Mandell United Methodist Church and South Austin Coalition Community Council on Sunday celebrated the life of their friend and freedom fighter Ed Bailey by presenting a community service award in his name and honor.

Bailey died in November 2005. Among the celebrations at Mandell Church on Sunday was the awards presentation to two of Austin’s stalwarts. Rev. Gregory Livingston, pastor of Mandell, presented community service awards to William High and Lillian Drummond of SACCC.

Rev. Livingston gave a very rousing and enlightening service and was happy to see so many individuals come out to honor the two awardees for their continuing community service.

A few excerpts from comments made by SACCC Executive Director Bob Vondrasek regarding Lillian Drummond:

“It’s an honor to be here today to recognize the accomplishments of Lillian Drummond ?” my fellow freedom fighter. Over the years I have spent more of my waking life with Mrs. D., than my wife,” he joked. “Mrs. Drummond has become nationally known as the ‘Rosa Parks’ of low-income utility issues. Hundreds of thousands of low-income utility customers have benefited from her leadership with the South Austin Coalition on this life and death issue. Her greatest victory came in 1985 with the passage of the statewide Affordable Budget Plan. The second greatest came in 1997, winning $76 million in additional funds for Illinois.

“Today, Mrs. D. is hard at work on the campaign to win back the percentage of income plans in Illinois. Now that utilities and energy are back on everyone’s agenda, Mrs. D. will be speaking at the Washington, D.C. NPA (National People’s Action) Conference in May to win grass roots national legislation on energy and utilities. The recipient of many awards, Mrs. D. will be getting one more award: a brown street sign on the corner of Leamington and Congress.”

Attendees at Sunday’s ceremony included keynote speaker Congressman Danny K. Davis, as well as, Ald. Ed Smith (28), Rev. Louis Flowers, LaShawn Ford and many other community leaders.