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Mt. Holly hosts Living Legend Awards Gala

By Alan Hodge

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The City of Mt. Holly Grand Hall was the scene on Sept. 7 of the Kay Jackson Living Legend Awards Gala. The sold-out event honored three local residents for outstanding contribution to the Mt. Holly community.

The Living Legend Awards is the creation of  author, mentor, life coach and teacher Kay Jackson, wife of Mt. Holly city manager Danny Jackson.

“The goal of the event is to celebrate, educate, and to honor those persons in our community who we consider to be our own legends,” Kay Jackson said. “They are defined as our own local treasures living among us who have made a positive difference in their communities and beyond. Their impact often goes under the radar in their calling, talents, and field of work. They have modeled inspirational leadership among their peers. They are a portrait for our youth of the faith and hope that have brought us this far as a human race and to showcase people of color, specifically, in overcoming seemingly insurmountable circumstances in America.”

This year’s Living Legend Award winners are Veronica M. Melton, Harry L. McDowell, and James “Tootie” Hogan.

Melton was born and raised in Mt. Holly and is a 1972 graduate of Mt. Holly High. She was a member of the Mt. Holly High Homecoming Court, Student Government, Library Club And Junior Achievement. She was involved in Mt. Holly Parks and Rec., Community Action Program, and modeled at the Leader department store. In her senior year at Mt. Holly High, she took part in the Miss Black NC pageant and was voted Miss Congeniality. She also rode on the Big WAYS float in the Mt. Holly Christmas parade. Melton worked for and retired from Clariant Corp after 47 years of service. She married to William Pratt and is the mother of two boys, Frederick and Travis, and the proud grandmother of six.

Harry McDowell is a native of Mt. Holly and the son of Peg “Flowers” Brooks. McDowell is a writer, producer, director, and music director of 3M Productions, Inc. He also supports orphanages in Haiti.  Some of McDowell’s writing includes Is Love Enough, In My Father’s House, Your Healing Is On the Way, The Porch, Don’t Tell Mama, Footsteps in the Dark, Pick Up the Pieces, Moving on Up, A Leak In the Old Building, Meet Me at the Rock, and Blind Justice.

McDowell is also owner of Three Musketeers Cleaning. He has been married to wife Rosemary for 41 years and they have two sons Maurice and Michael, and a granddaughter Madison.

James Hogan is professional R&B and jazz guitarist. Hogan was born in New Haven Conn. and moved to Mt. Holly at an early age.

Tootie learned music from his father James Hogan.

Tootie has performed around the globe including places like Japan, Spain, Australia, and Spain. He has been on stage with other greats such as The Drifters, Roberta Flack, Miles Davis, The Spinners, The Platters, Little Richard, The Platters, Martha and the Vandellas, and many many more. He has appeared on the Johnny Carson Show,. Tootie has released three albums- Dreamin’ at Midday on DePriest Records, Last Flight Out, and Final Destination. Tootie is the father of two, the oldest of six children, and lives in Mt. Holly.