HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – Awards for the 16th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Ecumenical and Scholarship Celebration have been announced.

The Pine Belt News reported the event will be held at 7:30 a.m. on Monday, January 17 at the Thad Cochran Center at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM). The event is held to create community and to honor the life, work and legacy of King.

According to the newspaper, the following awards will be dispersed:

  • Bridge Builder Award – Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker and William Carey University President Tommy King will receive this award.
  • Community Service Award – Gay Polk-Payton and Nicholas Brown will receive this award. Polk-Payton is a Forrest County Circuit Court Judge, owner of Polk-Payton Law Office and USM Human Resources and Recreation Development faculty member. Brown is the Hattiesburg City Council Ward Councilman.
  • Community Impact Award – Robert Williams and Delores McNair will receive this award. He is the Hattiesburg Public School District (HPSD) Superintendent. McNair is the HPSD Board of Trustees President.
  • Douglass T. Baker Memorial Award – Helmon Johnson will receive this award. Johnson is a 56-year employee of Pearl River Valley Opportunity. He served as director and executive director.
  • Humanitarian Award – Roger Jones will receive this award. He is a former State employee and a 50-plus year member of Alpha Phi Alpha.