Leaders honored at MLK Luncheon

Today, Grambling State University honored 10 recipients at the fourth annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Distinguished Leadership Award Luncheon in the Black and Gold room.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Distinguished Leadership Award recognizes person’s who show their leadership through servicing their community and the communities around them.

Stephanie Finley, was the guest speaker for the award ceremony. She serves as the United States District Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana, and is the first woman appointed to serve as a U.S. attorney in the state of Louisiana.

There were are three different award categories: Alvin Ailey Arts and Letters Award, Fannie Lou Hamer Community Service and Leadership Award and Thurgood Marshall Justice Award.

David Aubrey, Janet Durden, Clarence Hawkins, Hazel Hunter, Quentin Messer, Eldonta Osborne, and Willie Washington all received the Fannie Lou Hamer Community Service and Leadership Award.

Aubrey, who now serves as the North Louisiana Regional Director of External Affairs for AT&T INC., was elected the first African-American mayor of Homer. In 1998, at the age of 24 he became the youngest mayor in the state of Louisiana.

Durden, is the president of United Way of Northeast Louisiana. She is also on Louisiana 2-1-1 Coordinating Council and previously testified before the U.S. Senate representing the National 2-1-1 Information and Referral System.

Hawkins currently serves as the Louisiana state director for USDA Rural Development. He served as mayor in Bastrop from 1989 to 2009.
A beauty pageant consultant and judge, Hunter serves as the president of the Dr. Michael A. Hunter Foundation, the Pinkie C. Wilkerson Foundation and the Lincoln Parish Police Jury. She is also a former manager with Louisiana Department of Social Services.

Serving as the president of the Louisiana Economic Development Corporation, Messer, is also an assistant secretary for Louisiana Economic Development.
Signing with the National Football League’s Arizona Cardinals in 1990, Osborne later returned to Louisiana in 1993 and became a teacher and coach. He has also served as the chief professional officer of the Boys & Girls Club of North Central Louisiana the last 13 years.

An active leader in education, Washington worked as a teacher in Arcadia, La. He has also held positions as coach, counselor, assistant principal, and principle. Today he serves as the Federal Programs Director since 1992.

Frank Kelly, Jr. was rewarded the Alvin Ailey Arts and Letters Award.

John Belton who is the district attorney for the 3rd Judicial District Court for Lincoln and Union Parishes along with his wife Alana Belton, former prosecutor, received the Thurgood Marshall Justice Award.