A couple of weeks ago there were a few men discussing that at one time all of us had a mortgage at Dwelling House.

All of us had a story to tell about Robert R. Lavelle and how he was the most unique businessman in America. The common theme amongst these individuals was that Mr. Lavelle exemplified professionalism and discipleship. After this discussion, the idea was born to have an award in his memory where six individuals who emulated Bob Lavelle’s character are honored.


This inaugural event was held on March 19 with 120 in attendance and each exclaiming they were treated to an excellent affair.

At this affair, the awardees consisted of three men and three women with each receiving a compact disc that I produced in 1993 entitled “We have come this far by faith.” In addition, they received personalized pictures proclaiming their unique gifts and talents.

The honorees included:

1. Connie W. Balthrop, CEO of Operation Nehemiah and an active member of Petra International Ministry;

2. Toni S. Kendrick, principal of ­Allegheny Middle School and an active member of New Destiny CME Church;

3. Shirley Muhammad, owner of Your Professional Tax Service, CEO of Your Sister’s Project and active in Mosque #22, Nation of Islam;

4. William “Bill” Robinson, the dean of Black politicians in Allegheny County and active member of St. Luke Baptist Church;

5. Charles “Chuck” Powell, director of Minority Business Enterprise at the Urban Redevelopment Authority and an active member of Rodman Missionary Baptist Church.

6. Russell Bynum, owner of Bynum Marketing and Communication and an active member of Browns Chapel AME.

The awards all had different titles proclaiming their commitment to community and service:

Balthrop—Will! Courage; Kendrick—Responsibility; Muhammad—Self Preservation; Robinson—Hope; Powell—Heritage and Bynum—Martin Luther King’s Noble Peace Prize speech.

All of the awardees made excellent acceptance speeches that were very brief and direct.

Please remember the Kingsley Association.

(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum Page.)

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