PALMETTO -- Upon meeting the totally devoted and devout Deaconess Mary Tillis of The House of God Church, one could never imagine she is capable of trickery.
But yet, every year, she finds a way to entice unwitting members of the community to the church where her husband, Elder Theodore Tillis, is pastor, and bestow honors upon them that they never expected to get.
The House of God will honor a new handful of people during its 11th annual Community Honors Day at 3 p.m. Sunday in the church, 123 17th St. E.
“I am awed how Mrs. Tillis tricked me last year,” said Anderson Carnegie, 62, who was honored in 2010 for his years of service to his community as a member of the Manatee County Community Action Team, which assisted with voter registration and community cleanup projects.
“I thought I was going to the church that day to see our son, Chad Carnegie, get recognition for his time as a Palmetto Police Department officer,” Carnegie said. “Mrs. Tillis never mentioned a word that it was going to be my day to be honored.”
Carnegie’s wife, Carolyn, was also honored during last year’s event and was taken by surprise.
She was reading her Bible in the church and looked up to see the entire congregation looking at her.
“I never knew she was going to honor me,” said Carolyn Carnegie, who spent 29 years working for the U.S. Post Office, including eight years as a mail carrier on Manatee Avenue West in Bradenton, and still, to this day, helps people who have post office-related questions.
Both the Carnegies were pleased, however, at the deception leveled against them.
“It’s wonderful because most of the time you hear about the accomplishments of famous people, but Mrs. Tillis takes ordinary people and let’s us have our day,” Carolyn Carnegie said. “It’s a true honor to be selected.”
Mary Tillis said she got the idea for a Community Honors Program when she realized many good deeds were going unrecognized in Manatee.
“It’s just a way for the community to say thank you to good people who do things over their lifetime like grocery shopping for a neighbor or taking a needy person to the doctor,” Tillis said.
Bishop Raymond Trice, Chief Leader of True Deliverance Fellowship Inc., of Bradenton, will be the featured speaker at the event.
Trice will speak on the subject, “God’s Anointed Hands for Helping Others,” which is from Ecclesiastes 9:10, Tillis said.
“We will also feature the spiritual voices of the Trinity Christian Fellowship Center’s Choir, along with the lovely and anointed voices of soloists Elder Dovie Murray and Sister Vernetta Smith,” Tillis said.
The public is invited.
For more information, call 722-3681.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 748-0411, ext. 6686.