By SHERRY DIGMON
News Staff Writer
Each year, Rosa Parks’ legacy as the Mother of the Civil Rights Movement is honored with a prayer breakfast on a date near her birth date. This year, Lillie Johnson and her group will host the 13th annual event Saturday, February 2, 9 a.m., in the Greater Mount Triumph Missionary Baptist Church fellowship hall. Everyone age 15 and older is invited to attend this free event.
This year’s guest speaker is Bea Forniss. No stranger to Atmore, Forniss has visited here a number of times and was the mistress of ceremonies at last year’s breakfast.
Currently a resident of Montgomery, Forniss is a native of Mobile. She graduated in 1968 from Blount High School in Prichard and attended Mobile State Junior College (now Bishop State Community College) before transferring to Alabama State University (ASU). She graduated from ASU in 1972, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Library Science, completing her Master’s Degree in Counseling from ASU in 1974.
Forniss taught public school for several years and also served as a school counselor in the Lowndes County and Montgomery public school systems before leaving to work with the State of Alabama at the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs as the Special Projects Director and later as the Division Chief of the Community and Economic Development Division.
Forniss is now employed with Goodwyn, Mills & Cawood, Inc., as a client liaison.
She is a member of several professional and community organizations. Some of these include Alabama State Employees Association, Civil Justice Foundation, the Volunteer and Information Board, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Leadership Montgomery, Alabama State University’s Foundation, and the Montgomery Area United Way Board of Directors, just to name a few. She has won recognition with Economic Development components for the State of Alabama and has received numerous awards.
Forniss spends the majority of her free time serving her alma mater as the immediate past president of the Alabama State University National Alumni Association. However, she still finds time to volunteer within her community for which she has received numerous awards. Some of which include the Bishop Barron State Employee Public Service Award; the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Legacy Community Service Award; the Outstanding Women Award, Montgomery Advertiser Journal; the Commerce Young Woman Leadership Award; the 2013
Tullibody Award; and the 2013 University of West Alabama Center for Business and Economic Services Director’s Award.
She is a member of First Congregational Christian Church, where she serves as church moderator, choir member, and president of the Women’s Fellowship.
Forniss is married to retired Warden Leon Forniss and has two daughters: Dana F. Holmes and Taryn V. Francis; and three grandchildren: Nathan, Nadia, and Taylor.