They came to simply say, “Thank you.”
On Sept. 29, people from the area gathered at Powerhouse of Deliverance in Hinesville to let Delores “Dee” Frasier know how much they appreciate her service to the community.
“Ms. Dee” or “Sister Dee,” as many affectionately call her, is known as the community usher. She is a fixture at Pleasant Grove African Methodist Episcopal Church, but does not hesitate to share her talents, gifts and abilities with other churches.
“The appreciation program on Sept. 29 was truly a blessing from heaven,” she said. “It is a blessing to know that I have so many friends and loved ones who really care about me and the work that I do as an usher.
“When I was a little girl, I became intrigued watching the ushers. I paid close attention to Clara Martin (now Roberts) and how she ushered the people into the church. I joined the church when I was 12 years old and told my mother (the late Jannie Frasier) I wanted to become an usher. Agnes Slater (the usher president at Pleasant Grove at that time) let me usher with them.”
She said that after she took sewing lessons from Verdell Hargrove Bryant and Mamie Stevens Clay in the ninth grade, she made their usher’s uniform for camp meeting. After graduation, she relocated to Philadelphia, but returned home in 1982 because her mother asked her to come home.
“In 1983, I joined the usher board and was chosen as usher president and was later elected as head usher. I served as head usher until I reached the age of 60,” she said.
Whenever there is a community event, you don’t have to ask Ms. Dee to come — she is there.
“People began calling me the community usher because they would see me at other churches helping out during a funeral,” she said. “A true usher goes where he/she is needed. I have a great group of ushers from different churches who don’t mind following me wherever or whenever we are needed.”
Those duties included being asked several years ago by the Rev. Hermon Scott, president of the Liberty County Emancipation Proclamation Committee, to be in charge of gathering ushers from various churches to serve at the Emancipation Proclamation program.
“My dad, the late Alvin Frasier Sr., taught me at an early age that whatever you do for God, let it be your best,” she said.
“You do not boast about your work — let the people praise you, not yourself. I live by those rules. What I do, I do it to the glory of God.
“I tell ushers that they must take their job very serious. We must always remember that we are the first person to be seen and the last to leave. We must greet people with a warm smile and a handshake. Your smile will be the key to anyone coming to your church.”
She said that at the appreciation program, Bishop Raymond Napper told her that he has been paying attention to her service as an usher and wanted to honor her.
“She is the general when she ushers,” Napper said.
“As Sister Leary Frasier sang ‘Use Me Lord,’ tears were in my eyes,” Frasier said.
“I am honored to be here with my cousin to know the kind of work she does as an usher and for the Lord,” presiding elder (retired) Henry Frasier said.
According to Pastor Richard Hayes of the New Day Community Outreach Church and president of the United Ministerial Alliance, “Sister Dee’s residue is still in my church, where she trained my usher.”
“Mere words cannot express my sincere appreciation and thanks for the love and kindness Bishop Napper, Dr. Napper, the Powerhouse of Deliverance Church Family, and my family and friends showed me during this appreciation,” Frasier said. “God has been mighty good to me as an usher. I thank him for my talent and the love that other people have shown me as an usher.”
Anderson is the author of “Dare to Soar” and “Lack of Knowledge.”