Personality: Alexander L. Taylor Jr.

Spotlight on Military Retirees Club fundraising chair

3/9/2023, 6 p.m.
In 2022, retired Army Col. Alexander L. Taylor Jr. committed himself to a different kind of military service. A trial ...

In 2022, retired Army Col. Alexander L. Taylor Jr. committed himself to a different kind of military service. A trial attorney, Mr. Taylor joined Richmond’s Military Retirees Club during its 50th anniversary celebration in June.

He says that hearing Charles H. Taylor, his uncle and the club’s last surviving charter member, speak to the assembled members prompted him to join the nonprofit organization. Since its inception, the MRC’s community work has included scholarships for teenagers, leadership awards for JROTC students, Thanksgiving meals for the homeless and more.

While serving as the MRC’s business manager, Mr. Taylor discovered the organization’s need for more funding. He offered the MRC ideas to help raise more money and volunteered to chair the MRC’s first ever Fundraising Gala. Members were receptive.

“It was my time to continue their legacy of service,” says Mr. Taylor, whose father, Alexander L. Taylor Sr., once was part of the MRC’s leadership.

Mr. Taylor says funds raised during this year’s April15 gala will go toward improvements to the MRC headquarters at 2220 Sledd St. The building, at least 50 years old, is in need of a more modern interior and exterior. Updated features would include new doors, new awnings, a new security system and cameras, improved insulation, renovated bathrooms, flooring and signage.

Mr. Taylor hopes to raise at least $200,000 over the next few years.

Funds raised also will ensure the continuation and expansion of the MRC’s programs.

The upkeep of the MRC building, the largest minority-owned building for a nonprofit organization in Richmond, according to Mr. Taylor, is important beyond its use to the club.

The Richmond Crusade for Voters, the Richmond NAACP, and Veterans of Foreign Wars all have used the building recently or in the past.

Want to go?

What: MRC’s Fundraising Gala

When: 4 to 9 p.m. April 15, 2023

Where: Military Retirees Club, 2220 Sledd St.,

Richmond, VA 23222

Details: Three-Star General Darrell Williams, who is the new president of Hampton University, is our honored guest speaker during our reception. Additionally, CBS 6’s newest anchor/reporter, Genienne Samuels will serve as our MC. We also expect a number of elected officials, CEOs, and other special guests on this very special occasion.

How to attend: Call (804)321-3188 to purchase tickets.

“Modernizing our building in this way enhances the quality of the environment, both inside and outside the building,” Mr. Taylor says. “And we could become a model for other buildings in the Richmond area.”

Besides his responsibilities for the Fundraising Gala, Mr. Taylor also will lead a new suicide prevention program at the MRC. He believes the MRC is uniquely positioned to provide assistance to veterans at risk or facing mental health challenges.

“The whole point of the club is to give them something to live for, give them a sense of purpose,” Mr. Taylor says. “Through community service, through social interaction, you have methods that keep us active.”

Mr. Taylor acknowledges that balancing his new roles with his legal career and other responsibilities can be challenging. However, he takes it all in stride, intent to do his part for his fellow service men and women while continuing his family’s MRC legacy.

“It’s tough, but I’m going to make it work,” Mr. Taylor says.

Meet a Military Retirees Club leader and this week’s Personality, Alexander L. Taylor Jr.:

Volunteer position: Chair, Military Retirees Club Fundraising Gala.

Occupation: Trial attorney, Alex Taylor Law.

Date and place of birth: Oct. 26 in Richmond.

Where I live now: Richmond.

Education: Bachelor’s degree, University of Virginia; juris docotorate, Richmond Law School; master’s, Army War College.

Family: First Lt. (Promotable) Alexander L. Taylor III, (Trae); Joseph G. Taylor.

The Military Retirees Club (MRC) is: A nonprofit organization consisting of retired military veterans who are still serving their community in the Richmond Metropolitan area. What many people do not know is that our club members have programs such as scholarships for teenagers, leadership awards for JROTC students, Toys for Tots, and a new Suicide Prevention Program that I also plan to help lead.

When and why founded: The MRC was founded in 1972 to maintain a sense of comradeship among military retirees, and the opportunity to strengthen bonds and relations with the community at large.

Founders: Leon Ellis and Joseph Steward.

The board president is: Lawrence Coclough; our president is Earl Reid.

My military service: I served both on active duty and in the Army Reserve in the Judge Advocate General Corp (Army Lawyers) and held several leadership positions including Commander, Military Judge and Staff Judge Advocate. I then led Huguenot High School’s JROTC program for three years.

How I became involved in the MRC: I made my decision to join in June of last year at our 50th Anniversary. I saw my uncle, First Sergeant (Ret) Charles H. Taylor, who at age 90 is the only surviving charter member of the club and who fought in the Korean and Vietnam wars and earned two Purple Hearts, speak eloquently and motivationally about the history of the club without one note. My father, Master Sergeant (Ret.) Alexander L. Taylor, Sr., had also been a successful leader with MRC. Now it was my time to continue their legacy of service. I am proudly wearing his MRC blazer in the photo for this article.

How other military retirees can get involved: They can visit our website at https://mrcclub.org to get more information and then call our office at (804) 321-3188.

How my involvement impacts the community and me: I lean on my faith and utilize my education, leadership skills, and my resourceful friends with similar attributes, to assist where I believe I can be most effective. For example, Richard Williams and I are two of the cofounders of the UVA Richmond Walter Ridley Cain Scholarship, that now has more than $2 million for African-American Students to attend UVA. Thus, Richard was the first person I thought of when I volunteered to lead MRC’s Fundraiser. I relish challenges and working with people like Richard and the men and women of MRC who are relentless in their commitment to our club and our community.

Number one goal or project as Fundraising Gala chair: Raise at least $200,000 over the next few years.

A perfect day for me is: Praying, working out, calling my mom en route to court (great pep talk), successfully representing someone in court or getting a personal injury case settled, going to office to prepare for court the next day while motivating my staff and interns, communicating with my sons just because I am still dad, and getting in bed at a reasonable hour so that I can start all over again the next day.

Something about me that people may not know: My next physical challenge is to ride my bike 100 miles in one day before my next birthday.

A quote that inspires me: “As you seek your way in the world, never fail to find a way to serve your community. Use your education and your success in life to help those still trapped in cycles of poverty and violence.” — Gen. Colin L. Powell

My friends describe me as: Tenacious.

At the top of my “to-do” list: Be the best father, boss, and leader I can be while still “finding a way to serve your community.”

Best late-night snack: Chocolate ice cream.

The best thing my parents ever taught me: My father taught me how to be both tenacious and confident, regardless of obstacles and the naysayers. My mother taught me a lot about faith and patience.

Book that influenced me the most and how: “Brother’s Keeper, Words of Inspiration for African American Men,” by Rod Terry. I was inspired the most by the quotes from men like Frederick Doug- lass, Dr. Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Booker T. Washington and Colin Powell. Their words are inspiring and thought-provoking.

Next goal: Help develop the next generation of leaders at my office and at other organizations such as Concerned Black Men of Richmond, a mentoring organization here in Richmond that I co-founded in 1986. I believe I can get some help from the members of MRC and my fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, to assist me with this goal.