Wilson honored as state leader on International Women’s Day

Curt’s Closet Founder and Director Ashley Wilson was named one of the 25 Women Who Shape the State on Wednesday, March 8, 2023, at a luncheon in Homewood. (Amy Leonard for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman’s Ashley Wilson, founder and director of Curt’s Closet, was honored as one of This is Alabama’s 25 Women Who Shape the State at an awards ceremony and luncheon at The Club in Homewood on Wednesday, March 8, International Women’s Day. In its 10th year, the award is given to women throughout the state who influence positive changes in their communities in big ways.

The ever-humble Wilson was shocked to have even been nominated for the award as she still has difficulty recognizing the reach and impact of her compassion and love manifested in her work with Curt’s Closet.

“I still have no idea who even nominated me for the award,” said Wilson at the luncheon. “To have been nominated and then honored as one of the 25 Women Who Shape the State feels so strange almost. We’re just trying to do our best for the children and people in our community so being honored at a state level is just awesome.”

The luncheon, celebrating the 2023 honorees, featured keynote speaker Eries L.G. Mentzer, director, Air Commando Development – HQ Air Force Special Operations Command, who was the first Black woman commander of Maxwell Air Force Base. At Maxwell, Mentzer led all base operations, infrastructure and support services for over 42,000 personnel.

Romay Catherine Johnson Davis, 103, was awarded the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award for over 100 years of paving the way for women in Alabama, the country and all over the world. The Montgomery woman was a member of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion (nicknamed the Six Triple Eight) during World War II. The unit was the only all-female, predominantly Black unit to serve overseas in WWII. Davis was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2022 for her service during the war.

On the day following the luncheon, the Cullman City Schools Foundation announced that Wilson is the winner of the 2023 Distinguished Service Award which will be presented Thursday, April 6, at Cullman High School’s Tillman Auditorium. Tickets can be purchased at https://sites.google.com/view/cullmancityschoolsfoundation/distinguished-alumni.

While Wilson is appreciative of her many recognitions, the awards and fuss made over her are bittersweet. Curt’s Closet was born out of unimaginable tragedy after she lost her precious 15-year-old son Curt in a drunk driving crash. Curt Wilson was the passenger in his mom’s vehicle when they were hit head on by a drunk driver on May 7, 2017. While Wilson’s heart of service is beloved in Cullman County and now known throughout the state, she would trade it all for just one more blessed moment with her boy. As Wilson continues to keep Curt’s legacy alive, may we all remember in prayer the mother who still aches for her baby.

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