Big Boost Lifts T-100 Project is a blog about a recent event that honored the Tuskegee Airmen. The program attracted a large crowd of all ages and walks of life.
Sally-Ann Roberts is the daughter of Colonel Lawrence Roberts who started his military career with the Tuskegee Airmen.
I knew this family dynamic so I began talking to Sally-Ann about the T-100 project several months ago. When I first approached her, she was working at the CBS affiliate in New Orleans and my requests collided with station policies. But after she retired, my longtime friend accepted my invitation and she received a red carpet welcome from the community.
Sally-Ann was the guest speaker at “A Tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen” where she said the words everyone in the room wanted to hear. “If my dad were alive today, I know he would say I stand 100% with Tuskegee for the T-100 project.” This statement was followed by a burst of applause from the audience.
Sally-Ann then added, “My father isn’t here but I am. His eldest daughter tells you that I stand 100%with Tuskegee for the T-100 project.”
This was actually a homecoming for Sally-Ann. Her family lived in Tuskegee from 1958 until 1962. She recalled attending school at Chambliss Children’s House. She has asked me to track down the names of students who were in school with her and I am asking anyone with any information to please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sally-Ann also recalled buying ice cream at Allen’s Drug Store. During this chapter of the family’s journey, Robin Roberts was born in Tuskegee.
My history with the Roberts family dates back to the 1980’s when Sally-Ann and I worked for rival television stations in New Orleans and eventually got to know each other as friends.
Look at this picture. The over-my-shoulder graphic looks primitive doesn’t it? That’s because the photo was taken in 1985 when I was an anchor on WVUE Channel 8 in New Orleans.
Production has improved tremendously since then.
I left the television news business many years ago to co-found a pubic relations business with my husband. Sally-Ann remained with WWL Channel 4 but that has changed.
After 40 years of news reporting and anchoring, Sally Ann retired recently. She has pledged to devote more time working closely with EACH ONE SAVE ONE, a mentoring program inspired by her mother, Lucimarian Tolliver Roberts.
In 2012, Sally-Ann and Robin became soldiers in the crusade for more donors to give the gift of life. Sally-Ann donated bone marrow so that Robin could beat a life-threatening blood disorder.
There is another sister, Dorothy, a social worker who was a high ranking official with the Department of Mental Health in Mississippi. And the siblings have a brother Lawrence, a former financial industry executive who now teaches school in Houston.
The exceptional success of all four Roberts children is why Sally-Ann was in Tuskegee.
The event celebrated the values the Tuskegee Airmen passed on to their children. Sally-Ann spoke on this during her remarks. “The Tuskegee Airmen were heroes and heroines to this nation and they were also heroes and heroines to their families. Each of them had to be strong to withstand the pressure of being a trailblazer.”
She continued, “My father like his peers modeled excellence to their children. It was not just something they did on the job. Lawrence Edward Roberts was a rock star and the rock of his family. He set high standards for himself. My brother Lawrence, whom we call Butch said dad never missed a single day of work. He said he never saw dad disheveled. His shoes were always polished. His buckles shined, hair neatly groomed. The Tuskegee Airmen practiced excellence at home and at work.”
Well prepared for her presentation, it was obvious Sally-Ann had researched the T-100 project and knew the impact it could have on this community. “My father and all the Tuskegee Airmen who are now on that heavenly balcony are cheering you on now, cheering us on. Their legacy will live on through the T-100 project and we’re grateful for that.”
Acclaimed artist, Dr. Ronald McDowell surprised Sally-Ann with a painting of her family, in which he meticulously illustrated images of her father, mother and siblings.
“A Tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen” was an amazing event that touched me deeply both personally and professionally .
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