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Madison County Chairman Alan J. Dunstan (left) presents the 2015 Madison County Living Legends Community Service Award to area educator and volunteer Debra J. Pitts (right). Also participating in the presentation was board member Michael “Doc” Holliday (center).

Debra J. Pitts' long history of volunteerism and dedication to educating the youth of Madison County resulted in her being named recipient of the 2015 Madison County Living Legends Community Service Award, according to a press release.

Pitts was presented the award by Madison County Chairman Alan J. Dunstan at the Feb. 18 meeting of the Madison County Board. Dunstan lauded Pitts’ commitment to educating the youth of Madison County, serving 31 years with the Alton School District and eight years as principal of Civic Memorial High School.

“Debra Pitts has dedicated a lifetime to educating people and helping others by her association with civic organizations. Her accomplishments have been many and the most rewarding has been the difference she has made in people’s lives,” Dunstan said. “I and the Madison County Board are greatly honored to recognize her achievements by presenting her the 2015 Madison County Living Legends Community Service Award.”

In addition to her distinguished career in education, Pitts has served her community and Madison County in various capacities including: Edwardsville Parks and Recreation Chair, Illinois State University Associate Executive Committee, Edwardsville NAACP Branch Secretary, President Delta Kappa Gamma Alpha Eta Chapter, National Council of Negro Women Alton Chapter, Southwest Division of United Way-Charmaine Chapman Society and Chair of Southwest Illinois Division of United Way.

An Edwardsville resident, Pitts was born in Gary, Ind., and in 1971 moved to Edwardsville to attend Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. She is a member of Mt. Joy Missionary Baptist Church in Edwardsville, where she serves as Church Clerk and is on the Usher Board. She found time to be a Heartland Hospice Volunteer and, in recent years, was appointed to the Illinois High School Association Board of Directors. Pitts is recognized as a strong youth advocate who takes interest in her students’ academic, social and emotional development.

Pitts has received numerous honors and awards, including:

• YWCA Women of Distinction

• 100 Black Men of Alton, Honorary Chairperson

• INROADS Educator of the Year

• Lewis & Clark Community College Upward Bound Outstanding Contributor

• SIUE Recognition of Excellence in Teaching

• Federated Unity Club of Alton

• Elijah P. Lovejoy Human Rights Award

• Illinois State NAACP Conference Chair, Edwardsville Branch NAACP

• National Council of Negro Women Outstanding Contributor

• Bethalto Rock Solid Rock Award

• Illinois State Board of Education Those Who Excel Recognition

• Madison County Urban League Community Service Award

• Bethalto Rotary Paul Harris Fellow Award

• Peabody Leadership in Education Award