By Morgan Bryce

The work of Dr. J. Dell Crosby from Auburn’s Mercy Medical Clinic to provide uninsured citizens with access to affordable healthcare will be recognized during the 7th annual “Black Tie Legacy Gala” Feb. 2 at the Auburn-Opelika Marriott at Grand National.
Organized by Darden High School alum Jeanette Peters, Peggy Hansen and other members of the J.W. Darden Foundation, Inc., the event will feature a reception, dinner and award ceremony to both honor Crosby’s work and recognize this year’s scholarship recipients. Peters added that $27,500 in scholarship monies have been awarded during the last six years to 15 students enrolled in post-graduate school, including doctors, nurses and pharmacists.
Named after Opelika’s first black physician Dr. J.W. Darden and his wife Maude, the foundation carries on his legacy through the Darden Wellness Center, which provides free health screenings and access to other medical resources. Events like the gala help sustain those efforts, scholarship provision and the necessary funding for the upkeep of Darden’s historical home at 1323 Auburn St.
Following is a list of past gala honorees:
2013 – Dr. Wendell Gaillard and the late Dr. William Lazenby
2014 – Mrs. Lillie Hall, BSN, RN and Dr. James P. Himmelwright
2015 – the late Dr. Howard Kennedy and Dr. Robert C. Patton
2016 – Dr. William Stephen Russell
2017 – Dr. William Garrett
2018 – Dr. Michael Williams.
Sponsorships are also available for this event:
• Gold – $3,000
• Silver – $2,000
• Bronze – $1,000
Tickets cost $100 per person and can be purchased by calling Hansen at 334-663-1833 or Peters at 334-745-6578 and email at
The venue is located at 3700 Robert Trent Jones Trail in Opelika.