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,
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
MLK STUDENTS OF THE YEAR (SSISD)
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
MLK STUDENTS OF THE YEAR (Texas A&M-Commerce)
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
MLK HALL OF FAME
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,