The Suffolk Democratic Committee honored Mr. W. Randolph Carter, Mr. Wallace Cotten, and Mr. Andrew Damiani at our annual Community Heroes Luncheon.
Jack Crowley introduced Mr. Carter. Mr. Carter and Mr. Crowley worked together setting up restoration workshops, as well as providing one-on-one assistance to people who were interested in regaining their voting rights. Mr. Crowley praised Mr. Carter for all of his efforts and told about the joy expressed by some of the people who they had helped. When Mr. Carter spoke, he said that restoring the rights of people who have paid their debts and proven to be good citizens was the right thing to do. He noted that he had a hand in convicting some of those who he now hopes to help, but that he was more interested in lifting people up then holding them down.
Andy Damiani was honored for his very extensive involvement in promoting and supporting the citizens and the city of Suffolk. Mr. Damiani had been a mayor for four years and a member of Suffolk council during the merger of Suffolk and Nansemond. He has participated in a multitude of charitable organizations, some of which he started, and led several local chapters of national and regional organizations, including the Kiwanis and the American Legion.
An error in one of the listings led Mr. Damiani to the wrong address, and so he was a few minutes late for the event. When he spoke, he joked that politicians usually show up late to attract attention, but his lateness that day was unplanned.
Mr. Cotten was honored for his generosity, volunteerism, and efforts to encourage non-voters to register. Mr. Cotten has difficulty speaking due to a recent stroke, but Margaret Barnes introduced him and his daughter spoke on his behalf. They both told of Mr. Cotten’s countless hours spent talking to people about the importance of voting, and about the help he has given others during times of hardship. Mr. Cotten has participated in or spearheaded drives for disaster relief, and drove to New Orleans to help rebuild after Katrina.
Gaylene Kanoyton, was our keynote speaker and praised the committee for our work. She said that demographics was turning Suffolk more progressive and that Democrats must be ready to stand up for our values.
Our Chairperson, Leslie Rinaldi was Master of Ceremonies. Michele Faulk organized the event, Mary Steverson arranged the decorations, and Anthony Castillio coordinated with the hotel.
This was our first time holding the event at the Hilton Garden Inn, Riverside. We were very pleased with atmosphere, the furniture and equipment, and the staff. The committee would also like to thank Johnson’s Florest for donating a beautiful flower arrangement.