Wednesday, April 24, 2013

2013 Annual Tribute Luncheon "The Gospel of Durham"

The 2013 Annual Tribute Luncheon, held today at the Durham Convention Center, welcomed more than 300 attendees according to Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau President and CEO Shelly Green. DCVB produces the event each year to celebrate an aspect of Durham's unique sense of place, and the people, places, events, and things that make Durham distinct.

From left to right, DCVB President & CEO Shelly Green,
Annual Tribute Luncheon Honoree Shirley Caesar and
Co-host, Minnie Forte-Brown, Vice Chair,
Durham Public Schools Board of Education
Durham native and eleven-time Grammy winner Pastor Shirley Caesar was this year's honoree, with the theme, "The Gospel of Durham."  According to Green, "We are extremely excited to share the good news about Pastor Caesar, and Durham, today. We don't hold a traditional annual meeting. Rather, we use this event as a showcase to help people understand Durham, and all its facets," she added.

A short documentary video about Pastor Caesar debuted at the event. Local weekly newspaper, The Indy Week, featured Caesar as their cover story this week, and a very special greeting was read to Pastor Caesar, from former president, Bill Clinton. President and Secretary Clinton are close personal friends of Pastor Caesar, and they sent their congratulations in a personal note read aloud as a special surprise during the event. Pastor Caesar was excited to hear their kind words. "I am so glad I had the privilege to be a part of the Durham City Council. I always come back home. I love Durham."

Caesar's contributions to Durham are numerous and far-reaching. Pastor Caesar was elected to the Durham City Council and served from 1987 to 1991. She is also a cheerleader for Durham wherever she goes, and as an international Gospel star, that's a lot of places. Pastor Caesar also personally funds the Shirley Caesar Outreach Ministries in Durham to help the less fortunate. The Pastor has also acted in Hollywood films, and performed on Broadway. While Pastor Caesar has won Grammy Awards and dozens of other music awards, this award from her local Durham community holds special meaning.

Upon accepting the award, Caesar expressed appreciation for the recognition from the community, “This is a privilege. It's an honor. Even when I left the clay hills of North Carolina, I always came home. You can always come home when you can't go anyplace else. Thank God for home."

This event is produced annually and in the past has recognized the culinary arts, architecture, authors, events, and civic organizations. To see an image of the 2013 Annual Tribute Luncheon honorees click here.

The event is always a "who's who" of Durham and of the respective community being celebrated with today's event being no exception. "Events like this help to remind us all how special Durham is, and why we are all so proud to be here," Green said.

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