active troops in Liberty County. Mea organized Troop 30729 in 2007 and Ena started Troop 30002 in 2012. Together, the sisters have led, motivated, and inspired nearly 140 girls (and counting) since their troops’ inception. All three Wilson women are Gold Award recipients, which is the highest honor a scout can earn in Girl Scouting. Both Millie and Ena proudly served in the U.S. Army; Millie retired after a 30-year career as a drill sergeant and Ena was medically retired after serving 16 years as an army dietician. The two also are leaders in Sycamore Service Unit, which includes 14 area Girl Scout troops. Millie is a Master Trainer and Unit Treasurer and Ena is the Unit’s Area Manager. In addition to leading girls in Troop 30729, Mea works as a nurse at Liberty Regional Medical Center.
Indeed, Millie, Ena, and Mea Wilson are shining examples of servant leadership and dedication to empowering girls and young women in Liberty County.
Community Service: Coach “Faye” Baker
Rhonda “Faye” Baker is the youngest of seven children born into a family of gifted athletes. She is a graduate of Bradwell Institute and Georgia Southern College, where she was a valued member of the basketball and softball teams and holds a BS degree in Communications and a Master’s Degree in Education from Cambridge College.
Coach Baker, as she is known, is the high school basketball coach at her Alma Mater, Bradwell Institute, where she also teaches communication skills. She is presently serving her 25th season as the girls’ head basketball coach.
An enviable leader on the court, Coach Baker has amassed a winning record and many notable accolades during her tenure at Bradwell, including being voted Region Coach of the year numerous times and leading her team to many trips to the State Playoffs.
Aside from her impressive record as a basketball coach, Faye Baker is a respected community activist and mentor who organized programs and scholarships for youth in Liberty County. She firmly believes in supporting the programs in her community that encouraged and cultivated her education and athleticism, which started at the Liberty County Recreation Department.
Faye is an inaugural member of the Liberty County Athletic Hall of Fame, along with three of her very own athletic inspirations, her sister and two of her brothers.
Faye is the subject of a 2005 biography, titled “In His Own Time-A Story of Family, Friends, and Courage”, which is an inspirational story that chronicles her journey after an October, 2000 accident left her paralyzed from the waist down.
In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her parents, extended family and friends, reading, and playing the drums for her church choir at Bethel A.M.E. Church in Hinesville, Georgia.
Youth Award – Mr. Donnie Pulliam
Donnie D. Pulliam II is currently a 3rd Year Law Student at the University Of Dayton School Of Law located in Dayton, Ohio. While attending UDSL, Donnie has become involved in multiple clubs and organizations. Donnie currently serves as the Vice-president of the Black Law Student Association, a board member of the Student Bar Association, a board member of the Criminal Law Association, head of diversity of inclusion for the Republican Law Society and a member of the Law School’s Honor Council, where he defends students accused of violating the school’s Honor Code. Donnie works as a Law Clerk for the Wright & Schulte law firm, where he conducts legal research pertaining to unique legal issues, drafts trial briefs and other legal documents, as well as assist the attorneys in preparing for depositions. Donnie volunteers his time helping indigent clients, working as a legal intern with the University Of Dayton School Of Law Intellectual Property Clinic, as well as volunteering with Ohio’s Western Division Legal Aid Society.
Donnie is the proud son of Monica Robertson and James Payno of Midway, Ga. Donnie is a 2013 Honor Graduate from Liberty County High School. Donnie holds a B.A. in economics with a concentration in mathematics from Morehouse College located in Atlanta, GA. After graduation, Donnie plans on returning to the Liberty/ Chatham County area to work as a public defender.