Spotlight on the MLK Club awards, scholarship recipients

| February 5, 2014
Jeanie Summerville

Jeanie Summerville


Whatz up, babies?

As always, I hope all is well with you and yours and that you’re still taking time out, on a daily basis, to bring yourselves and others some well deserved joy, beauty, happiness and some form of peace of mind as we travel on our journey of love, to get to know one another better. So now, we bring to you the president of the MLK Club, 2014 award winners, some guests and the scholarship recipients from the 2014 MLK Unity Day Celebration so you will know a little bit more about them, and this is what they had to say:

“Hello, Frost Illustrated readers. I’m Benny Edwards, president of the MLK Club here in Fort Wayne, Ind., and this is our sixth annual MLK Club Breakfast with the Clergy. It’s purpose, to honor and identify clergy in our community that have provided programs that are making a difference. I’m happy to say, that we have grown tremendously over these last six years. We started with approximately 30 people in 2009 and today 220 people were in attendance. It was a fantastic show of support from the community. 

MLK Club scholarship winners

(Left to right) Area high school students Kalisha T. Goree, Tiara A. Poindexter, Jenna L. Klinedinst and Brittni J. Clopton were recipients of $1,000 scholarships in honor of George and Louise Smith and MLK Club Founder Glyn R. Gleason. (Photo: Courtesy of MLK Club)

“Our keynote speaker was Rev. Kenneth Christmon of Turner Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Rev. Christmon is a pastor who is bi-vocational and the associate vice chancellor for diversity at Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne. He is the highest-ranking African American male administrator in the history of IPFW. His visionary work has yielded nearly $11 million dollars in external funding to IPFW for the expressed purpose of expanding student access to higher education and he’s also doing and have done so many other great things. We are proud to announce that this year’s Clergy of the Year is Pastor Dr. Luther Whitfield of New Covenant Worship Center. He’s the former director of Prime Time that has implemented several programs geared specifically towards youth and leading them to Christ. His new church places a great deal of emphasis on youth and their development.” 

So, after the breakfast was over I took the opportunity to ask Pastor Whitfield how he felt being chosen the Clergy of the Year and this is what he had to say:

“I’m very honored and humbled that the MLK organization considered the work that we’re doing at New Covenant and myself, to receive this award and we are appreciative. But it’s kind of hard, to get an award for doing something that you just truly love to do. We love working, serving GOD and we love working with GOD’s people. I just love our community and I think there are greater days ahead for us.”

After that, I asked the Rev. Kenneth Christmon how he felt being chosen the keynote speaker for this event and this is what he had to say:

“It’s an incredible honor to be a pastor of one of the most historic churches and to manifest that partnership that we have with the greater community. It was an incredible honor to be the keynote speaker, as the pastor of Turner Chapel because the MLK Club probably has one of the greatest celebrations in the Midwest, if not the nation. So, to be a part of that was more than a personal honor, it’s an honor for Turner Chapel and it’s an honor to be in partnership with the many great entities of churches, communities and those from all walks of life throughout this community because it expresses just how well and how great we can do, when we get together.” 

This is some great information and I’m loving it. Also, I need to inform you that the Rev. Donovan A. Coley Sr., CEO of The Rescue Mission and Pastor Harold Johnson of Kingdom Door Christian Worship Center were this year’s recipients of the MLK Community Service Awards, congratulations.

I spoke with Garry Hamilton, the chief of police here in Fort Wayne to find out what he thought of the event and this is what he had to say:

“I attended the breakfast today and it was a wonderful, to see the great turn out, by the citizens of Fort Wayne. And, not just blacks but blacks and whites joining together to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and all of his wonderful works. It was truly an honor to be here and witness such a great event to bring back the spirit of MLK today and it was overwhelming and I truly enjoyed myself.”

Marlin Stutzman

Congressman Marlin Stutzman spoke with Jeanie at the Breakfast with the Clergy. (Photo: Coutesy United States Congress)

Our 3rd District Indiana Congressmen, Marlin A. Stutzman was also in attendance and I asked him, what he thought of the event and this is what he wants to share with all of you Frost Illustrated readers:

“It was a great privilege and an honor to be a participate today and to be with a group of clergy and a group of men and women who are honoring a great American,
Martin Luther King Jr. This is my first MLK Breakfast with the Clergy and it was a real thrill. I think that the life Dr. King lived was one that I truly admire because he lived a life for the Lord first of all and second of all, it was a life of peace and action. That’s what inspires me, to love not only the Lord but also, to love our fellow man. In spite of all the things that are going on in the world, we have more in common than what we do that separates us. What he did, was to show not only a life that believes in GOD but also how to take that, take the ideas and the principles from the Bible and put it into action to make a difference through peace and through peaceful actions. That’s what all of us as Americans should strive to do, love our fellow Americans and to reach out what the strong convictions but at the same time, showing love and that we can all work together and love one another.”

