The Paducah-McCracken County NAACP branch hosted its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Memorial Luncheon Monday, where local residents and businesses were honored for their community contributions.

The MLK event featured scholarship announcements, lunch, award presentations, music and a keynote speech from Michigan State Rep. Jewell Jones (D-Inkster), who was elected to the Inkster City Council in Michigan at age 20 in 2015 before going on to become a state representative in 2016. Festivities also included door prizes and was followed by a youth workshop and pizza party.

J.W. Cleary, NAACP branch president, estimated it drew over 300 people to the Robert Cherry Civic Center, and described it as "one of the better" luncheons the organization has had in a long time.

He also praised individuals and organizations who received recognition, including Patricia Robinson and Edward White.

Robinson was presented with the Mayor's Award of Merit by Mayor Brandi Harless and the Rev. Donna Hawkins. She owned and operated Pat & Peggy's Beauty Shop from 1983 to 2008, according to Hawkins.

"She was truly a deserving person to get that award," Cleary said.

As for White, Cleary said he holds a Thanksgiving meal every year at the civic center.

"He does it every Thanksgiving," Cleary said. "He provides the whole, what we call, turkey and ham dinner for Thanksgiving for people that's maybe either disabled or don't have family or whatever it is -- free of charge and we just thought that was so remarkable."

The following awards were presented:

• Mayor's Award of Merit - Patricia Robinson

• Community service award - Edward White

• Community service award - Computer Services, Inc.

• Community service award - Mercy Health-Lourdes Hospital

• Fred Paxton Diversity Employer of the Year - WPSD Local 6

The Fredrickia Hargrove MLK Essay and Poster Awards program, presented by the Paducah-McCracken County NAACP branch and Four Rivers Nuclear Partnership LLC, was held Sunday at Paducah Middle School where many elementary, middle school and high school students were honored.

Annual Fredrickia Hargrove MLK essay contest winners

Kindergarten - Grade 3

1. Channing Seaton, Clark Elementary School; 2. Kate Kimble, Concord Elementary School; 3. Bennett Seaton, Clark Elementary School.

Grades 4 and 5

1. Kanaan Hulen, Reidland Intermediate School; 2. Emma Nolan, Reidland Intermediate School; 3. Lanie Watkins, Reidland Intermediate School.

Grade 6

1. Gannon Massey, Paducah Middle School; 2. Stone Crowe, Paducah Middle School; 3. Ian Swenson, Paducah Middle School.

Grade 7

1. Russell Hancock, Paducah Middle School; 2. Levi Brown, Paducah Middle School; 3. Aniya Diaz, Paducah Middle School.

Grade 8

1. Elena Adkins, Paducah Middle School; 2. Alexa White, Paducah Middle School; 3. Emma Bell, Heath Middle School.

Grades 9-12

1. Samuel Lambert, Paducah Tilghman High School; 2. Kate Criner, Paducah Tilghman High School; 3. Jasmine Meadows, Paducah Tilghman High School.

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