'Strength in Unity'

Fellowship Churches of Santa Rosa County celebrates 25th anniversary

The Fellowship Churches of Santa Rosa County, Inc. 25th anniversary banquet takes place Feb. 17 at the county auditorium. [AARON LITTLE | Press Gazette]

MILTON — The Fellowship Churches of Santa Rosa County, Inc. celebrated its 25th anniversary Feb. 17 with a banquet at the county auditorium. Fellowship Chairman L.T. McKinley, a member since the beginning, gave the guest speaker address. He is a deacon with Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church.

Fellowship Vice Chairwoman Janet Gooden hosted the event and Secretary Mary Eberhart lead the youth choir through its performances.

McKinley served in the United States Navy for 22 years retiring in 1976 with various certifications including combat, search and rescue and aviation electrician.

He also received his Building Construction Engineering Certification and Associate of Science degree in Criminal Justice from what was then Pensacola Junior College as well as his accreditation and certification from the University of Gainesville in Interpersonal Communications for Supervisory Management.

McKinley went on to work for the state of Florida Division of Forestry as a maintenance supervisor for 27 years. He also served on the Milton Civil Service Board, the Planning board and the West Florida Regional Planning Board.

MicKinley was also the first vice president of the Santa Rosa County branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

"Our theme this evening is ‘Strength in Unity," McKinley said. "Our scripture is (Psalms 133). It says, ‘Oh behold how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity.’ This is what our fellowship is all about…It's all about helping one another in Santa Rosa County and other counties if it becomes necessary but we're mostly concerned about our own homeland not to be selfish but be cooperative and willing to stand firm and help wherever the help is needed spiritually, as well as physically or whatever it takes."