Vandalia Native, Drenda (Weir) Williams Received USDA’s Martin Luther King Jr.’s Drum Major for Service Award at National USDA Ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Drenda Williams, the current President of The National Organization of Professional Black Natural Resources Conservation Service received one of USDA’s highest honors, that being the USDA’s Drum Major for Service Award during an awards ceremony on January 20 to honor the life and legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
USDA’s Assistant Secretary for Administration Dr. Gregory Parham and Chief Human Capital Officer Roberta “Bobbi” Jeanquart presented the award to President Drenda Williams and Vice President Kevin Farmer on behalf of the organization during the ceremony at USDA’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. The Organization received a plaque and certificate of appreciation for its numerous voluntary activities to uplift employees, African-American producers, and communities.
They partner with community-based organizations to conduct a survey and town hall meeting to gauge African-American producers’ awareness of federal programs, heir property information, etc. at its annual Outreach and Ag Education Expo. The survey and town hall meeting provided a forum for these producers to voice their issues and concerns.
They oversee the Technical component of the Farm Turnaround Team. Minority Landowner magazine coordinates the Farm Turnaround Team, based in North Carolina.
Partners with Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS) mentor college students individually and through panel discussions training MANRRS students on how to apply for federal jobs.
Scholarships are awarded annually to students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities working through the USDA Liaisons at those schools. The organization has awarded more than $100,000 to these students thus far.
They develop organization members through diverse methods, including webinars, formal mentoring, and its annual professional development expo. The organization uses 100 percent volunteer hours to plan and execute the annual Outreach and Ag Expo.
The Organization was among 11 individuals and three organizations that received the Drum Major for Service Award in 2016. The award is given annually to recognize individuals, groups and organizations that make outstanding contributions to service organizations voluntarily, uplifting communities and people.
Ms. Williams is a 1993 graduate of Van-Far High School and currently resides in Temple, Texas where she is the Assistant State Conservationist for Management and Strategy for the USDA/Natural Resources Conservation Service. She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Vardeman, formerly of Vandalia.