JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Dr. Ray Scales, former KAIT chief photographer and pastor of New Mt. Zion Baptist, is one of twelve recipients of a national award given by the Rhythm of Gospel Awards.
The award will be presented Sunday, July 26 in Birmingham, Alabama.
"It shocked me," Rev. Scales said. "Someone submitted my name for the award."
Rev. Scales has been recognized nationally before, as an employee of KAIT.
He and late news anchor Jack Hill won the Alfred I. Dupont Award for their work on a documentary called, "The Economics of Water."
Rev. Scales was the first black employee hired at the TV station.
His tenure spanned 22 years and took him from running camera in the studio to shooting film and videotape on location all over Northeast Arkansas.
In 1978, Rev. Scales was called to the ministry.
He served as pastor to First Baptist Church on Hazel Street in Walnut Ridge for 9 years.
Scales worked hard to see his first church, New Mt. Zion Baptist Church, to be built in north Jonesboro in 1989. He still leads the congregation today.
Rev. Scales juggled his job at KAIT and his work as minister for years, until his retirement from the TV station after more than 2 decades.
Recipients of the "Pastor of Excellence Award" are determined based upon compassion, leadership, community activism, youth development and bridge-building within the community.
Rev. Scales is credited with organizing the inaugural Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade.
He has seen support for the parade grow every year since.
The father of 4 children, Rev. Scales grew up in Tyronza.
He and his wife, Clarece, thought they might move as Rev. Scales was offered jobs in Little Rock and Atlanta.
But, they declined such offers to raise their family Jonesboro, preferring its safety and security.
Both are excited about the award to be presented in Birmingham.
However, the pair are also excited to look ahead to this fall and anticipating a trip to New York City and Madison Square Garden to watch their grandson, Kahron Ross, play basketball for Lehigh Mountain Hawks.
"These are exciting times," said Rev. Scales. "Praise the Lord, we can't wait!"
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