MLK Gala honors ‘Daddy the carpenter’

Daughters tout Legrand’s love for family, fellow man

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

* Changes for 2015 events
Rev. Tommy Legrand’s bio

ROCKINGHAM — Rev. Tommy Legrand has, over his 74 years, has been known by many names. Preacher man. Reverend. Prayer warrior. A soldier.

But to Lillie Davis and Faith Legrand-Steed, he’s “Daddy.”

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Rev. Tommy Legrand, a Marks Creek native, tells the audience Friday night at the MLK Gala that he knew he wanted to do something to help people.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Rev. Tommy Legrand, a Marks Creek native, tells the audience Friday night at the MLK Gala that he knew he wanted to do something to help people.

“Being a parent is one of the hardest jobs in this world,’ Davis said Friday night at the MLK Gala at Liberty Place in downtown Rockingham. The three-hour event was the first of six through Monday afternoon intended to celebration the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., one of America’s foremost civil rights leaders. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968 while staying at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn. He was only 39 years old, but was concerned with the economic inequalities and disparities in the United States.

Sheriff James Clemmons Jr., a member of the Gala planning committee, shared with those present that he had first met Legrand while serving Richmond County as a deputy sheriff. As he rose through the ranks, Clemmons learned from Legrand about the importance of earning the trust and respect of not only his colleagues, but from the county residents he served.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Faith Legrand-Steed holds up a belt while sister Lillie Davis talks about the tools used by her father to be a successful role model.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Faith Legrand-Steed holds up a belt while sister Lillie Davis talks about the tools used by her father to be a successful role model.

Clemmons called Legrand “one of a few good men” and noted that “it’s not very often we have the opportunity to recognize someone of his stature.”

In the crowd on Friday was, among other individuals, Legrand’s wife of more than 53 years, Geraldine Allred Legrand.

Davis and Legrand-Steed, though, offered the audience of more than 170 people “a glimpse through our eyes.”

Davis told the story of “Daddy the carpenter” and, she said, anyone knows that “a carpenter is only as good as his tools.”

As a father, said Davis — donning a red and white Ace Hardware hat to drive home the role — Legrand had three key tools in his teaching belt. The first was and remains a Bible, she said. The Legrands went to church as a family and they prayed as a family.

The second tool was a belt.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com The Watkins family was tasked with serving nearly 200 people Friday night at Liberty Place.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Members of the Watkins family was tasked with serving nearly 200 people Friday night at Liberty Place.

“Spare the rod, spoil the child,” Davis quoted. “And just in case he was away, his assistant, our mother, could fulfill the duties.”

A third tool, Davis said, was a bungee cord. Legrand and his wife, Davis said, would allow their children enough room to grow and “all the while, he and our mother were our anchor. ”

It was a foundation built on love, Davis said, which happened to be the greatest tool available.

Legrand was born May 6, 1939 in Marks Creek. Jim Crowism started in the 1870s in the south and lasted until the mid-1960s — right through the prime of Legrand’s life. It was, he said at the podium, “a different day.” Many people in the audience, granted a momentary cloak of anonymity as the lights had been turned down over the seating area, nodded in understanding and shared experiences.

“I just know that I want to help people,” Legrand said.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Richmond County Sheriff James Clemmons Jr. said he learned from Rev. Tommy Legrand about the importance of trust, respect and to be morally straight with all whom he works and serves.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Richmond County Sheriff James Clemmons Jr. said he learned from Rev. Tommy Legrand about the importance of trust, respect and to be morally straight with all whom he works and serves.

* Committee member Kimberly Harrington led a moment of silence at the start of the MLK Gala to recognize three important members of the committee that died in 2014. Brian David died on Jan. 30 at the age of 46. Harrington noted that event treasurer Frankie Leach died Nov. 4 at the age of 72.  In addition, Macie McQueen passed away on Nov. 23 at the age of 66. Two weeks later, McQueen was awarded the Charles White Service Award by the Richmond County Chamber of Commerce.

* Legrand Photography was on hand to capture moments of the dinner and dancing that comprised the MLK Gala.

* The sounds of the night were controlled by Leon Gatewood and Gatewood Productions.

* Food for nearly 200 people was prepared and served by members of the Watkins family.

* Legrand will serve on Saturday as the grand marshal of the Commemorative Parade/March. Parade lineup begins at 11:30 a.m. at Leath Memorial Library in Rockingham. The march is set to begin at noon.

Remaining schedule of events

* Saturday, Jan. 17 at 9 a.m. — Prayer Breakfast at FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital in Rockingham

* Saturday, Jan. 17 at noon — Commemorative Parade/March starting near Leath Memorial Library

* Saturday, Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. — Youth Extravaganza at Leak Street Educational and Cultural Center

* Sunday, Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. — Ecumenical Service at First United Methodist Church in Rockingham.

* Monday, Jan. 19 at noon — Luncheon at Sidney Grove Family Agape Center, 401 McIntyre Road, Ellerbe. Donations of $12 are requested to help cover event costs.

* Jan. 16 through Jan. 23 — Poster exhibits at Leath Memorial Library in Rockingham

Filed in: Education, Featured News, Latest Headlines, Military and Veterans, News, Religion

You might like:

GAP program fills a hole for ‘hands-on’ experience GAP program fills a hole for ‘hands-on’ experience
Sit back for an ‘interesting story’ Sit back for an ‘interesting story’
Cash available for crime-solving tips Cash available for crime-solving tips
Rotruck sues Town of Summerfield Rotruck sues Town of Summerfield
© 2020 The Pee Dee Post. All rights reserved. XHTML / CSS Valid.