Group gathers to honor spirit of MLK at Humanitarian event

The Palmetto Youth Center was filled to capacity Friday evening, for the kickoff of the MLK Jr. Celebration, the 16th Annual Humanitarian Awards Banquet.

Distinguished 2009 honorees—Marie Alvarez, Carol Chamberlain, Jeannette Kelly and the Honorable Judge Charles Williams—were recognized for their contributions to the community and the realization of their own “American Dream.”

In 1964, Mrs. Kelly, daughter of a prominent leader in the Civil Rights Movement, had the opportunity to meet Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and calls it one of her “proudest moments.” Now it was her time to accept the community’s gratitude for her life’s work.

Hostesses for the evening included Shayla Kelly, Ariel Burke, Devon Garvon, Jacinda Woodie and Pamela Morgan. These young women are past Bealls Scholarship Graduates, as well as former Palmetto Youth Center (PYC) members.

MLK Essay and Speech Contest winners, Bayshore Junior, Aubrey Condor (High School First Place) and Nolan sixth grader, Alisha Erozer (Second Place Middle School) presented their essays to the engrossed audience. Their passionate presentations of their eloquent essays earned them standing ovations.

Local “Presidents” participating in the evening’s events were: The Bradenton Herald’s Bob Turner; PYC’s Gladys Sailes Houston; and Bealls’ Steve Knopik.

Nancy Allen, a Pittsburgh native and mother of three teenagers, is a community volunteer and full-time Realtor who is proud to call Bradenton home. She can be reached at nancyallen@wagnerrealty.com