Madison Awards

On March 9, during the inaugural State of the City Address, Mayor Fred Perriman and the City of Madison recognized a family and three individuals who, through sacrifice, benevolence and love made a difference in our community and the world bestowing upon them The Madison Awards. Selected from a bountiful pool of citizens, the awardees have shown through selfless acts the undeniable ability to change lives through thoughtful works. These recipients didn’t live their lives to get noticed by a thankful city. Instead, they saw problems and offered solutions through hard work, innovation and caring. 

These people understand service better than we can explain and teach us the lesson through example. These people have changed lives, all for the better.

Mayor Perriman and Willie James Benford

The Benford Family

When we think of service, the highest level of service is service through sacrifice. Some sacrifice everything, up to, and including, their health and, quite literally, their life. That is the sacrifice that the men and women of our armed forces, our veterans, made for each and every one of us. 

We have a very special family in Madison, the Benford Family, who knows all too well what sacrifice means. They are a family of veterans who answered the call when our country needed them.  We honor a Vietnam veteran and a family-support system who, through sacrifice, sent their sons to war. A family who waited in apprehension and constant fear while their father, uncle and cousins served us far from Madison.

We acknowledge the sacrifice of a family who spent countless sleepless nights worrying what was on the other end of a phone call or on the other side of a knock on the door. Because of their dedication, most of us will never know the anguish a military family endures. The soldiers, the mothers, the fathers and children are all heroes, every one of them. They have earned the honor and respect of a grateful nation and in turn a grateful city.

The city of Madison would like to acknowledge and say thank you, Benford Family, especially Willie James Benford, for your years of unselfish and dedicated public service. Your story, and example, is a lesson for all.

Willie James Benford


View the video testimonials for 
Willie James Benford.

Mayor Perriman and Kathryn Cardwell

Kathryn Cardwell

When the Morgan County Charter School System realized it was more than $1 million short on a $35 million school project, hard choices were contemplated including deleting construction of an auditorium. Knowing that would deprive students of the intellectual importance of the arts and the sense of social responsibility and communication that comes from the magic of performance. 

Morgan County Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Woodard called Kathryn Cardwell.Kathryn led the charge to raise the money to save the auditorium. She did so with fortitude and persistence. There was never a thought that the project would not be completed.  The auditorium has become a showplace for the new school. Children’s lives were changed.

The Madison-Morgan Boys & Girls Club serves more than 100 children a day in a former agricultural education building at the back of the Pearl-Burney School. The building leaks, it’s cramped, cold in the winter and hot in the summer. There was a need, but not space, to serve more than 200 kids.

To build this space was going to cost more than $3 million. The Boys & Girls Club called Kathryn Cardwell, too. She and her committee raised more than $2 million to get the project going. Ground was broken a few weeks ago and deserving children of Madison and Morgan County are going to be given a chance.

Kathryn’s thoughtful consideration of others and her generosity of spirit through loving kindness and gritty determination has made a mark on this community. It can be found in the smile on our children’s faces.

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View the video testimonials for 
Katheryn Cardwell.

Mayor Perriman and Kathryn Cardwell

Sherry Terrell

Sherry grew up on Mapp Street in the 1970s in a house with her father R.L. and mother Hazel. They kept the house filled with love and purpose. Sherry observed her parent’s servant hearts. When the Terrell kids were riding with Hazel to Piggly Wiggly or Fred’s Great Value and saw someone walking to the store, Hazel stopped and picked them up. That was normal. if someone needed a job, R.L. found a way to put that man to work.

The Terrell household was the gathering spot of the neighborhood and Hazel was a constant volunteer presence at Morgan County Middle School. Sherry saw her father leave each day for work and then give of himself to his church on Sunday. Her family made her who she is and who she is not.

She has her parent’s servant’s heart and her father’s entrepreneurial fearlessness. The Terrell family has never met a problem it could not beat back with love and conviction. When people in Madison were desperate for food to sustain them at the beginning of a devastating pandemic, Sherry found a way. She continues to find a way. The family would wait until R.L. came home before saying the blessing and before eating. Sherry knows that food security is the first step in a family’s stability and health.

So, she gives. She inspires. She shows the rest of us what we can aspire to become, the better version of ourselves. And, she does so with no expectation of riches or reward. She does so with a fearless intent that defies the odds. Where others saw a problem, Sherry Terrell saw an opportunity.

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View the video testimonials for 
Sherry Terrell.

Mayor Perriman and Jenny Cofield

Jenny Cofield

On the wall behind Jenny Cofield’s desk at Morgan County High School, is a quote by Tupac Shakur. It reads: “I’m not saying I’m gonna rule the world or I’m gonna change the world, but I guarantee you that I will spark the brain that will change the world. And that’s our job, it’s to spark somebody else watching us.”

When Jenny Cofield saw children who were unsure and afraid, who felt unwelcome, she welcomed them. She brought a group of first-generation Americans together in a special class period and showed them the best part of being an American citizen. 

Aiding Hispanic parents to read to their children. Jenny Cofield and her class wrote, illustrated, and published a children’s book, Bobo’s Lost and Found Adventure  - one page in Spanish and the opposite page in the English translation. Jenny and her students also began producing a monthly two-page section in the Morgan County Citizen; one page in Spanish and the next translated to English.

When her students said they didn’t understand how democracy, how government functioned in America, Jenny brought the class to Madison’s City Council meeting room and were given a primer by our local city officials.

At every turn, people in Madison and Morgan County said yes. At every turn, just like Tupac said, somebody was watching. Jenny Cofield is that spark.

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View the video testimonials for 
Jenny Cofield.