The civil rights organization recognized Shan Cooper, Lockheed Martin vice president and general manager; S.A. White Oil Company President Kim Gresh; Arlethia Perry-Johnson of Kennesaw State University; and Powder Springs Mayor Pat Vaughn over the weekend.
March is Women’s History Month.
The luncheon, held Saturday afternoon at InfoMart on Terrell Mill Road, was an invite-only event attended by a diverse group of women from various professional fields, including education, business, politics and law.
“The day to day thing of the NAACP is to help the underserved,” Cobb NAACP President Deane Bonner told the group of women. “We as women that are here have got to save these kids because it is really a sad commentary out there.”
The four women honored over the weekend represent the best ideals of what the NAACP strives to achieve in improving the county, Bonner said.
Cooper, who became head of Lockheed’s Marietta facility in January 2011, said she was personally moved by the recognition.
“I don’t take it for granted because yet for God’s grace, I’d be somewhere else,” said Cooper, whose company has pledge to support the Marietta Center for Advanced Academics.
“Who would have thought a little black girl running around Anniston, Ala., would be building multi-billion aircraft today, right.”
Vaughn, a longtime mayor of Powder Springs, said she appreciated being honored by the NAACP, an organization she said she worked with to resolve issues in a timely and low-key manner that had arisen in her city.
“We had a few incidences in the city that we needed to make right,” Vaughn said.
“The privilege that I have had being mayor, it gives you an opportunity to reach out and know people in all neighborhoods and in all walks of life. I think that is the thing I love most about being mayor.”
Perry-Johnson, who serves as vice president of external affairs at KSU, could not attend the event because of other commitments, said her husband, Steve Johnson. He stood in his wife’s place at the luncheon.
“She wants to thank the NAACP for the work it does in the community,” he said.
“One reason she couldn’t be here is because she is trying to some secure funding for a program that is really a statewide program called the African-American Male Initiative. For the last almost 15 years, Arlethia has been the program manager for this statewide initiative, which has increased the number of black males in the college and university (system) by a pretty significant amount over that time period.”
A Cobb native, Gresh is president of a family-owned wholesale petroleum business and served as the first female board member of the Georgia Oilmen’s Association. She has also dedicated time to the YWCA of Northwest Georgia, WellStar Foundation and MUST Ministries.
“I love this community. I give back 24-7,” she said.
“I have this passion that everybody should get along and that the world should be a better place, each and every day. Maybe it’s just way out there and not going to happen. But I’ve just got to believe it is because if I don’t, who else is going to?”