Recognizing good in Black community


By Joe Gilroy - [email protected]



LIMA — Organizers weren’t about to let COVID-19 stop them from assembling together for the 42nd annual “I Have a Dream Awards” ceremony Sunday evening at the City Club in downtown Lima.

Dr. Derry Glenn started the awards program after being challenged by his then-college president during his sophomore year to go home and do something in the community for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. He did, and 42 years later that challenge lives on.

“That first year, we had just award recipients,” Glenn recalled, “Jerry Pitts, who had just passed the bar to become a lawyer, and Larry Watkins. Watkins had just gotten out of prison. I went to Dr. Thomas, the president at the university, and Rev. Charles Manley for allowing me to have that first dinner at the community kitchen.”

Glenn’s event has become a staple event in Lima and an opportunity to recognize good being done in minority communities.

“Each year, we work to expose people for the heroes they really are,” Glenn said. “These people aren’t the ones who always get recognized for all the positive work they are doing.”

Six such heroes were recognized this year during Sunday’s ceremony. Martrice “Marty” Smith was the recipient of the Furl Williams award. Williams is a former city council president and city icon who worked tirelessly on behalf of the Black community.

“Furl meant a lot to this community. He loved it, and he never left the south side of Lima and tirelessly worked to improve it,” Glenn said.

The Georgia Newsome award went to Courtney Williams.

The Rosa Parks award, named in honor of the Black woman who refused to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus in 1955 and sparked a bus boycott that changed segregation laws, was presented to Denise James.

Dr. L. Renee Bradley was the recipient of the Alberta Shurelds award, named for another former city councilwoman.

The Larry Watkins award was presented to LeAndra Johnson for his tireless home improvement work on behalf of senior citizens and others in the community, providing low-cost repairs in the area of plumbing, flooring, windows and more.

The Mary Coleman award went to Taylor Pennington.

Dream award recipients included Jermey Allen, Joe Ayers, Crystal Jones, Kim Parks, Leiahnni Smith, Michelle Vorhees and Briuanshay Williams.

By Joe Gilroy

[email protected]

Reach Joe Gilroy on twitter @TLNJoeGilroy or by calling his desk 567-242-0398.

Reach Joe Gilroy on twitter @TLNJoeGilroy or by calling his desk 567-242-0398.

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