ABOVE PHOTO: Zion Baptist Church (2015 ©Google)
In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, many Philadelphians stepped forward to provide aid to the victims of the devastated island of Puerto Rico. On Martin Luther King Day, January 15, 2018, a group of these local heroes will be honored with the Martin Luther King Community Service Award at Zion Baptist Church’s annual King Day Worship service in North Philadelphia.
“These Philadelphians worked under extreme and dangerous conditions to bring help to people who would not have survived without immediate aid”, said Sheriff Jewell Williams, one of the sponsors of the award. “We wanted to recognize their dedication as we remember a man for whom sacrifice and service meant so much.”
For the first time this year, the Zion ceremony will include a special award to these men and women who fulfilled the spirit of Dr. Kings legacy of service, captured in his famous “Drum Major” speech:
“I’d like somebody to mention…. that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others…. I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.” –Dr. Martin Luther King
The church service will honor seven Philadelphia citizens in the spirit of this commitment. They traveled to Puerto Rico in October, in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Maria when islanders were in desperate need of water and other essential living supplies.
The honorees include four Philadelphia Sheriff deputies, a PECO employee, a Councilwoman and one of her staffers:
Inspector Michael Bastone
Sergeant Joshua Perez
Deputy Sheriff Officer Alessandro Carrasquillo
Deputy Sheriff Officer Enrique Marin
PECO Lineman Emilio Sanchez
Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez
Quetcy Lozada, Chief of Staff for Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez
Under the direction of the Red Cross, they served as drivers and distribution crews to deliver food, water, medicines and medical equipment to locations across the island.Councilwoman Quinones Sanchez is being honored for her tireless advocacy and philanthropic efforts to support the infrastructure and communications needs of the people of Puerto Rico. All of the volunteers have family living in Puerto Rico.
The service is sponsored by Zion Baptist Church and the Office of the Sheriff of Philadelphia.
Zion Baptist has held a special service to commemorate King for more than 30 years. The church has an historic civil rights tradition dating back to its legendary pastor, the late Reverend Leon Sullivan.The Martin Luther King Day Service will take place on January 15 from 9am to noon at the Zion Baptist Church, Broad and Venango Streets in Philadelphia.