IF YOU GO
What: Black Pioneer Women of Excellence.
When: 11:30 a.m. Saturday.
Where: Olivet Baptist Church Kingdom Center, 740 M.L. King Blvd.
Admission: Free but reservations required due to limited seating. Call 318-3086.
The Chattanooga chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women Inc. will honor four local women with its trailblazer award on Saturday during a ceremony at Olivet Baptist Church's Kingdom Center, 740 E. M.L. King Blvd.
Evelyn Lovelady, Amanda "Vickie" Mathis, Julia McClain and Ola Phipps will receive the Black Pioneer Women of Excellence Award from chapter president Faith Edwards.
Jacqueline Lyons said in a press release that the award recognizes accomplishments in the fields of health, education, entrepreneurship, community development, religion, politics, social services, government services or community volunteerism.
Ola Phipps: She has owned and operated Lady Bug Exterminating Co. Inc. for 29 years. Phipps is believed to be the only black woman in Tennessee designated by the state as a licensed exterminator, according to the coalition. She was recently nominated for the National Pest Management Association Inc. Women of Excellence Award.
Phipps is a past president of the Chattanooga Area Pest Control Association, and a 2008 recipient of Girls Inc.'s Unbought and Unbossed Award.
She and husband Vaughn Phipps have three sons and are members of Mount Canaan Baptist Church.
Evelyn Player Lovelady: With a bachelor's degree in secondary education from Alabama A&M College, Lovelady planned to use teaching as a stepping stone to a law career. However, by the time she received a master's degree in elementary administration from UTC, she had taught at five schools. In 1986, she was assigned her first school as a principal.
After 25 years in the classroom and nine as an administrator in Chattanooga public schools, she now teaches adults in the School of Evangelism at Second Missionary Baptist Church. She has also taught adult basic education programs.
Amanda "Vickie" King Mathis: Members of the coalition say this honoree is quick to offer "help to a friend in distress."
Mathis' community service includes running errands for those who are ill, visiting patients in nursing homes, mailing church bulletins to the homebound and organizing fifth-Sunday worships and fellowships at area churches. Following Hurricane Katrina, she assisted homeless evacuees with finding food, lodging and clothing.
At Orchard Knob Missionary Baptist Church, she serves with the Trustees Wives Ministry, New Members Committee, OKMBC Corporate Board and chairs the church anniversary committee.
She serves on the board of Stop the Madness, is a past board member of Girls Inc. and has held several offices within NCBW.
A widow, she has two sons, seven grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.
Julia McClain: NCBW will honor McClain for a "life of service to others, both professionally and personally."
After receiving a degree in nursing, McClain worked as a private-duty nurse for 10 years. In the mid-1970s she opened her own business, McClain Personal Care, in Michigan, which provided personal care to the elderly. She operated that business for 20 years until retirement.
For the last 13 years, she has volunteered for the elderly, homebound or sick of Orchard Knob Missionary Baptist Church. She makes home and nursing home visits, drives the sick and elderly to doctors' appointments, church or the grocery and provides personal hygiene items when needed. At Christmas, she and a friend purchase and deliver gifts to every person on their church's sick and homebound list.
A widow, she is the mother of two sons, has four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...