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Spotlighting Those SPARKing Good

By Jeremy Park, City Current

Last Wednesday, at 5 PM on August 31, 2016, we officially wrapped up the public nomination phase for The SPARK Awards 2016. The SPARK Awards is the Mid-South’s annual televised awards show focused on recognizing and celebrating the efforts of individuals, nonprofits, corporations, and schools, in 13 different categories, who are making a positive impact in the Greater Memphis area. Now in its third year, the show is produced in partnership with WKNO-TV, cityCURRENT, and The Rotary Club of Memphis, which ultimately selects the winners who will be recognized during a special WKNO/Channel 10 televised broadcast during the holidays.

While printing up and sorting through the nominations yesterday, I was touched not only by the sheer numbers – some categories have as many as 25 unique nominations – but by the heartfelt words used to honor and thank our everyday heroes. Reading the nominations brought a huge smile to my face; and I figured it could do the same for you. So, since I don’t have any authority on picking the winners who will be honored during the televised broadcast, I figured it might be fun to feature some of the nominations in this column over the next few weeks. It should make you proud knowing there are so many doing so much good here in our city!

Let’s start with this nomination for Walter Casey: “Walter Casey has been the Executive Director of the Lester Community Center for over 37 years. He has been the only director this community center has ever had. He lives in this neighborhood and goes to church in this neighborhood. He has touched so many lives during his time as Executive Director. The community center provides activities, programs, health fitness and wellness programs to name a few. Mr. Casey is making a difference in Memphis and to those who live in his community.”

Then, this one for Rhonnie Brewer: “This past summer my son attended DUNK (Developing Urban Neighborhoods & Kids) Camp. It is a free basketball and youth leadership camp put on by Rhonnie Brewer. She rallies her friends to give back as well by being speakers and coaches at the camp. Each student receives classes in leadership, conflict resolution, volunteerism, and of course basketball. At the end of the camp she makes sure every student that attends receives all of their school supplies for the upcoming year.”

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