Feel the beauty and embrace it babies. Breakfast with the Clergy is over now and we were all given a souvenir booklet and within it, was a beautiful tribute to the late President/Founder of the MLK Club Glyn Gleason from his wife Altermease that I read, once I entered the Grand Wayne Center for the 29th Annual Unity Day Celebration. So, at this time, I bring back the MLK President Benny Edwards to you to continue the beauty:

“Our theme this year is Remembering the Titans, remembering our past, embracing the present and making things better for the future. The keynote speaker here is Dr. Carl B. Mack, an engineer by profession and past executive director of the National Association of Black Engineers (NSBE). There’s also a tribute to George Smith Jr., who was a board member of the MLK Club for more than 20 years. He served in many capacities and was the keynote speaker coordinator and Civil Rights Tour coordinator. George did a fantastic job along with his wife Louise and they spent many hours helping to promote the MLK Club and making it what it is today. George died April 2013 and we miss him.” 

The MLK Club gave away four $1,000 scholarships to deserving high school students. Two memorial scholarships in honor of George and Louise Smith were given to Kalisha T. Goree with a 3.83 GPA of Columbia City High School and Brittni L. Clopton with a 3.9 GPA of South Side High School. The other two memorial scholarships were in honor of MLK Founder Glyn R. Gleason and were given to Jenna L. Klinedinst with a 4.6 GPA of South Side High School and Tiara A. Poindexter with a 3.68 GPA. I was able to talk with three of the scholarship recipients to find out how they felt being chosen this year and this is what they had to say.

“Hello, Frost Illustrated readers. My name is Jenna Klinedinst and I plan to attend Purdue University to pursue my degree in environmental engineering. I was proud to receive this award because I knew that it’s something that me and my family really value. My grandmother marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and his dream has always been shared with me. It was a great honor and even despite my ethnic background, I can make this community proud and naturally, follow the dream that I know is really important. I look forward to sharing Dr. King’s dream in the future and working for unity in our community and around the world. I know this scholarship will be very helpful to my dream and making them come true. Going to college was always something I’ve looked forward to and I know that, I can make this community proud with what I’ll do and I’m just honored.” 

Tiara A. Poindexter had this to say:

“Hello, Frost Illustrated readers. I plan to attend college in Atlanta and I plan to study biology and become an anesthesiologist. I feel very honored, blessed and appreciative to have been awarded this scholarship. It means a lot to me and my family especially since, I’m going out of state so I really needed the money for my tuition and I’d like to thank everybody who helped me to get it.”

Then, her parents Tyra and Terrance Poindexter had this to say:

“We’re very appreciative of this scholarship and it’s going to help tremendously. I know that once she’s up and going and able to contribute back to the program, she’ll be more than willing. She’s encouraged to be in the medical field by her uncle, Raymond Stewart, who’s a doctor that used to live here but now lives in Georgia. He’s going to mentor her while she’s in college and he’s a good role model. We also have a daughter, Shanekqua, that received an MLK scholarship three years ago and we’re very proud of her too. We’re appreciative of the MLK Club for helping young blacks children through college. It’s such a blessing.”

“Hello, Frost Illustrated readers. My name is Kalisha T. Goree and I plan to attend Ohio State University to study sports management and sports medicine. It was a great opportunity and I’m thankful for it and it’s a blessing to have been given this honor and being able to share my essay with everyone at the ceremony.”

The other recipient, Brittni J. Clopton, was not available for comments at this time but she has been accepted at Indiana University and plans to obtain a PhD in biochemistry so she can make advanced pharmaceuticals.

Now in closing I say, great job, everybody! I’m so proud of you. To the MLK Club, I’m proud of you too and what a privilege and an honor to be a part of something, as a member, that causing all of this love, beauty, excitement and joy to happen in this city. So until next week you’ve been Up Close with Jeanie. Bye, bye babies.

P.S. If you would like The Spotlight shined upon you or someone that you know, all in the name of love, just send me an e-mail to I’d love to hear from ya.

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Category: Local, Opinion, Unity Day Celebration

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