Mayor honors individuals at council meeting

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Photo courtesy of Michael Rogers/City of Gadsden: Pictured front row, from left: Shalonda McClellan, Frances Core, City of Gadsden Mayor Craig Ford. Pictured back row, from left: Councilwoman Tonya Latham, Councilman Steve Smith, Councilman Larry Avery, Councilman Kent Back, Councilman Jason Wilson, Councilwoman Dixie Manatra, Councilman Chris Robinson.

By Kaitlin Hoskins, News Editor

Gadsden Mayor Craig Ford took several minutes to acknowledge and publicly thank two women who have been coming to Gadsden City Hall and other public buildings around the city for a special reason — prayer.
Frances Core and Shalonda McClellan come to city hall on Tuesdays to pray for the city leaders and the residents of Gadsden.
Ford referred to the women as “prayer warriors” while he introduced them to the city council during the regularly called meeting of the Gadsden City Council Tuesday, August 22.
The prayer warriors not only visit City Hall but travel to local schools, the Etowah County Courthouse and other places they are spiritually led to pray.
Ford recalled the day he met Core and McClellan. He and Economic Development and Governmental Affairs Director John Moore had been working late at city hall. When Ford went to leave, he saw a car that looked exactly like Moore’s. Ford jokingly turned on his car’s blue lights, thinking Moore was driving the car in front of him.
“I got up behind it and blue-lighted it and gave it heck, thinking it was John. I was like ‘what is John doing?’ He wouldn’t move. Finally, I pull up to the side [of the car] and rolled down my window to see it was these two ladies.”
Ford played off the blue light joke by asking if the ladies were okay, since they were leaving the building late. Ford started chatting with the two women about what they were doing at City Hall so late and was humbled by their answer. The two women had been coming to City Hall every Tuesday to pray for the city.
“Of course, then I felt about this big,” Ford said, holding his thumb and index finger together.
Ford said he and the women have become good friends now and that he wanted to recognize them.
“I asked them if they would come be recognized, to let y’all know, and everybody in this city know, that we have two prayer warriors on Tuesdays at the flag pole,” Ford said.
The women received a standing ovation from the council members and the audience in attendance.
Core, who said most people know her as “Mother Francis Core,” told the council that McClellan had called her one day and asked her if she would go pray with her.
“I said ‘Yes, thank you Jesus.’ And we started praying every Tuesday. If we miss Tuesday, we come Thursdays. We just go all over the city. God has given us the initiative and patience and the where ever to pray. Because prayer is one of the most important weapons we have and certainly it is needed in our city, our state, and all over the world,” Core said.
According to Core, the pair enjoy their prayer work.
“I thank God that He has allowed me to live these 80 years and just be a service. I don’t have to have a name, or a title, just be the servant of most high God. And I love it,” Core said.
McClellan declined to speak at the council meeting, but she and Core had their picture made with the council and Ford.
Members of the council thanked the duo for their continued prayers.
“I’m very thankful that you guys pray over this city council. I’ll also say that if I had the mayor pull up and blue light me, I would say that I was praying over the building too,” Councilman Jason Wilson joked.
Council President Kent Back thanked the women for their prayers and Ford for recognizing them.
Core and McClellan were not the only people recognized at Tuesday’s meeting.
Gadsden City High School football head coach Ali Smith and strength and conditioning coach Brett Ellis, as well as four players, were recognized ahead of the business portion of the meeting.
“I was Googling ‘what does a Titan mean?’ and it is a person or thing of very great strength, intellect or importance,” Ford said. “This whole council, this mayor and administration are pro-Titans. We’re proud to have you — win or lose. But, we know you’re going to win, because I know the hard work you’ve put in.”
Coach Smith thanked the mayor and city council for the opportunity to bring some of the players to City Hall and for the support the council has offered to the football team.
“Our kids have been working since January 6,” Smith said. “For us, our season kicks off this Friday, but for our kids, our guys started on January 6. Football doesn’t have an off-season these days. We have 112 kids, ninth through 12th grade, and they’ve done an excellent job. We appreciate you guys supporting us and getting to know our kids.”
The four players, senior DeAndre “Dre” Kirkpatrick, Jr., senior Luke Waldrop, junior Matthew Sparks and senior Jerrell Brasher, each spoke to the city council and thanked them for having them and asked them to come see them play Friday.
Coach Ellis also thanked the council and the mayor for their support.
The Titans take on Carver-Montgomery Friday at home at 7 p.m.

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