Curry's Community Outreach Ministry in Prescott presents awards at Saturday banquet
This past Saturday night in the Prescott Junior High School cafeteria an awards banquet was held by the Curry’s Community Outreach Ministry.  After a ham dinner, speeches and entertainment, six were honored for their devotion to volunteer work in the area. 

The evening featured speeches from Deacon Homer Hopson of Mount Ephesus Baptist Church, Pastor Frank Henson of First Baptist Church and Reverend Dr. John J. Noogle of First United Methodist Church. Teletha Van Hook sang "I Believe in You and Me," and Reverend Ivory Curry, while serving as host, sang an a capella "God Has Been Good to Me." 

The winner of the Lifetime Community Service Award was Howard Austin, a Marshall, Texas native and educator in the Prescott Public School system for 40 years.  He first came to Prescott in 1964 as a band and choir director who also taught social studies and coached track at McRae High. 

He would serve as Assistant Principal at McRae Middle School for seven years, as Assistant Principal at Prescott Elementary for three and Principal there for 21.  He has also served on the Prescott City Council, been a member of about a dozen boards. Fishing, bowling and travelling are his hobbies. Reading the list of accomplishments in his introduction prompted Rashalla Young of the Curry Community Outreach Ministry to wonder how he had time for all these roles. Young, a teacher of pre-K herself at Prescott Elementary, said she hardly had time to do her hair. 

Among his awards have been the 2003 National Distinguished Principal of the Year for an elementary school in the state of Arkansas in 2002 and a congressional plaque presented to him on June 24, 2004 by then Congressman Mike Ross. He also has a street named after him, Howard G. Austin Avenue, that is the let-off and pickup road in front of the new Prescott Elementary. 

“I came to Prescott to work one year,” Austin said, in accepting the award. “And I fell in love with this community.” He said when he looked at the audience he gets “teary-eyed” because he sees teachers he worked with and students he taught or was principal for. “This is what we’re about, giving you a service and seeing your kids grow up. That’s the reason I stayed in Prescott, because I saw a need to do all you can. That’s my motto. Do all you can because you’re not going to be here but one time. And what you don’t do, stays undone.” 

Austin emphasized the power of maintaining a positive attitude. He told of making sure he did so himself by imposing a fine on himself of a dollar for cursing. “I have not spent a dollar,” he said. “Even my kids say I don’t curse.” Instead, Austin said that if he falls, he says, “Oh, that hurts me so bad.” 

“Reverend [Ivory] Curry—that was one of my students, too, and Ryan back there.  You just make me feel good.  This is an honor.”  To Young he said, “You ask how I do all that? That’s the energy I have. I try to do all I can for anybody I see. I can do the help. This is Howard G. Austin,” he closed, “And G stands for good.” 

Other awards given Saturday night: 

·       Small Business of the Year: Carlos Zacarias, Casa Carlos 

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·       Citizen of the Year: Fred Harris, Pharmacist and Founder of Organization for Youth Education in Agriculture 

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·       Ministry of the Year: Satarra Williams, Chaplain of Prescott Police Department and City Council Member 

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·       Public Servant of the Year: Carlos Van Hook, Prescott Parks and Recreation Director and community volunteer

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·       Rising Star of the Year: Kevin Cole. 

Other photographs of the events of the evening can be seen below: