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Three Receive Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership and Diversity Awards

January 19, 2010

On Monday during the Martin Luther King Jr. Day brunch, the Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership and Diversity Awards were presented to those who exemplify the character and life of Dr. King.

Jeremy Evans, a junior political science major of West Farmington, OH received the student award for his work in the AmeriCorps program, the annual Thanksgiving meal at the Salvation Army and Project Inspire, a free afterschool program created and sBarbara Lyons and Jeremy Evans. Not pictured: Betsy Cornelltaffed by Mount Union students.

Evans initiated the free Thanksgiving meal and he now serves as a student member on the Salvation Army board.

“Jeremy not only conceived the idea, but has annually recruited all the volunteers and organized the entire event. This sense of caring and compassion is something that runs deep in Jeremy, and he is strongly connected to his call to serve,” said Amanda Espenschied-Reilly, director of Service-Learning and Community Service, in Evans nomination letter. “This year, he has helped grow the program (Project Inspire) to include sites at Alliance Middle School and the YMCA and has helped turn the project into a thriving student organization.”

Barbara Lyons, secretary in academic affairs and director of Inspirational Voices of Praise (IVOP), was presented with the faculty and staff award.

“This person opens her home to truly get to know people from all walks of life,” said Bonnie Twaddle, community outreach coordinator for the John T. Huston - Dr. John D. Brumbaugh Nature Center, during the brunch on Monday. “She directs the gospel choir passionately, not for entertainment purposes but as a ministry. She reminds us that there is a broken heart in every pew.”

Lyons was also nominated by Michelle Gaffney, assistant dean of students and director of housing and residence life.

Betsy Cornell, supervisor of food services for Alliance City Schools, received the community award.

Espenschied-Reilly nominated Cornell after working with her this summer through the Ohio Free Summer Meals Program.

“Betsy could opt for having her summers free every year while school is out of session,” said Espenschied-Reilly. “When I asked her why, she immediately answered ‘for the kids and to employ local people.’”

Although Cornell could not make it to the brunch to receive the award, Espenschied-Reilly explained that she was much deserving of the award. She led daily programs for the kids at sites that did not have programming, served dinners at several local vacation bible schools and is also highly active in Kiwanis. “Her work is that of a social justice advocate – making sure that kids do not go without nutritious meals and friendly faces in the summer.”

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