MLK Distinguished Service Award recipients announced

Pullman United Way Executive Director Debbie Jo Sherman and the Common Ministry at Washington State University are among those being honored Monday, Jan. 15, with the Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Award. Also receiving the award are WSU students Justin Guillory and Lauren Hubbard.

Every year a review committee analyzes written nominations for the award submitted by the public. Committee members seek individuals and organizations that exemplify the ideals of Martin Luther King Jr. by making meaningful contributions to the Pullman community through leadership, service and education.

The recipients will formally receive their awards during a special ceremony, Monday, Jan. 15, 11:30 a.m., in WSU’s Smith Center for Undergraduate Education (CUE) auditorium. The public is invited.

Through Sherman’s leadership and the work of the United Way Board of Directors, numerous local service agencies receive financial support every year. In addition to United Way, she has volunteered with the Whitman County Development Services Board, Pullman Regional Hospital Foundation, Palouse Industries and the Pullman Chamber of Commerce. In 1998 Sherman was appointed by Governor Gary Locke to serve on the Citizen’s Advisory Board for the Division of Developmental Disabilities.

Her nominator wrote, “What matters most to Debbie is that United Way and other community service agencies will continue to have lasting, visible results in the lives changed, the families built and supported, and the community shaped by the caring of others.”

The Common Ministry at WSU has provided 40 years of service to the Pullman community—often addressing the needs of marginalized groups. This organization has been involved in numerous racial justice programs, parenting and family activities, campus forums addressing difficult issues, conflict resolution, AIDS awareness, and peace movements.

The nomination for the Common Ministry highlighted one of the organization’s policies: the Common Ministry is a community of diverse opinions where different ideas may be proclaimed without fear of attack, where honest discussion overcomes angry rhetoric, where diversity and acceptance is proclaimed over segregation and judgment, where all who are on a spiritual journey can find encouragement, support, and room to grow.

Justin Guillory is scheduled to receive his doctoral degree in higher education administration from WSU this year. While Guillory is currently serving as Mentor Program coordinator in WSU’s Native American Student Center, he has also provided leadership within the center as the interim retention counselor. He has facilitated numerous intercultural workshops for programs such as Alive! Orientation, Cougar Quest, and the WSU/Coeur d’Alene Tribe Athletic and Leadership Camp.

His nomination states, “Justin is a role model and he empowers multicultural youth to sort through their own life values to determine for themselves their own life paths through education. He is a fine example of what true leadership stands for.”

Lauren Hubbard is an undergraduate student at WSU majoring in Communication, Soil Sciences, and Women’s Studies. She has been an advocate for human rights through the WSU Progressive Student Union, YWCA’s Racial Justice Program and the Coalition for Women Students. She has worked for the Women’s Transit Program for over four years and represented WSU at the 2006 National Model United Nations in New York—exemplifying her dedication to global community.

Hubbard’s nomination states, “Lauren goes about doing real, human, unglamorous work of social justice. This is a person who is in the work for the long haul and will not be deterred from seeking peace, equity, and justice wherever she may be.”

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