By Camm Ashford
The Chattanooga-Hamilton County NAACP recently honored Patricia Shackleford-Gray with its prestigious President’s Award.
The President’s Award is presented to an individual within the local NAACP branch who has been a pillar of the organization for their individual sacrifice and overall impact, and “who has given unselfishly of themselves to the community for community service.”
“I was shocked and excited,” Shackleford-Gray said of the award–presented by the national president and CEO of the NAACP, attorney Derrick Johnson–during the civil rights organization’s virtual 2021 Ruby Hurley Image Awards event.
A life member of the NAACP, Shackleford-Gray–affectionately called “Pat” by many and “Mama Pat” by others–is a pillar of the community in the city of Chattanooga. She is a woman who is held in high regards for her numerous behind-the-scenes selfless acts and for the generosity of her giving spirit, especially when working with youth.
Shackleford-Gray is a Silver Star and Life member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Pi Omega Chapter; former board member of Ivy Rose Foundation, Inc. and Make-A-Wish Foundation; board member of First Things First; Life member of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives; director at large for the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Chattanooga Chapter and a member of Covenant Keypers Marriage Ministry and the Scenic City Women’s Network.
Shackleford-Gray is a graduate and former executive board member of Leadership Chattanooga and an administrator for Sounds of Unity Mass Choir and Unity Performing Arts Foundation of Chattanooga. She is also the owner of Elite Events and Travel.
Additionally, Shackleford-Gray is a veteran with the Chattanooga Police Department, and was awarded Employee of the Year for Community Service and Chief’s Service Award. She currently serves as Police Information Center manager, the first African American female manager to head up this division.
Shackleford-Gray graduated from Brainerd High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Aside from her love of learning and traveling, Shackleford-Gray values the time she has with family. She is a member of the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, where she serves on the Choir, Women and Youth Ministries. She not only contributes to her own church choir, but also sings with the Third Generation Gospel Singers of Chattanooga and other choirs throughout the area.
“I would describe the life I aim to live as thriving so that I may help others flourish, knowing it’ll help in building up families, who build up communities, and ultimately this contributes in building up our city, my native hometown of Chattanooga,” Shackleford-Gray explained.