“Faithful service in action” — that’s what Beck A. Taylor, president of Samford University, said the three recipients of this year’s Samford Medallion Awards embody.
On Nov. 1, Samford presented the honor to Alabama Baptist Disaster Relief — represented by Mark Wakefield, lead strategist for ABDR — along with Tony Cooper, former executive director of the Jimmie Hale Mission, and Frances Ford, executive director of Sowing Seeds of Hope.
The Samford Medallion Awards recognize people whose good works have made a difference in society, in community affairs, in the life of the church and in the quality of life of individuals.
“I’m not sure that I would be able to come up with better examples of how the act of love can positively impact and shape the life of the community in which we live than the examples we have heard tonight,” Taylor said at the awards ceremony.
Wakefield said it was his honor to accept the award for the “hundreds and hundreds” of disaster relief volunteers who give up their time and the comforts of home to “go and be with people in what may be the worst times of their lives and bring hope to them.”
ABDR coordinates volunteers to provide food, water, child care, showers, laundry and assistance with tree and debris removal, roof tarping and flood recovery to those affected by disasters.
Wakefield said he also accepted the award on behalf of “all Alabama Baptists who through their generous contributions to the Myers-Mallory State Missions Offering and through Cooperative Program giving and individual giving make this possible.”
Tony Cooper, who currently serves as pastor of Pineywood Baptist Church in Gardendale, received the award for his 29 years of leading the Jimmie Hale Mission, a Christian-based nonprofit organization in central Alabama. The ministry includes a homeless shelter for men, a shelter for women and children, recovery programs and three learning centers.
Cooper retired from that role in 2019.
“Thank you so much for recognizing the good work that God continues to do through Jimmie Hale Mission,” he said during the awards ceremony.
Ford received the Samford Medallion Award for her work leading Sowing Seeds of Hope, a faith-based community development organization devoted to serving and supporting people in Perry County and across the Black Belt region. The organization helps through home repair and housing solutions, health care assistance, spiritual renewal opportunities, education resources and more.
“I am so grateful and so humbled and so honored to be here to receive this award today,” Ford said. “It has always been a joy to work with Samford students who come and do work with us and do many things and have an opportunity to put their faith in action.”
Sowing Seeds of Hope exists to “give hope to those who are sometimes in a hopeless situation,” she said.
At the end of the ceremony, Taylor also announced that Samford was donating $1,000 to each nonprofit.