Dickson Trailblazers honored for perseverance and leadership

On February 23, more than 100 Dickson Countians braved the rain and a threat of tornadoes to honor five local citizens who have contributed to their community.

The 8th annual Trailblazers Award Banquet presented awards to Lucille Holt-Vaughn, Steadman Bell, Marcus Talley, Brandon Williams, and Shannon Grigsby.

The speaker of the event was genealogist John F. Baker who is a descendant of enslaved people at Wessyngton plantation. Baker was not only able to trace his family, but also the families of 300 other slaves on Wessyngton. Several years ago, he was asked to curate a special Wessyngton exhibit at the Tennessee State Museum.

Each person honored was presented with an award by Ted Williams, president and CEO of TriStar Bank. Martha Gerdeman was the emcee of the event.  Each recipient was also honored with a proclamation from the Tennessee State Legislature.

Lucille Holt-Vaughn was honored with the Robert Blue Legacy Award. She has been business woman in Dickson for sixty years and still works part time at eh Hair Barn beauty salon. She is an active member of Worley Furnace Missionary Baptist Church and the Dickson Union choir.

A Trailblazer Award was presented to Steadman Bell, a young man who excelled both athletically and academically in high school and attended Langston University on a scholarship. After graduation, he began serving his community by founding the nonprofit Elite Skills Training Academy, which serves student athletes aged 8 and older.

Marcus Talley, a 2000 graduate of Dickson County High School, earned a degree as a surgical technician after surviving a serious car accident, in spite of also being a single father. He has been employed in that field for five years at Baptist Hospital.

Brandon Williams, who grew up in Charlotte and graduated from Creek Wood High School, returned home after graduating from the University of Evansville (Indiana) and has founded the nonprofit organization Waveffect, which provides assistance to people in need. In 2018 the three young men joined forces and collaborated with the Dickson YMCA to sponsor a Thanksgiving event.

Shannon Grigsby also received a Trailblazer award. Grigsby also contributed to his community. Even in high school he was involved in serving the community by his membership in the Rotary International-sponsored Interact organization. He earned a Certified Nursing Assistant designation after high school and is enrolled at Nashville State.

He has worked at the Clement Railroad Hotel Museum, where he founded and sponsored the Governor’s Club, a group of high school students who volunteer at the museum and which served at the banquet and has also sponsored a Black History Month poster contest. He is employed at TriStar Bank and is also treasurer of the Dickson County Historical & Genealogical Society.