Sheriff John Williams Memorial Scholarships awarded

Published 2:45 pm Thursday, May 26, 2022

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Sheriff John Williams is a name few in Lowndes County haven’t heard. The late Sheriff was known by locals for his kindness and fairness. The Williams’ family and Lowndes community are ensuring the legacy “Big John” left behind continues through future generations.

Last Wednesday, in the main courtroom of the Lowndes County Courthouse, the Sheriff John Williams Memorial Scholarship was awarded to recipients from across Lowndes County. Family and friends gathered to celebrate the seniors’ accomplishments and honor the memory of Williams.

“Today is one of the best meetings we have all year for the Lowndes County Children’s Policy Council,” Lowndes County District Judge and chairman of the Lowndes County Children’s Policy Council, Adrian Johnson, said.

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“This is the second year that we have been fortunate enough to award the Sheriff John Williams Memorial Scholarship,” he said.

This year’s recipients are Damaria Johnson who attends The Calhoun High School, Jeheim Rudolph, a senior at Central High School and Shelby Oglesby, who attends Lowndes Academy.

The high school seniors expressed their appreciation for being selected for the scholarship and revealed their future plans to the council.

“I would like to say thank you to the Children’s Policy Council for making this possible for me,” Damaria said. “I would also like to thank my superintendent, my parents, my grandparents and my sister. I will be attending The University of Alabama in the fall and majoring in nursing.”

“I would like to thank the Children’s Policy Council for allowing this scholarship to happen and for continuing to make this impact for “Big John” no matter what,” Oglesby said. “I will be attending Trenholm State next year and will be studying radiology.”

“I would like to thank the Children’s Policy Council, Judge Johnson, my superintendent, as well as my big brother and my father,” Rudolph said. “I will be attending Alabama State University, majoring in English to eventually receive a teaching certificate so I can become an english teacher.”

The Lowndes County Partnership for Children formally established the scholarship in honor of the county’s late sheriff John “Big John” Williams in 2020 as a way to honor Williams’ memory. The scholarship is $2,000 per student and is awarded to three students in Lowndes County. The scholarship is a reflection of the values for which Williams stood.

“We wanted to have an opportunity to honor our friend, Sheriff John Williams, and this was our vehicle to do so,” Adrian Johnson said. “If you knew John, then you knew he was passionate about the children of this county. As a dedicated member of the Lowndes County Children’s Policy Council, he cared deeply for the children of this county and always wanted to do things to try to help children and promote children’s issues.”

Dwyane Farrior, nephew of John Williams, offered congratulations and words of encouragement to each student on behalf of the Williams’ family.

“Hard work and education is what my uncle believed in,” Farrior told the recipients. “We all have obstacles to face in life. On behalf of the family of “Big John,” congratulations to each of you. Go out and make Lowndes County proud.”

In addition to the scholarship funds that were awarded, each student also received a college student care package that contained essential items such as pens, paper, and laundry detergent, as well as gift cards to area retailers for use this fall when the students attend school. The items for these care packages were donated by Children’s Policy Council members, Lowndes County Circuit Clerk, Ruby Jones Thomas, and local attorneys Randy Bozeman, Will Kelly, Mickey McDermott, Lauren Donaldson Paulk and Desirae Lewis Jackson.

The third annual Ramblin’ Thunder 4 / 5 Motorcycle Ride, benefiting the Sheriff John Williams Memorial Scholarship Fund, will be held on Saturday, June 18, 2022. The ride will begin at 9 a.m. in Hayneville. Riders are encouraged to donate $10 and vendor spots are available for $25. All proceeds will benefit the Sheriff John Williams Memorial Scholarship Fund. For more information please contact Daniel Rudolph at 334-412-8624.