Contributed to
The Observer


PACE (People of Action for Community Enrichment) presented its annual awards during the Virtual 35th Anniversary and Scholarship Celebration last week. Founding members Rev. Clifford Jones, Rev. Jonas Rutledge, Dr. Keith Parker and Dr. Willie Larkin reflected on 35 years of PACE’s service to the community. Larkin, former administrator at Auburn University, former president of Grambling University, former chief of staff and executive assistant to the president of Morgan State University and currently the chief of staff and diversity officer at Edgewood College, served as the featured speaker. Larkin challenged past, present and future PACE members to continue to enrich the lives of community members through education and active involvement. The celebration can be viewed in its entirety on YouTube.

Each year, PACE presents the Arthur Hill Sr. Community Service Award to a citizen who has made significant contributions to the community, who exhibits leadership qualities in the area of community service, who is dedicated to helping others and who is a positive role model.  An award is also given to a PACE member who exhibits those same qualities and is dedicated to the goals of this organization.

The Arthur Hill Community Service Award was presented to Connie Fitch-Taylor, Auburn City Council Representative for Ward 1.

“Working and campaigning for over 20 years with Auburn City Councilmen, Lee County Commissioners and Alabama State Representatives prepared her for the journey to make a difference in the Auburn community.”

Fitch-Taylor founded the North West Auburn Task Force where she is CEO, the YFABS, which is a young girls scout troop, and MATCH, a male scout troop which meets monthly and has planned activities. Fitch-Taylor spearheaded the first Juneteenth celebration in Auburn this year, and Mayor Ron Anders made it an annual event. Fitch-Taylor spearheads the senior citizens, disabled and the homeless Thanksgiving dinner annually in November. She has served two terms on the city of Auburn’s Cemetery Advisory Board, has served on the Lee County Commissioners Sub Committee, is a former secretary for the local NAACP and a former foster parent. She is a member of Mount Vernon Baptist Church where she serves in several capacities.  Fitch-Taylor is a graduate of Auburn High School; she earned a business administration degree from Faulkner University, is a mother of three and a grandmother of two.

The PACE Member Award was presented to Audrey Marshall, 2020-21 president of PACE. As president of PACE, Marshall lead the organization through some challenging times. She worked tirelessly to continue to meet and provide community services during the COVID-19 pandemic. She works with local individuals and business each day, beyond her regular workday, to provide intern opportunities for students and jobs.  She never says “No” to anyone as she helps students with college and job applications, creating or designing newsletters, programs, presentations and more that will enhance the program or project being developed.  Marshall develops business and community partnerships which continue to result in work-based learning opportunities for Auburn City Schools students.  Her mission is to assist in providing a highly trained, technologically sophisticated and career-oriented young work force for our local community. Marshall is very humble and compassionate as she volunteers and makes a difference in the lives of so many within Lee County, the state and at the national level.  Marshall has been teaching since 1994 and is currently employed with Auburn City Schools.  She earned a B.S. in Business/Marketing Education and a M.Ed. in Business Education from Auburn University. She is a graduate of Opelika High School, married to Marcus Marshall, Sr., also a PACE member  and has two children, Marcus Marshall, Jr. and Lauryn Marshall, and God-children Dr. Tennille Curtis and Calvin Bryant.