The Islamic Center of Chester Inc., will hold its 16th annual Appreciation Banquet on Sunday, Nov. 22nd from 3 to 7 honor people for community service.

The banquet will be held at the Clarion Hotel and feature guest speaker Imam Dr. Nasir Ahmad, from Miami, Florida. An estimated 250 guests are expected to attend.

The Islamic Center started the banquet in 1999 as a fundraiser to support scholarships for youth in the community.

The center started a scholarship named for James Raspul Underwood, a member student who passed away. Every year, high school students receive $1,000 for college, said the center’s Lateefah Mahdi. Last year, twin sisters were awarded $1,000 each in scholarships for college.

This year, student Khalif Jihad, a high school senior, will receive the scholarship, Mahdi said. 

Also, every year the guest speaker talks about service to the human family, Mahdi said. People in various areas of service help humanity in different ways.

For instance, fire fighters and law enforcement have been honored in the past. Community service volunteers, government officials and teachers are also recognized for their service to the community.

The nine honorees this year include community service volunteers Barbara Mills and Talib Salaam. Businesses owners recognized are Harold McCoy and Monica Williams. Religious leader Louise Cavalier will be honored as will Tahira Sabir for education and Dr. Rev. Rocky Brown, a former elected official, for government.

Trailblazers to be honored are Adbullah Jihad and Saafie Karim. Mahdi said trailblazers are individuals who have been engaged in community service for 30 or more years.

In the past, trailblazers honored at the banquet included a woman who started a Muslim Girl Scout troupe, Mahdi said, and another known for officiating banquet programs.

“You can’t go to a function she’s not at,” Mahdi said.

“It’s something that people look forward to,” she said.

One student is receiving the scholarship from the banquet.

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