A special speaker will be on deck for an annual banquet of the Surry County branch of the NAACP Saturday night.
Cedrick L. Jessup, a commander in the U.S. Navy and a Mount Airy High School graduate, is excited about the chance to address an audience for an event in his hometown, according to Faye Carter of the local NAACP.
“This is our annual Freedom Fund Banquet,” Carter said of a gathering now in its 51st year.
Saturday’s event will be held at the Jones Alumni Auditorium on Jones School Road, beginning at 6 p.m.
In addition to the keynote address by Jessup, it will include singing, special remarks and recognitions and a buffet dinner.
“Right now we still have tickets,” Carter added Tuesday. The Freedom Fund Banquet usually attracts about 125 people.
Carter said organizers are happy about having a distinguished Navy officer for this year’s event.
“He was honored here a few years ago concerning his role in the military,” Carter said of Jessup, who after graduating from Mount Airy High majored in marketing at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro.
In July 1997, he reported to Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Florida, and subsequently rose through the ranks, including being designated a Naval aviator in 1999.
Jessup has served with helicopter squadrons, among other assignments.
These have included being an emergency actions officer for the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the National Military Command Center at the Pentagon.
The former Mount Airy resident presently is stationed in Washington, D.C., and enrolled in the Eisenhower School of the National Defense University. In June, he will receive a master’s degree from that institution in national security and resource strategy with a concentration in weapons of mass destruction.
Jessup is the son of Alfred and Sandra Jessup, who now reside in Virginia, but he has other relatives living in the local area, including Teressa Spencer.
“So she came up with his name and once we called him he said he was elated to come,” Carter added of his upcoming appearance at the banquet.
Tickets for the gathering are available from Carter, who can be reached at (336) 429-0324, or at Spencer Funeral Home in Mount Airy.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.