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One young man that has inspired me in college at Troy University and has had a strong impact on Tuscaloosa and the world is Jamon Smith. Smith is unique in his approach to ministry, journalism and community advocacy.

Jamon Smith has been a minister for more than 20 years with emphasis on evangelism, discipleship, youth ministry, deliverance and eschatology. He's also worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine writer, magazine managing editor, communications specialist in public relations and marketing, freelance writer, and journalism instructor in the past 22 years.

He is originally from Wilmington, Delaware, but spent his teenage years in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. He's live nearly his entire adult life in Alabama. He has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism with a minor in human services from Troy University.

Some of his many achievements include winning a shared Pulitzer Prize for breaking news at The Tuscaloosa News in 2012, a shared CASE District III Grand Award and Award of Excellence in 2019, first place for best in-depth news coverage in the 2015 Alabama Press Association Better Newspaper Contest, a shared first-place for group project reporting in the 2013 Associated Press Sports Editors Contest, first place in features news in the 2012 Alabama Associated Press Media Editors Association awards, Story of the Year for “Survivors Crawl from the Rubble” in the 2012 Alabama Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest, the 2008-2009 Alabama District 6 Media Award from the Veterans of Foreign Wars, The New York Times Co. Chairman’s Award in 2008, The New York Times Co. Award for Exceptional Performance in 2007, the 2006 Media Award for Writer of the Year by Turning Point and was added to the Troy University Hall School of Journalism Wall of Honor in 2009.

Jamon is one of the founding ministers of Followers of the Way Assembly Church, was the charter president of the Troy University chapter of the NAACP, has actively participated on numerous diversity committees, and served as a ministry, multicultural youth, at-risk youth and journalism mentor for decades.

He is married to the incomparable LaKeela Smith, and has been blessed with four children – three sons and one daughter.

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” – 1 Peter 2:9, NKJV, AND an oft-quoted quote by the late Rev. Thomas Linton, who owned Howard’s and Linton’s Barber and Beauty Shop on T.Y. Roger’s Jr. Avenue, was one of Tuscaloosa’s early leaders of the Civil Rights Movement and one of the last people to march with The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. before he was assassinated.

I had the pleasure of spending some time with Linton as a reporter, a customer in his barbershop and in some of his ministry engagements. At a Tuscaloosa Prayer Network meeting many years ago, Linton kept speaking 1 Peter 2:9. He said it’s what the LORD told him when he called him to be a pastor. His words left an indelible mark on my soul. May Brother Linton enjoy the glory of the LORD as his reward in Eternity as he surely fought the good fight, finished his race and kept the faith.

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