Award Winner Bios

Denman Evangelism Award
Malcolm Smith, Adult Layperson

Malcolm Smith is a member of the Canton Bend UMC near Camden, Al. where he serves as lay leader.  He is a powerful Bible teacher and leads a men’s Sunday School class. He has sponsored many pilgrims on the Walk to Emmaus. Malcolm participates in an inter-denominational ministry to the inmates at the Wilcox County. Jail. In that ministry, “he regularly & faithfully reaches, teaches and encourages these men & women to come to Jesus for salvation & discipleship & to continue with their faith in Jesus” when they are discharged. Malcolm takes every opportunity to share his faith with others, including at his workplace. He has been a leader in sponsoring inter-denominational outreach events in Camden featuring prominent Christian athletes. Several people made commitments to Christ through these events.  He has also started a man’s prayer group in Camden that draws men from several churches with the agenda of praying for their community. His pastor says of him “Malcolm Smith is an amazing man and a tremendous leader with a heart for sharing the love of Jesus Christ with others.

Rev. Andres Doimeadios, Clergy

Rev. Andres Doimeadios has pastored the Casa de Dios U.M.C in Pensacola since 2011. He also started two new communities of faith in Mary Esther and Fort Walton Beach, Fl. as well. In the last 5 ½ years 90 people have made professions of faith in the name of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, Pastor Andres through his ministry has mentored two emerging leaders who are now pastoring their own communities of faith in Wetumka and Jackson, AL.

Pastor Andres grew up in a poor family in Cuba. Witchcraft, spiritualist meetings, séances, and adoration of false idols were common in his community. On January 25, 1986 he surrendered his life to Jesus Christ, the first person to profess Christ in his home town! He was discipled and trained for ministry in the Methodist Church of Cuba. In fact, it was under the ministry of Pasto Ricardo Diaz that Andres became a believer, and it was Bishop Ricardo Diaz who ordained Andres an elder in 2006!

Pastor Andres’ ministry demonstrates the Gospel through ministry to the poor and homeless, providing English as a second language GED, and citizenship classes. Indeed, Pastor Andres lives and breathes a Christ centered life and ministry. 

Brett Herndon,Youth

Brett Herndon is a member of the Chickasaw U.M.C. He recently graduated from Saraland High School. He will be attending the University of Southern Mississippi this Fall to pursue a degree in sports marketing. After college, Brett plans to become an infantry officer in the U. S. Army.

Brett’s excellence in evangelism begins with his own personal relationship with Jesus. In short, Jesus shines through Brett!  A high school teacher remarked, “Brett definitely proclaims the good news by not only his words, but his actions as well. I constantly hear positive remarks that Brett’s peers make about how generous, loving and kind he is. They know there is something different about him, which paves the way for sharing the gospel.”

Brett is not afraid to share the gospel with others.  His love for people often opens the door for him to verbally share the good news of Jesus. His pastor said of him, “I have been impressed how quick he is to strike up a conversation about one’s faith or that a person needs a relationship with God.” In doing so, he has helped others to place their faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord.

God has used Brett as a leader in both his church and school. His pastor again says, “I appreciate the Great Commission influence that Brett exerts in our church. Brett does the work of evangelism as well as discipleship in our church.” One example was when Brett formed a small group for guys in his youth group and led them toward becoming disciples.

Brett Herndon serves as an excellent representative of Christ and the United Methodist Church!

Francis Asbury Award
Dr. Jimmy Jeffcoat, Huntingdon College

Dr. Jimmy Jeffcoat is a Professor of Religion at Huntingdon College.  He served on the Huntingdon faculty as chaplain from 1994 to 1998, then returned as a member of the faculty in the Department of Religion in 2006 after working for 8 years as a Christian educator and supervisor of youth ministries at First United Methodist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a church of 8800 members. Dr. Jeffcoat has been involved in youth ministries for more than 40 years, and has worked as a youth minister in Oklahoma, New Jersey, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Alabama. He is an Ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church, and has been a Wesley Foundation director, a college chaplain, and both associate and senior pastor in the Alabama/West Florida Conference. His academic interests include Wesleyan studies, church history, youth ministry, with a focus on moral and spiritual formation, and Christianity as it relates to culture. He loves all sports and is a full-time supporter of Huntingdon sports teams which gives him an opportunity to engage students both in the classroom and on the field/courts.  Jimmy is known as a friend and mentor to many Huntingdon students and graduates.

Jimmy has had a passion for higher education.  He received his B.A. from the University of Alabama, received two degrees (a Masters of Divinity and a Masters in Arts and Religion in Old Testament Studies and a Ph. D as well as a Masters in Philosophy/Church History from Drew University.  Jimmy is a scholar and pours his love of Scripture and Church History into his students.  But he is also a super extrovert and enjoys impacting students and their spiritual and social development as young adults.  Mentoring is his middle name, making “Dr. J.” a household word on the Huntingdon campus.

Alice Lee Award
Daphne Johnston, Montgomery FUMC     

Daphne Johnston is the embodiment of the Alice Lee Award. She is an outstanding, influential female leader in our conference and an all-around incredible person. She is changing the face of caregiving and Alzheimer's care in Montgomery and throughout the state of Alabama.

Daphne has a wealth of experience and expertise in the area of memory care.  After managing an Alzheimer's unit in West Point, GA for a number of years, she went on to serve as Executive Director of a large retirement community.  She channels all ofthis experience and a whole lot of heart into the program she has developed and runs at First United Methodist Church in Montgomery, Alabama   This program is a church and community effort, run with the help of volunteers from First United Methodist and at least five other churches and faith communities in the area. The program boasts over 110 dementia-trained  volunteers from all over the Montgomery area and beyond. It is life-affirming for the over 200 participants it has blessed in its four years of operation and life-giving for their caregivers, not to mention the faithful volunteers.

