Boy Scouts Honor Entrepreneurs, Trailblazers, and Corporate Executives

WHITNEY M. YOUNG, JR. Service Award recipients and family members. Photographed from l-r: Austin Matthews, Charles Matthews, Mamon Powers, Cynthia Powers, Brunetta Mathews, and Jarred Matthews.
WHITNEY M. YOUNG, JR. Service Award recipients and family members. Photographed from l-r: Austin Matthews, Charles Matthews, Mamon Powers, Cynthia Powers, Brunetta Mathews, and Jarred Matthews.

By Henry Taylor

Chicago’s Boy Scouts of America’s Pathway to Adventure Council celebrated its 10th Annual Whitney M. Young, Jr. Service Award Dinner on October 25, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.  This event raised over $108,000 to assist in helping send inner city youth to camp and providing funds for infrastructure programming and resources needed for quality scouting experiences.

Radio and TV Personality Darryl Dennard served as Master of Ceremonies for the evening. Dennard is also a 2017 Whitney recipient and a Whitney Dinner Executive Committee member.

The theme “Changing the Game” resonates the commitment the Pathway to Adventure Council has to the Restoring the Village program, which is a program that equips young people in embattled neighborhoods with the values, tools, opportunities, and mentors needed to build a brighter future for themselves and their community. Each of the honorees exemplified an appreciation for the same commitment in their personal quest to give back.

Greetings were delivered by the Honorary Chair, Eugene E. Jones, who is the CEO, Chicago Housing Authority, and Dorval R. Carter, the General Chair and President, Chicago Transit Authority. The two were followed by Eagle Scout Aidan Lloyd, who has managed to build an impressive academic and extra-curricular background although he is currently a Junior at Lane Tech College Prep. Lloyd is a Troop 759 Eagle Scout at the Power Center of Hope in Englewood.

Actor and Star of TV NBC Show “The Blacklist” Harry Lennix, presented the dinner’s keynote speech. Lennix was following another Eagle Scout Devonte Matthews of Troop 1791 who gave the Invocation. After dinner an impactful “Call to Action” was delivered by Garrard McClendon. Emmy Award Winner Garrard McClendon, PhD. is an Associate Professor in Education Leadership at Chicago State University.

In the spirit of Whitney Young, this year’s honorees had the vision of things yet to be as they strengthened the communities they inspire by being active role models. Whitney Young said, “You’ve got to be there and be counted.”

Among the five honorees being recognized with the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Service Award was a married couple — Mamon Powers and his wife, Mrs. Cynthia Powers, are the owners of Powers and Sons Construction. Both were born and raised in Gary, Indiana. They have teamed up to help their family business to become one of America’s largest African-American owned construction companies in the country.  Some of the projects have been Sport Stadiums, Real Estate Complexes, Food Stores such as Mariano’s just to name a few.  They sit on numerous Boards overseeing resources to assist underserved companies.  The “Power” couple of Mamon and Cynthia Powers have been named to The Times Business and Industry Hall of Fame and have been awarded honorary degrees because they are truly the fountain of hope that never stops giving.

Mr. Larry Huggins, president and CEO of Riteway-Huggins Construction is an innovative and industrious business man.  He has been a role model in the Chicago area and is one of Chicago’s most prominently sought-after executive in general contracting and construction management for commercial, municipal, and residential properties.  He sits on numerous boards, is a civic leader, and philanthropist.  He started his business in 1975, Riteway-Huggins Construction and his firm has become one of the largest in the Midwest with construction management and trucking. Riteway-Huggins Construction has performed numerous large-scaled projects such as Exelon Solar Project in West Pullman, John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital, AT&T Corporate Center, McCormick Place South Expansion, Unicom Thermal Technologies Cooling Plant, United Center and the newly completed 3lst Street Harbor along Chicago’s lakefront and his firm served as Construction Manager for the 1996 Democratic Convention.

In 1997, he was one of the founding members of The Chicago Football Classic which assisted Chicago area college bound students to receive over $1,500,000 in 2018.  He also started a foundation in Chicago’s underserved Englewood community and has raised over one million dollars to assist those seeking a better life. He has received many accolades among them Contractor Of The Year, Chicago Department of Transportation, Grant Park Museum project, 1998, Man of the Year, African American Contract Association, Entrepreneur of the Year, QBG Foundation, Citizen Newspaper and Chicago Defender Newsmaker 2012 for Transportation.

Charles Matthews is President & CEO, Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas since June 2013.  In this role, he oversees the daily operations, strategy, growth and administrative activities of WEC Energy Group’s two Illinois utilities that collectively provide natural gas service to nearly one million customers in the city of Chicago and 54 communities within the northern suburbs.

Mr. Matthews is a member of the board of directors of Navy Pier, World Business Chicago, Chicago Urban League, Illinois Utility Business Diversity Council, Ounce of Prevention Fund, and Talladega College.  He also is active with several organizations and nonprofits in Chicago including Chicago United, Commercial Club of Chicago and its Civic Committee.

Music for the evening was provided by Jamiah and Rogers Band. Fr. David Jones delivered the Benediction.

This article originally appeared in the Chicago Crusader

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