Brown is citizen of the year

Published 6:08 am Sunday, January 13, 2002

By By Robbie Byrd
News Editor
Rev. J. Kelly Brown has been selected as the 2001 Atmore Citizen of the Year. The award was presented Thursday night at the Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce's 56th annual meeting.
Brown, minister of First Baptist Church in Atmore, said that the award was a welcome surprise.
"I'm definitely surprised," Brown said. "This is something that you don't think about and anticipate or anything that someone works toward. But it's something extra the community did to those who, in my case, enjoyed just serving the community and serving those that are in need."
Chamber president Alan Bell said that Brown was very deserving of the award.
"I believe he is a very worthy selection," Bell said. "It is a joy to be able to call your pastor your friend, and as long as I have known Kelly he has always been fair, honest and a man of God. And that's the best thing I could say about anyone."
Brown was chosen by a committee of five who reviewed six different nominations received from the community.
Brown said that he was asked to give the invocation at the banquet, but was unaware of his being chosen as the recipient of the Citizen of the Year award.
"I had no idea that I was going to receive (the award)," Brown said. "I didn't know how the process went or how someone is selected. It was a total surprise to me."
Bell said the committee followed outlined selection criteria to come to their decision.
"The selection was based on the content of the nominations as well as the knowledge the members have of the nominee," Bell said.
Brown is president of the Atmore Area Christian Care Ministry, a program developed to help minister to those with emergency and crisis needs.
"We just completed our first year, and we've accomplished a lot," Brown said.
The AACCM has collected over 22,000 individual food items as well as $23,000 in donations that will all be distributed locally to those in need.
"We help those who can't pay a bill or have some medication they can't afford," Brown said. "If they're cold, if they're hungry, we want to help. We've made 700 responses this year."
Brown said he foresees many new opportunities for the AACCM in the coming year.
"We're starting a community wide food pantry, the first of its kind," Brown said. "We also want to develop a community building project that might those who have repair needs."
Brown is hoping to change the role of the AACCM from a wholly crisis response program to one with more long reaching goals.
"We're largely reactionary right now," Brown said. "But we hope to become more proactive and found some new projects that help the community in that way."
Brown said that with his new role he hopes to inspire others to participate in the AACCM and other programs like it.
"I hope that we can wet the appetite of the community to help initiate new programs," Brown said. "There's a lot of wealth and compassion for others in the community, and in this year because of the economic slowdown it is very critical that we have organizations of this sort that can take what is locally given and assist those who have local needs."

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