The annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration of Terrell was held Monday night at the Jamie Foxx Performing Arts Center.
The celebration was founded in 2006 as local churches, Southwestern Christian College, Terrell Independent School District, private schools and community entities come together to honor the legacy of King.
The MLK Celebration of Terrell Inc. recognizes the service of community members and gives scholarships to Terrell High School students.
“Today we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy of inclusion and opportunity,” Terrell Mayor D.J. Ory said.
Mastor of Ceremony Thomas Fitzgerald, a pastor at the Eastside Church of Christ in Forney said the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration of Terrell program matters to the community.
“It matters to this city and it should also matter to this nation to take the time to reflect and to also recognize the great contributions that this man has done for our nation,” Fitzgerald said.
Lee Holbert, MLK Celebration of Terrell Inc. Treasurer, said Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a day to honor Dr. King’s vision.
“And for his sacrificial commitment to that vision,” Holbert said. “He saw what we might be capable of as individuals and as a nation. He believed in that possibility so deeply that he dropped everything else, even his life, to hold it high where we can all see it.”
Holbert handed the MLK Community Service Awards to First Christian Church of Terrell, Breezy Hill Park Association and Don Ledbetter-Serenity Church.
“MLK Celebration of Terrell, Inc. is proud to be part of a community that has individuals and organizations that strive to continue and strengthen the legacy of the Great Dr. King,” Holbert said.
Members of First Christian Church are involved in the following ministries in the community: Christmas gifts to shut-ins, meals on wheels, participation in the community Thanksgiving meals and donations to serenity church, mother-daughter tea for Genesis Center, Children’s Emergency Shelter, Halloween trunk-or-treat, sponsoring boy scout troops, providing communions and nursing homes and colonial lodge residents and work at Terrell State Hospital. First Christian Church most notable ministry is called “Bag Ladies” which is a group of church and community members who crochet together plastic grocery bags and turn them into comfortable water proof sleeping mats for the homeless population in Terrell and Dallas. First Christian Church is located at 405 North Adelaide Street.
The Breezy Hill Park Association, which was formed in 2017 as a non-profit organization to improve the community around Breezy Hill Park, are involved in constructing a “Top of the Hill” community garden, organizing a civil service reception that honored first responders in the City of Terrell, providing a Thanksgiving meal, having a quarterly cleanup of Breezy Hill Park, putting on a “Christmas at the Park” event and holding a Juneteenth celebration.
Serenity Church, which is a independent non-denominational street outreach ministry, are involved in providing meals on a rotating basis by Faith Fellowship, First Christian Church and First United Methodist Church. Serenity Church also had a food and clothing pantry. Serenity Church is located at 212 South Rockwall Street.
The MLK Community Service Youth Award was given to the Terrell High School Tigerettes. The Tigerettes have contributed over 7,000 hours of community service in Terrell and Kaufman County.
Ed Johnson, the MLK Celebration of Terrell Inc. President, handed out the MLK Spirit of Kings Awards for service to Johnnie C. Holmes and the MLK Spirit of Kings Awards for leadership was given to James Williams.
The MLK Spirit of Kings Awards is meant to recognize a person in the community who is living out the dream of Dr. King.
Holmes was the owner and president of J.C. Holmes Construction. He established his business in 1972. He provided Sunday School service at Mount Calvary Baptist Church. Holmes served on the Terrell Ministers Union Bread-Basket. Whenever the union did not have funds, Holmes would help people pay their rent out of his own pocket.
“A major portion of his business was to provide affordable houses in the city of Terrell,” Johnson said. “We applaud Johnnie C. Holmes.”
Williams has served in the Terrell community for a number of years. He graduated from Burnett High School in 1962. He spent three years in the United States Army. He holds a B.A. in business from Texas Southern University. He retired after 20 years serving as the Kaufman County Precinct Three Justice of the Peace Court. He is a deacon at New Hope Baptist Church for over 70 years.
“Williams serves as a leader in this community. Certainly he’s living out the spirit of Dr. King as a leader in our community,” Johnson said.
Boy Scout Troop & Pack 390/391 performed the Presentation of Flags and Pledge of Allegiance.
Brandon Spencer of New Mount Calvary Baptist Church performed the National Anthem.
Pastor Malcolm Duncan of Southside Church of Christ in Mineola performed the Invocation.
Adrian Williams of Terrell High School performed the program’s welcome.
The Terrell All City Choir, which consists of students from Bruce Wood, J.W. Long, G.W. Willie Elementary, Furlough Middle School, performed.
The Tigerettes performed.
Fitzgerald performed Martin Luther King, Jr. speech of “I Have a Dream.”
A performance was done by New Mount Calvary Baptist Church Choir and the Southwestern Christian College Chorus.
Pastor Carol Baptiste of the Youth Center of Kaufman County performed the Benediction.