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Christian Values, Spirit-Filled Living, Social Justice Emphasized in MLK Awards Ceremony

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A praise dance presented by Zhakari Jackson and Spirit-filled music presented by the choir filled the emotional and spiritual cup of those attending the 26th Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards Ceremony at Morning Chapel Missionary Baptist Church Monday night. The event saw over 100 individuals honored for their contributions and commitment to the life of Hopkins County.

Ray Keck III, President and CEO of Texas A & M University Commerce served as Master of Ceremony for the celebration of King’s life, achievements, and inspiration and motivation given to the lives of others.

Guest speaker for the evening, Dr. Kenneth “Rock” Clinton, retired Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice at Texas A & M Commerce encourage communication as he spoke of the civil rights journey of Dr. King and the lessons that can be learned from that journey. He remembered with emotion the woman that cared for him and his brother and the day in her house she introduced him to Dr. King using a picture of King that was kept at her bedside. In the study of the notes of Dr. King, Clinton stated that the work King did was not done in the time of the first choice or the second choice but was performed in the time of the only choice. He stated that King learned from the mistakes of his early attempts in promoting civil rights. He noted that the non-violent demonstration in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963 was the turning point for the civil rights movement. He stated that the march on Washington D. C., which involved a number of civil rights groups attracted politicians to the movement and the struggle. Dr. King’s time in Chicago also awakened King to the fact that segregation was not only a problem in the south but in every corner of the nation. In his focus on poverty, Dr. King also spoke out against the war in Vietnam. In a moment of humor, Dr. Clinton pointed to the fact that many of Dr. King’s friends thought he wasn’t called to preach but was only looking for something that would keep him away from the cotton patch.

Students from Douglas Intermediate School, Olyvia Palacios, Kinslei Smallwood, Caroline Coker, and Charles Lee, read essays they had written on Dr. King’s life. The students were supported by their teacher Silvesta Alexander.

Businessmen and those in government spoke as well. Local banks were represented by their leadership—Tom Sellers, Mick Trusty, and Brandon Williams. County Judge Robert Newsom, Justice of the Peace Brad Cummings, and Commissioner Wade Bartley participated in the evening with prayer, scripture, and greetings.

Dr. LaVelle Hendricks, Pastor of East Caney Baptist Church and organizer of the first MLK Awards event, spoke of that event before presenting the various awards. Dr. Hendricks stated before a full worship center that in the first awards event there were only nine present. He reviewed the growth of the event and the purpose of the event in its encouragement of seeking social justice and Christ-like righteousness in life.

Those receiving awards include:

Spiritual                                                          Fergus Jacobs

Freedom Award                                               Bo Jackson

Spirit of Loyalty                                              Debra Berry

Spirit of Dependability                                  Terry Wright and Tommy Long

Social Change                                                 Demetria Robinson

Mother of the Year                                         Joann  Kelly-Hunter

Father of the Year                                           Clyde DeBase

Legacy of King                                               Lewis C. Hawkins

Spirit of Service                                             Yvonne Thornton

Spirit of Fellowship                                       Representative David Flynn


King’s Kids                                           Tammy Wright, Tiffany Spigner and Linda Johnson


Choice of Excellence: Clarine Moore  


Youth of the Year                                           Destiny Godbolt

Family of the Year                                         Kerry Roy

Music                                                              Andrea Franklin

Church of the Year                                         Olive Branch


Political Award:  Wade Bartley


Encouragement                                               Doris DeBase

Evangelism Award                                         Marcie Porter


Faithfulness: Jason Cunningham


MLK Media                                                    Dollie  Kelly

Commitment Award                                       Mynder L. Nash

Employer of The Year                                    Rodney Reese

Employees of the Year:                                  Debbie Jenkins, Jennifer Scroggins, Barbara Brown

Law Enforcement                                           John L. Robinson, Tarvaris Abron, Jay Sanders,

Lewis Tatum


Spirit of Dedication                                            Dewayne Harris

Pastor of the Year                                           De’Lante Jackson


achievement award: Louise Lee


Fraternity of the Year                                     Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

Sorority of the Year                                       Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

MLK Man of the Year                                    Broderick Godbolt               

MLK Women of the Year                              Gyeula Watson, Mary U.  Ross,      and Willie Mae Harris



D.J. Godbolt, Daieyshia Pruit, Kiyonna  Redmond, D’Idrec Dugan, Shertta Hill, Imani Taylor,
Lawrence Worth, Vontese Johnson, Zakya Ivery, Allen Hall, Jr., Danielle Petty,  SaDavia Porter



Damian Allen, Brandon Bussey, Caleb Farris, Bruce McCoy, Nathan Philips, Robyn Carr,

Jasmine J. Minor and Monique Burkley


MLK TEACHERS OF THE YEAR                                                                                                    

Maci Newsome, Lisa Wilborn, Demetra Robinson, Mynder L. Kelly, Regina D. Vaughn, Cameron Warren, Greg Owen, Jeff Chapman, And Tony Henry


J.D. Franklin, Tommy Clayton, Billy Edwards, Gloria Franklin, Glenda  Brown, Chuck King

Dewayne McMeans and Callie J. Young


MLK Circle of Success

Nicole Johnson, Keiston Alexander,  Tyrone Ivery, Meioshi Nash, Ashanta Alexander, Jarred Jackson, Clevon Alexander, Tammy Alexander, Elvria Dial, Marlon Alexander, LaTosha Ivery, Vanessa Abron, Betty Thompson,

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Author: Staff Reporter

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