2022 Eclipse Award Recipients
Rebecca Gilmore Coleman sparked James Madison’s Montpelier’s deep engagement with Orange’s African American community in 1999 when she approached leadership at the historic site about commemorating Montpelier’s cemetery of the enslaved. This led to her and fellow community activist Carolyn French founding OCAAHS in 2000. She served as OCAAHS president and board member for many years. Mrs. Coleman was also instrumental to the restoration of her great grandfather’s Gilmore Farm across the road from Montpelier. Born and raised in Orange County, Mrs. Coleman is a lifelong member of Little Zion Baptist Church, NAACP, OCAAHS (now Board Member Emerita) and co-founder of the Women’s Diversity Forum. She is retired from AT&T.
Jane Ware Johnson was born and raised in Orange County. A good way to describe her is by how she answers this question “Who is my neighbor?” “My neighbor is anyone I see who stands in need.”
Mrs. Johnson has a heart of gold, she will clean for you, cook for you, pick up medication and groceries. If you are ill and need transportation to doctor or hospital, she has even paid for medication if needed. In case of bereavement she provides comfort by staying with an individual/family and if no transportation is available, transport whomever to wherever.
Flossie Jones, born and raised in Orange County, is a life-long humanitarian. She began her journey through working with the Church Missionary Auxiliary. Her love of giving and serving spread beyond her church family to her neighborhood, community and beyond.
Mrs. Jones resides in a Senior Citizens Complex and aids residents by transporting them to doctors’ appointments, grocery shopping and prescription pickups. As a member of the B. G Battle Chorus, she travels to the sick and shut-ins and nursing homes to sooth them with her melodious voice.
Jeff Poole recently retired as Managing Editor of the weekly Orange County Review. With an incredible work ethic, great passion and wide-ranging journalistic skills, he showed up everywhere to make sure citizens were informed about their multifaceted community.
His quiet demeanor and consistent presence at various events allowed us to see how committed he was to helping us be part of a cohesive and unified community. In spite of his busy schedule, Mr. Poole found time to serve on various boards, including the Arts Center of Orange and the Orange County Chamber of Commerce. He also served as Town Manager of Gordonsville, Virginia. The Orange Rotary Club named him its Citizen of the Year in 2015.
2022 Youth Eclipse Award Recipients
Donea Brooks is a 2017 graduate of Orange County High School. After graduating with a marketing degree from Virginia State University in 2021, she is now a Communications teacher at OCHS and an entrepreneur with a marketing consulting business. She has held leadership positions in the Orange County Youth Branch of the NAACP. In college, she served as president of Virginia State’s NAACP Collegiate Chapter.
Her volunteer activities include collecting food for the local food pantry, raising money for scholarships for low-income students and assisting needy families financially at Christmas. She serves as a Youth Ambassador with Just Orange, a civic action group dedicated to empowering Orange youth to engage with state and local government leaders and learn how to influence public policy.
Anthony J. Owens is a Junior at Orange County High School. He is a member of the Tennis team, Student Council Association, the DECA District 18 President and winner of OCAAHS Logo Contest (see related article). He is also a member of the African American Club and Orange County Youth Branch of the NAACP. Anthony plans to go to college and major in Landscape Architecture.
He is a born salesman and negotiates everything with parents, siblings and teachers. Using these skills and knowledge of sales, he won first place in Selling his freshman year at the DECA District competition. He placed top 10 at the Virginia DECA competition. Anthony works part time as lifeguard and salesman for high fashion hat company Sequoia Springs.