Kendall Holbrook
Kendall Holbrook

Dominion Energy and the Library of Virginia announced recently the 2023 Strong Men & Women in Virginia History honorees and Student Creative Expressions Contest winners.

The yearly program, founded in 2013, recognizes notable Black business and community leaders who have overcome obstacles to make significant impacts across the commonwealth.

“Each generation builds in the achievements of the one before,” said Bill Murray, senior vice president for corporate affairs and communications at Dominion Energy. “That’s why we are proud to honor strong men and women in Virginia history who have used their talents and efforts to improve communities for the present and future generations.”

Members of the armed forces, engineers, authors, community leaders, educators, journalists, judges, and politicians have been celebrated throughout the program’s history.

“These amazing men and women have proven that hard work and determination can shape one’s destiny and the world,” said Sandra G. Treadway, librarian of Virginia. “Throughout time, African American leaders have used their unique skillsets and unwavering passion to mentor leaders of the future. It’s important to honor their efforts and their legacy.”

Quentin Joseph Smith Jr.
Quentin Joseph Smith Jr.

The 2023 honorees are Kendall Holbrook, CEO, and mentor, Fairfax County; Ora Scruggs McCoy, farmer, and community activist, Appomattox County; Wendell Oliver Scott (posthumously), stock car driver, Danville; Col. Quentin Joseph Smith Jr. (retired), Air Force pilot and mentor, Hampton; Sheila Bowen Taylor, a nuclear engineer and mentor, Norfolk; and the Rev. Raymond Rogers Wilkinson (honored posthumously); Baptist minister and civil rights leader, Roanoke.

The leaders were celebrated at a gala earlier this month. The honorees selected a nonprofit to get $5,000 from Dominion’s charitable foundation.

The honorees will be featured in a photo and biographical traveling exhibition throughout the commonwealth sponsored by the Library of Virginia. The Student Creative Expressions Contest serves as a competitive vehicle for high school students to honor outstanding Black Virginians and to share stories about them that are missing from the mainstream narrative.

The winners were Jonah Burton, Henrico High School, Richmond; Alexa Koeckritz, Grafton High School, Yorktown; Lily Vietmeyer, Washington-Liberty High School, Arlington; and Maria Turner, Patrick County High School, Stuart. The student winners will each get an Apple MacBook Air Laptop and $1,000 for their schools.

For more information on the Strong Men & Strong Women in Virginia program, go to the Library of Virginia’s website under “Strong Men & Women in Virginia History—Library of Virginia Education.”

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