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In a time when headlines are filled with negativity, especially about young African-American males, it's refreshing to hear about a recent Man of the Year award recipient.

In a time when headlines are filled with negativity, especially about young African-American males, it's refreshing to hear about a recent Man of the Year award recipient. Wentzville resident, Cortney L. Culton received the honor last month as part of the 155th Session of the Missouri Conference of African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. His Pastor, Beverly Stith of Grant Chapel AME Church in Wentzville, nominated Culton.

The award's official title is Black Christian Male of Excellence. About receiving the award, Culton said, "I am very pleased. I really respect my Pastor and it is both humbling and a thrill to be selected for this honor."

Pastor Stith said, "Cortney came back after graduating from college and was on fire! He is concerned about physical wholeness as well as spiritual wholeness. So, he started an exercise class for church members and the community right here at the church. He is also good steward of financial resources and is involved in our youth programs. Cortney always gives freely of his talents."

Talent is something he has an abundance of. Whether it's singing, dancing, or signing (Culton provided sign language interpretation of a song at the awards ceremony), Culton does it with passion. In fact, production is well underway for a play he wrote titled, The .50¢ Jewelry Line. The play is about a church's Alto section spending a Saturday morning in line for a jewelry bargain and how they respond to the numerous "characters" they encounter. The play will open November 13 at 7:00 p.m. at SunRise United Methodist Church in O'Fallon. Call (636) 357-5872 for tickets.

Culton graduated from Grambling State University last year. He earned a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences degree in Theatre with a Minor in Deaf Education.

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Sandra Whittaker

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