The Commerce Journal

January 8, 2013

African American Leadership Conference announces 2013 award winners

By Caleb Slinkard
The Commerce Journal

COMMERCE — The Hunt County African American Leadership Conference has announced recipients of their annual awards, which will be presented during the 2013 The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Awards Celebration on Jan. 20, 2013. The celebration will take place at Mt. Moriah Baptist Church, located at 202 Champion Lane in Commerce at 2:30 p.m.

“The award is given to those who demonstrate Dr. King’s legacy of raising public consciousness to social justices, securing progress on civil rights, and loving and serving humanity,” the release read. “These awards commemorate their voices on social issues, outstanding achievements, personal standard of spiritual excellence and community involvement. Like Dr. King, the award recipients seek justice and total equality for everyone.”



The 2013 award winners  

Spiritual Award– Wendell and Linda Edwards

Political Award– Willie Blow and Dr. John  Balloti, Jr.

Education–Dr. Chester Robinson

Medical– Dr. Tom Selvaggi

Spirit of Service– Emma Martin

Choice of Excellence– Helen Judkins

Faithfulness– Dorothy Godbolt

Business– Dixie Turman State Farm

Encouragement– James Porter

Spirit of Honor and Dignity– Harry and Reba Eisenhower

Kings Kids– Renee Roberts

First Responders— Gabe Wittkopf,  Joe Pretre

Law Enforcement– Neal Johnson and Jeff Hundley

Spirit of Commitment– Elaine Scott

Youth of the Year (Commerce ISD)– James “Mac”  Robinson, Rebekah Cooper, Buck Wilson,  John Naizer, Conalia Braxton,  

Spirit of Fellowship– Pastor Warren Dennis

Social Change– Dr. Kenneth L. “Rock” Clinton

Legacy of the King– Melva Hill

Pastor of the Year– Jeff Johnson

Art/Music– Debora Lytle

Church of the Year– First United Methodist Church of Commerce

Spirit of Dedication– Harry Turner

Family of the Year– The Cherry Family

Evangelism– Mary Turner

Employer of the Year– Chicken Express, Inc.

Visionary Award– Blake Cooper

Loyalty Award– Guaranty Bank

MLK Humanitarian Award– Commerce Care Recycling (Anne Mills)

MLK Media– Caleb Slinkard

MLK Man of the Year– Coach Sam Walker

MLK Woman of the Year– Etta Herring

MLK Citizen of the Year– Jalinna Jones

MLK People of the Year– Commerce ISD Counselors (Anna Knutson, Jerry Sturch, Cathy Beane, Harriet Williams, Belinda Miller)

MLK County Award– Alfreda Linson

Promise Land Award–  Russell Armstrong

Spirit of Valor– Ted Oats

Spirit of Dependability– Winfred Essex

MLK Volunteer Person of the Year– Janet Peek

MLK Scholars– Israel Hughes, Linda Farmer, O.J. Simmons, (Texas A&M–Commerce)  

MLK Achievement Award– Sandra Bell

MLK Employees of the Year– Rex Giddens, Rita Krodle

MLK Life Time Achievement Award–  Dr. Chuck Arize, Jerry Speight, Ila Gilstrap, Wesley Pierce, Ivory Moore, Dr. Myrna Gilstrap, Billy Reed



Recipients are encouraged to RSVP by calling 903-450-3951. Dr. Rick Balking, associate professor of counseling at Texas A&M Corpus Christi, will be the guest speaker. The event is free and open to the public. The event organizers encourage individuals to bring their family, friends and guests to the ceremony. Jason Cunningham, owner of Benson Brothers of Commerce, will be the master of ceremony.