Her parents completed the fourth grade, yet Florence Bellamy understood as a little girl growing up near Smiths Station that having a good education could make all the difference in her life.
“I’m sure it was not by choice that they didn’t get an education,” she said. “I think that was because of where they lived and what they had to do.”
Bellamy said her parents did their very best to support her and her siblings in all they aspired. The youngest of 11, she learned first-hand the struggles of her brothers and sisters as they tried to get an education. In particular, she vividly remembers one of her sisters having to catch a ride with mill workers to get to Mother Mary Mission, a nearby Catholic school.
Bellamy witnessed her sister earn a GED through a Headstart Program and then become a family support worker for Headstart. She would go to people’s homes to recruit children for the program and would take Bellamy with her during the summers.
“It definitely left an impression on me,” said Bellamy. “I watched her dress professionally and go into homes where the floor was dirt. There may have even been chickens and pigs on the inside. Nevertheless, she never changed her disposition. I didn’t know at the time that a seed was being planted for me to do what I’m doing now.”
Bellamy will be honored for the work she is doing now and has done in the past at Chattahoochee Valley Community College Foundation’s Hall of Fame event on March 14. She will receive the Distinguished Alumni award. Bellamy has dedicated her life to serving young people and helping to make a difference in their lives. She has worked in the area of child welfare and adult services for more than 20 years, particularly serving with the Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR). Described as a role model, Bellamy serves as the Director of Helping Families Initiative, Kenneth E. Davis, District Attorney, Russell County, 26th Judicial Circuit.
The road to success was not an easy one for Bellamy. She worked several jobs while going to school and applied for grant money to pay for her education. She credits her faith and others who offered a helping hand along the way to help her achieve. She says “the Lord” placed the right people in her life early on.
“I had some hardships, but I knew education was my way out,” she said. “I was going to pursue a six-month certificate for secretary of science. I was working through the work study program for Larry Blevins, an instructor at the college. He encouraged me. He said, ‘If you can do six months, you can do a year. If you can do a year, you can do two. Everyone at the college was encouraging. They knew your name and they pushed you. Those people took an interest and kept pushing.’”
Now Bellamy pushes others. She has served as a mentor to many. She is dedicated to community service on a local, state, and national level. Her civic and social duties include but are not limited to, serving as President and Vice President of the Alabama Association of School Boards, member of Phenix City Education Foundation, President and Vice President of Phenix City Board of Education, member of Board of Directors for Concharty Council of Girls Scouts, Inc., Domestic Violence Advisory Council, and Chattahoochee Valley Community College Foundation Board.
The Hall of Fame event includes a dinner and entertainment. This evening of food, fun, and fellowship is set for March 14, at the National Infantry Museum. Bellamy is one of four deserving honorees to be recognized. Tickets are $75 and sponsorships for the event are available. For more information, please contact Dr. Joree Jones at 334-214-4816 or Joree.email@example.com.