The hugely successful Respite Ministry at First United Methodist Church has birthed new programs throughout the state of Alabama, one of them about to launch at our church here in Auburn, AL. Daphne has been instrumental in helping us and other churches to duplicate the program in Montgomery because it is such a life-changing ministry for all involved. This program gives those living with memory loss physical, mental and social interaction that they would otherwise not receive. Studies show that this kind of stimulation may help to slow the progression of the disease. The support, encouragement and love given to caregivers through this ministry cannot be discounted. Daphne is helping individuals and their family members to find purpose, dignity and support as they navigate the road of memory-loss.

Daphne promotes the cause of women in our conference by enabling other women to duplicate her efforts in their own church-settings. She knows the impact this Respite Program has on individuals, their caregivers and the community and she will not stop until it has transformed our state. I am amazed daily at her compassion, strength and courage in seeing her vision become a reality and sharing that vision with others.

She is an unstoppable force in our conference, state, and beyond. What she has done with the Respite Ministry at First United Methodist in Montgomery is more than reason enough to give  her this award.  But she will not be content until every community in our state has a program like the one there because she knows how lives are changed by this incredible program.  Her volunteers, participants, and caregivers will tell you that they are forever-changed for the better because of her vision, energy and enthusiasm  for an often forgotten, neglected , growing population in our country.

Susannah Wesley Award of Excellence, presented by the AWF United Methodist Men
Helen Meigs Edwards, Church Street UMC

It is difficult to begin with qualifications of Helen Edwards; she has helped so many people in the Alabama-West Florida Conference, and the Southeastern Jurisdiction. 

Helen is the first female to head up the Lay Servant (Speaking) ministries in our conference. She was also the Southeast Jurisdiction President of Lay Servant Ministries. Our conference’s Lay Servant Ministries is one of the strongest in the United Methodist connection due to her dedicated service and commitment. Throughout the process she has empowered many others with her leadership. Over half of our district lay servant coordinators are female. Most importantly she has played an important role in increasing the number of Hispanics involved in lay servant ministries. You would be impressed to see the number of Hispanics who attend the annual lay servant meeting at Blue Lake.

She continues to provide strong leadership on our conference Episcopacy Committee and she served on the Conference CORE team for eight years. She always leads by example so people of every race and gender do not hesitate to follow her lead. Her leadership is persuasive and strong without being overbearing. She’s not egotistical; she’s just doing her job to glorify her Lord.  Helen Edwards is a bright example of one who is making a difference in the world in which she lives.

Helen Edwards embodies John Wesley’s Theology; Faith, Grace and Works! She has used her gifts of love, wisdom, drive, intelligence, determination and passion to serve the church, her family, brothers and sisters in Christ and well as numerous communities. Helen Edwards has always said that you cannot make things better if you are not willing to be a part of the solution. 

Helen and Earl Edwards were married in 1962 and are still married (they will celebrate 55 years on June 7th). That in itself is a testimony of faith and commitment for all. They are proud parents to two children, Derrick (Susan) and Misty (Jimbo) and grandparents to Payton and Caroline Meigs. But, in 1965 she and Earl lost twin daughters due to a birth defect (something that a Fetal Heart monitor would have picked up had there been one at the hospital in Selma at the time). Due to the great loss, Helen and Earl began volunteering with the March of Dimes immediately and almost within a year to the date; there was a Fetal Heart Monitor in the hospital! That is works, for those without a voice.

Helen knew then God was calling her. It was just the beginning of a journey that would lead her down a road for 32 years of first volunteering and then to part-time, finally to a career as the Executive Director of the March of Dimes, in the West Central Chapter and Special Events Coordinator for numerous states. Helen’s incredible job with the March of Dimes; helped these beautiful babies, children and parents.

Not only in work but also in faith she has served. She has been a very active member at Church Street in Selma, Alabama. Helen served on just about every church committee over a number of years. Some of those she served were: Vice Chair and Chair of the Council on Ministries, member and officer of the UMW, and member of the Administrative Board to name a few. But then Helen decided to break the glass ceiling in Selma, at Church Street UMC in the late Nineties. She became the first ever female Chairperson of the Administrative Board from 1999-2001. 

As she continued to work full time, raise her family with Earl, serve in the church, she still knew that God was calling her to do something else on her journey. After she retired from The March of Dimes in 1998, she received a proclamation from the Governor and the day was deemed Helen Edwards’ Day in the city of Selma to recognize all the incredible, selfless work that she had done for others throughout all the years.

After a brief moment of retirement, Helen knew she was ready to work again but in a different way… this time it was in the conference. And when Helen starts to work; Helen goes to TOWN. 

Over the last 17 years our conference has seen Helen Edwards’ hands, feet, heart, soul, strength, mind, body, grace, faith, work, and LOVE in Conference Trustees, Council on Ministries, now the CORE TEAM; on the District and Conference levels, the Episcopacy Committee; on the District and Conference levels. Helen has been involved with the Lay Speaking (Now Lay Servants Ministries) as a speaker and now she is our past Alabama-West Florida Conference Director of Lay Servant Ministries and she served as the Southeastern Jurisdictional President of Lay Servants Ministries for the past eight years. She continues to serve on the Conference Episcopacy Committee and the Conference Lay Servants board.