Tifton Gazette

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January 12, 2013

Awards Gala added to MLK holiday celebrations

TIFTON — The First Annual Spirit of Greatness Awards Gala has been added to the City of Tifton Martin Luther King Jr. holiday celebrations to identify and honor leaders and shapers in the field of human relations and interaction. It will recognize individuals who have contributed to the advancement of a more ethical society that seeks community in all that one does.

“I read somewhere that ‘Freedom and dignity are not privileges; they are the birthright of every person. Unfortunately, those rights are not given to us freely. Unfortunately, they must be won by men and women of courage. Every day, all over the world, thousands of individuals — some of them famous, many more anonymous — exhibit extraordinary courage in the pursuit of our common birthright’” says Ambrose B. King Jr., King holiday coordinator of events.

The Awards Gala will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19 at the Leroy Rogers Senior Center. This is a public event. There will be live music provided by a local jazz band. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased by families of honorees or by calling 326-4396. Will-Call tickets are also available.

The 2013 awardees are: Tifton Mayor Jamie Cater; former City Councilman Roosevelt Russell; eighth grade teacher and local associate minister Isaac Ross; the public relations and marketing director for Moultrie Technical College, Jana Wiggins; and former Meals on Wheels Director Marion Culpepper Whiddon. Luz Marti was a part of this list; however, she had a family emergency that caused her to be out of the country during this weekend.

Cater will receive the Man of the Year Award. He is recognized because he is committed to making Tifton a place responsible for co-creating a “beloved community” — one seeks a unified government that promotes, exemplify and encourage individuals and organizations to commit and dedicate themselves to protecting and promoting the rights of others.

“He is what the world famous nonviolent leader, Mohandas K. Gandhi, said ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world,’” says King. He added that Cater told voters in his run for mayor that he would be the mayor of all of Tifton and not just in certain parts. He kept his promise, King stated.

“Unfortunately, he is the first Mayor of Tifton that has ever participated in the Martin L. King Jr. holiday parade/march,” he said. “However, his demonstration of humanity and sincere passion for positive and healthy ecumenical, social relationships is unmatched.”

The Luminary Awards go to Ross and Wiggins for their behind the scene support and work to ensure the King holiday events, planned by King, is presentable and funded.

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