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The DAPS Awards (Distinguished African American Professional and Student) is a formal/black tie event held each year in different cities throughout East Tennessee.

AHERN DAPS Awards recognized Distinguished African American Pastors, Professionals, Teachers, Students and Ministries of the month from a list of candidates submitted each month by individuals, AHERN Board of Directors or AHERN Magazine Staff.

AHERN DAPS Awards is a plated banquet that includes a keynote speaker, a feature soloist and award presentations at a cost of TBA per person.

The pastor, professional and teacher of the month must have served in their professional at least 3 years.

Student of the month must be a high school senior, college freshman or sophomore.

Each candidates is selected on a 5 point grade scale in each category below:

  • Community Involvement
  • Church Involvement
  • School Involvement
  • Organization Affiliations
  • Academic Achievement

Make sure their biography includes as much info from the above criteria.

Submit info to

AHERN Holds 11th Annual DAPS Awards: "Living In Your Dream"

Nov. 17, 2019 | Tammi Hayes-McGowan, AHERN Reporter

Johnson City, TN- Ahern Incorporated, celebrated its 11th Annual Dap Awards and Banquet, on Saturday November 2nd, 2019, in Johnson City, TN. The packed room was a buzz with laughter, hugs and conversations among the guests and honorees, who traveled from Lenoir City, TN to Pennington, VA. The special occasion was more than an awards ceremony, it was a time of reflection for old friends, as well as opportunity for new connections and relationships. 

The event began with a joyous greeting from Mrs. Vivian Releford, Vice President of DAPS Awards and Ahern Incorporated Board member. The deliverance of the heartfelt greeting embraced all those in attendance, and it was an awesome opening to the presentation of the Statement of Occasion and Introduction which was given by Reverend Dr. Harold A. Middlebrook, Sr., Chairman of the Board of Directors for Ahern Incorporated.

The attendees were Blessed in a serenade of songs throughout the evening by 4HIM, a gospel quartet that hails out of Southwest Virginia. Their smooth sounding voices created a divine ambiance to the evening. Reverend Pamela Hoard gave the invocation and Blessing of the food.

As dinner was ending, Reverend Cecil C. Mills, Jr, Senior Pastor of Friendship Baptist Church, Greeneville, TN and Vice President of Ahern Lecture Series, had the pleasure of introducing the Keynote Speaker of the evening Reverend Nicholas Jones, Associate Pastor, Riverview Missionary Baptist Church, Lenoir City, TN. Reverend Jones address was titled, “Your Dreams are Not to Big”, his sincere address  began with the acknowledgement “One must invest sweat equity even when failures come, because ‘Living in Your Dream’ is work and work is action”.

Reverend Jones laid out 3 points that we all must consider when working to attain our dream. First, ‘You know who your provider is, it takes hard work, dedication and perseverance in God to see your dreams through. Remember the words of Apostle Paul in Philippian 4:13, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ So when folks try to disqualify you, think on Jeremiah 29:11, ‘For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, syas the Lord, thoughts of peace and not evil, to give you a future and hope.’

The second point, “You have admitted your fumbles don’t define you, but develop you in the person of God. It is important to know that there will always be people who are waiting for you to fumble, and you must know for yourself that though I may fumble, God is still faithful. So please heed the words of 1 Peter 5:8, ‘Be Sober, be vigilant because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion’.

Reverend Jones summed it up with the third and final point, ‘You must accept that everybody with you is not for you’ in laymen's terms, ‘Haters can’t stop your dreams’. Though our dreams may seem as if they will ever manifest, God’s everlasting love will always stand so please do not let people steal your drive and desire to see things through. Romans 8:31, says ‘What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? The explosive declaration had the entire room on their feet.

The highlight of the evening was the presentation of awards and the inductees to the Hall of Legacy by Founder and President of Ahern Incorporated, Reverend H. Roger Mills Jr., everyone in attendance was blessed by the contributions from all of the awardees and inductees and were encouraged and inspired by the lives of those who gave selflessly to the rich African-American legacy that was birthed throughout Eastern Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia. The passion that Reverend Mills spoke with in regards to not letting our history be taken for granted and that we together must educate our younger generation on who they are and what sacrifices have been made for them long ago.

Ahern, Incorporated -
7845 Stagecoach Road | Whitesburg, TN 37891-9112
423-231-0179 |

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