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Co-op Extension facility renamed in honor of Al Lawson, Jr.

Last week, the Gadsden County Cooperative Extension Service facility was renamed in honor of former United States Congressman Alfred Lawson, Jr.
On June 19, there were more than  fifty supporters at the Gadsden County Extension Building located at 2140 W. Jefferson Street in Quincy to celebrate the renaming of the building.
Making the moment all the more momentous was the date chosen for the presentation, Juneteenth Day.

The Gadsden County Extension Office operates as part of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) program, the space equally provides the community with educational resources and programs on issues such as sustainable agriculture, 4-H and more. 

“As a boy growing up, I was very active in the 4-H club,” Lawson said. “I would come to this facility, we would raise hogs and cows here feeding them through the year..”

Lawson further explained, with proper care of the animals, they were later judged in contests. Doing well would allow people the option to purchase them for good money, Lawson added.

The ceremony began with a welcome from Commissioner Ronterious (Ron) Green. Members of the Gadsden County Boys and Girls Club led the Pledge of Allegiance while the Reverend Charles Morris of New Bethel A.M.E. Church delivered the invocation.

Gadsden County Commissioner Brenda Holt, who has served on the board since 2002, said there was a 5-0 vote regarding the name change.

“It means progress,” Holt said. “A barefoot black boy from Gadsden County can be in congress and make it to the White House. Any child can do the same. The community is excited.”  

In addition to family members and friends, attending the ceremony, some patrons traveled the distance to see the event take place.
Gadsden County Sheriff Morris Young, and Commissioner Curtis Richardson were amongst the audience.

“Oh what an honor on Juneteenth in your hometown. Al Lawson, Sorry I’m missing this. We are so proud of you Daddy,” Lawson’s daughter, Shani Lawson Wilson. shared via Facebook post. 

“I’m just honored,” Lawson, who now has two buildings and a Highway (from downtown Quincy to Midway) named in his honor, said with a big smile.

Lawson served 18 years in the House of Representatives and was able to serve on the Agricultural Committee and bring money down to fund the facility and programs.

“This was a great outlet coming from the country out of Midway,” said Lawson.

He noted how the 4-H club teaches children public speaking and provides year-long activities.

Lawson’s vision continues with the youth of Gadsden County.
He’s encouraging students to stay in school, and asking for more support from parents, who he wants to get involved and utilize the extension space.

“It’s a great choice, amazing to see,” Shawanna Moye, Parks and Recreation Specialist said. “The community will have great feedback for him and his family,” Moye added. 

Kiwanis White – Gadsden County News Service