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Crum gives back with appreciation luncheon

Greenville native and newly-inducted Tuskegee University Hall of Famer Kenneth Crum (right) honors former coach Jerome Harper with a token of appreciation.

As the latest inductee into Tuskegee University’s Athletic Hall of Fame, Greenville native Kenneth Crum was the man of the hour during Saturday’s Hall of Fame Appreciation Luncheon.

But in the two hours that followed, Crum redirected the spotlight to a handful of Greenville’s unsung heroes, as well as a community full of citizens that made him who he is today.

The event, held at the Lomax-Hannon facility on South Conecuh Street Saturday afternoon, honored longtime—and in many cases, lifelong—educators and role models such as Ruby and Estelle Womack, Willie Mae Robinson, former Greenville coaches Jerome Harper and John F. Olgetree and many more with plaques for their contributions to not only Crum’s personal success, but to that of many others.

Crum said that from the very beginning, and even before his induction was made official, he viewed the honor as an opportunity to thank those individuals who often go unthanked.

“Minister [Louis] Farrakhan said that any time awards, honors or any type of accolades are bestowed upon you, the first thing you should do is give all praise to God,” Crum said. “Secondly, you should strive to work harder to do for your community.  This is just a small part of that. 

“I appreciate you all being here and being a part of this, but it’s out of love and wanting to give thanks to the people who have crossed my path, my family’s path, and what they’ve done.

“It’s out of love and wanting to give thanks to the educators, community leaders, families and friends who have crossed my path, as well as my family’s.”

Kenneth’s brother, Harry, aided him in organizing the luncheon, echoed his sibling’s words, hearkening back to a simpler time when older residents in the community kept him and his siblings on the straight and narrow back in the Crum family’s humble beginnings at a small home on Oglesby Street.

“A lot of times people go unnamed, and a lot of times people feel taken for granted.  But for those who have had those experiences in your life, this is your day,” he said.

“We just want to stop for a minute and say thank you. We appreciate the late nights. We appreciate the discipline. We appreciate the dedication. We appreciate what some people call ‘fussing.’ If you did anything to guide us in the right way, we just want to stop now and say thank you.  Because we really believe that you made a significant difference in our lives.”

After a meal provided by Blue Seas 2 of Tuskegee and a series of presentations made to the luncheon’s dignitaries, Crum was the subject of one final, surprise presentation courtesy of his children, Brandon and Nealy.  The pair presented him with cologne as well as a globe with the inscription “You mean the world to us.”