Senior Hall of Fame Honors Macon County's Burnett and McRae

The Tuskegee News
September 14, 2006


Copyright © 2006. The Tuskegee News, Tuskegee, Alabama. Permission to reprint and post granted by Guy Rhodes, Associate Publisher/Editor. Photos submitted by Lawrence McRae.

On Sunday, Sept. 24 at 1:30 p.m. at Dairaida Baptist Church in Montgomery, Willie M. Burnett of Tuskegee will be inducted into the 2006 class of the Alabama Senior Citizens Hall of Fame.

Lawrence Wilbur McRae, also of Tuskegee, will be recognized with an Honorary Membership in the Hall.

Burnett is being recognized for his many services to seniors, including transporting them to appointments, checking on them, running errands, and even hosting Mother’s Day for many.

Dr. Thelma Walker-Brown nominated Burnett for this honor because of  to his glowing example of a “Good Samaritan,” who concentrates his off time from his primary occupation of securing funds for Tuskegee University, to be a caring son, especially to elderly alumni of Tuskegee University.  

“I just do it,” he said bashfully.

His community service spans many years. This service includes the personal transportation of seniors to the airport and to medical appointments and arranging funeral programs and handling the details of the funerals of senior citizens, especially ones with no family. He checks on seniors who live alone and prepares dinner for senior mothers every Mother’s Day at his beautiful home for the ones who have no family.  

Burnett spends many hours visiting the sick and running errands for them. Those errands include includes paying bills, buying groceries and picking up prescriptions. In addition, he transports seniors to the polls to vote and, for those who are unable to travel, he notarizes absentee ballots. And, to top it off, he prepares meals for the sick and shut-ins. There is little that he doesn’t do for the seniors in his community.  

Burnett is an active member of St. James Episcopal Church, who has served on the governing board (Vestry) numerous times, and serves in many capacities in the church. He is a quiet spoken man and is a very effective speaker and writer. As an excellent cook, he loves to prepare gourmet meals for his church family, which is predominantly elderly. He is friendly and is the same whenever you meet him. Burnett serves as a role model for young college men and community men through his charitable activities and the love that he shows in caring for the elderly.  

He lets his light shine wherever he goes and shows no signs of slowing down. He follows the scriptural precept to “Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify the Father who is in Heaven.” 

“I love helping other people,” Burnett stated. “I really did not think I was doing anything to make me worth of this honor. I did not think I would be chosen.”  

But, Willie M. Burnett is truly worthy of his induction into membership in the Alabama Senior Citizens Hall of Fame as a member of the Golden Eagle Class of 2006  

Just like Burnett, Lawrence McRae is helping people all across the state of Alabama, trying to help save lives. 

McRae, who is receiving Honorary Membership to the Hall of Fame, has made outstanding contributions of leadership and exceptional service to the residents of 12 Black Belt counties in the State of Alabama. 

The McRae Prostate Cancer Awareness Foundation (MPCAF) is deserving of this award because it has served as the vehicle by which the president and CEO has demonstrated unrelenting efforts in supporting and promoting prostate health in order to eliminate the disparities in the prostate cancer death rates between white and minorities in the targeted communities. 

The MPCAF has made it possible for its founder, a 69-year-old, McRae, a retired county government employee,  affectionately known as the “prostate man” to raise the consciousness level with regard to prostate health including prostate disease, prostate cancer prevention, screening exams and treatment options to a greater extent than any other individual or organization in the served areas. McRae prepared the way for others in the Black Belt counties to become comfortable with talking about taking on the challenges this deadly, but preventable disease. 

Through the programs of the MPCAF, the foundation’s primarily leader has earned the respect of the community where he resides. He speaks to men about prostate cancer wherever he meets them: on street corners, in barber shops, in churches, in supermarkets--everywhere. 

In speaking on behalf of the MPCAF, McRae has shown an uncanny ability to connect with at-risk men and their families and to get them involved in taking responsibility for their own health. 

In 2004, the MPCAF implemented the “Waging War Against Prostate Cancer Campaign in Alabama.” The MPCAF is currently working in partnership with the Southeast Alabama Sickle Cell Association office in Tuskegee; Us Too, a prostate cancer education and support organization based in Chicago, as well as. McRae even serves as a field representative for Tuskegee University’s Prostate Cancer Education Intervention Project 

On Sept. 9, 2005, The Prostate Net proudly honored the winners of the first Annual In the Know Awards. Among those recognized was Lawrence W. McRae for his efforts in raising prostate cancer awareness, his selfless acts of kindness and use of his personal resources to help eliminate disparities in health care in the Black Belt region of Alabama. 

It is through the program initiatives of the McRae Prostate Cancer Awareness Foundation that its founder has devoted himself to the cause of saving lives through encouraging regular screenings, early detection and prevention. The beneficiaries of these programs have received much needed information and have been motivated to get screening exams on a regular basis.  

“The mission of the MCPAF is truly a praiseworthy one, and I believe that it should be recognized because of the extraordinary contributions by its supporters to the healthcare of the residents of the undeserved Alabama Black Belt communities,” said Pelatyah T, Hawkins of Columbus, Ga., who nominated McRae Foundation. 

The Alabama Senior Citizens Hall of Fame was created in 1983 by the Alabama Legislature to honor living Alabama citizens who have made significant contributions toward enhancing the lives of Alabama’s elderly citizens.  

The Alabama Senior Citizens Hall of Fame recognizes honorees in the following categories: 

•Class Members become members of the Hall of Fame. 

•Special Awards: professionals and individuals in nine categories, honored in specific categories as befitting their contributions affecting the elderly in Alabama. 

•Honorary Members Class Members are presented with a Golden Eagle Medal of Honor pin and their names are inscribed on a plaque in the State Capitol. Honorary Members are presented with a Golden Eagle Honorary Eagle Pin.

[McRae Prostate Cancer Awareness Foundation]