Pinkie N. Simmons, renown in Grady County for her many years of service as a midwife to the African-American community, has been selected for this honor.
Mrs. Simmons, the first-born child of the late Elder William Henry Norwood and Anier Chester Norwood, was married to the late Rev. Perry Simmons Sr. for 59 years until his death in 2001.
They are the proud parents of six girls and six boys. Mrs. Simmons was educated in Grady County public schools and was honored on numerous occasions during her working years for dedicated service, outstanding performance and community spirit.
Before medical services were widely available, Mrs. Simmons delivered countless babies in this area and “Miss Pinkie” remains a beloved character to generations of area residents.
In addition to her work as a midwife, Mrs. Simmons earned the reputation of being a trail blazer by opening one of the first day care centers here. Her operation provided an early exposure to education and job opportunities for children and youth who otherwise may not have been afforded a chance to succeed without the help of Mrs. Simmons.
She is retired from the Grady County Department of Family and Children Services and is the former director of the local Neighborhood Service Center.
Her work extended to the Thomasville Training Center where she worked closely with people who suffer from mental retardation.
A member of Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church for more than 50 years, the Rev. Alexander Mack and the congregation consider Mrs. Simmons the “mother of the church.” She also serves as a member of Missionaries-in-Action, as a deaconess and president of the pastor’s aide.
The parade grand marshal has also served the needs of the community by opening her home to foster children. While her husband was still living and pastoring area churches, she was active in the Ministers’ Wives Alliance.
When she is not busy with community service, Pinkie enjoys collecting and selling antiques, finding treasures at yard sales, and fishing.
One of the greatest experiences of her life, she says, was attending the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
“It was a breathtaking experience and one I will never forget,” Mrs. Simmons said.
The theme for this year’s King Day is “Unity in the Community.”
In addition to the parade, a church service will be held at 7 p.m., Monday evening, at Bethlehem A.M.E. Church with guest speaker Bishop Kevin Hindsman.
Another program is also being held this Sunday at Shiloh #1 M.B. Church at 6 p.m. with guest speaker Minister Tony Adkins.