Calera Walmart honors one of its own

Co-Manager Marlon Brown reads a Langston Hughes poem after accepting his recognition during a Black History Month presentation Feb. 23. (Reporter photo/Christine Boatwright)

By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer

CALERA – Gospel music rang out from near the Walmart jewelry counter as employees honored Black History Month with song and presentation Feb. 23.

Patricia Tagger, a Calera Walmart employee and the annual event’s organizer, decided to award to the store’s co-manager, Marlon Brown, for his dedication to his work, even after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1997.

“It’s all about a team, not one person,” Tagger said. “And we’re all celebrating.”

Brown began working at Walmart in 1992 and became assistant manager in 1997. After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, “he still gets out of bed every day with no excuses,” employee Sedric Warren said, calling Brown a “courageous leader.”

As Brown began his speech, the group of employees stomped and clapped in welcome.

“In this life, you can be a headlight or you can be a taillight,” he said. “I choose to be a headlight. We all have obstacles. When you deal with your mortality, you get your things in order. I started to think, ‘What kind of imprint have I left on people?'”

Felicia Lang, human resource executive, said the Walmart employees are a “family working together to achieve more.”

“It’s Black History Month, and we can look at the past at those behind us and ask what did they do to make a difference,” she said. “Our lives should be to make a difference for someone else.”

Tagger said she organizes the Black History program each year because of her family history.

“I look back on my life, on my great-grandmother, and I think about what they did to make a difference today,” Tagger said.

“I’m like him,” she said, referring to Brown. “I want to be a spotlight. I like to carry everyone else with me, and I don’t want to leave anyone behind.”