Photos by Valerie Urbanik | Oberlin News-Tribune
Mary McDaniel accepts the NAACP’s Community Service Award, given to the League of Women Voters of the Oberlin Area.
Three people and one organization were honored Saturday at the Freedom Fund Banquet at the Oberlin Inn.
Th Oberlin NAACP recognized Alan Mitchell, Jaquita Willis, Donna Shurr, and the League of Women Voters of the Oberlin Area.
Mitchell received the Robert “Bob” Thomas NAACP New Image Award, named for a man whose actions spoke louder than words and raised thousands of dollars to build the Martin Luther King Park.
Mitchell is the interim director of Zion Community Development Corporation and food distribution coordinator at Oberlin Community Services.
“Alan has been a leader for this small town,” said NAACP banquet committee member Elizabeth Rumics, who believes Mitchell has a bright future.
He said he’s been focusing on trying to eliminate hunger among Oberlin residents and has tripled the amount of food given to families in need.
“It’s impossible to educate a hungry child and it’s impossible to employ a hungry adult,” said Mitchell, thanking the packed room for acknowledging his work.
Willis received the Catherine Rhinehardt NAACP Appreciation Award for outstanding community service.
“This award means a lot,” Willis said.
Rhinehardt lived next door to Rust United Methodist Church, which Willis attended, and would insist on all the children coming over every morning for breakfast.
“I try to model myself after her,” Willis said. “I challenge all of you to be part of something. The children in this city need your help.”
Oberlin High School teacher Donna Shurr received the NAACP Educator Award for her work helping students expand their education and give back to the community.
“Donna Shurr expands her work as a teacher well beyond the walls of the high school,” Rumics said, describing how she brings students from all grade levels together to work on numerous projects.
“I want to thank the Oberlin community for giving me the opportunity to teach your children,” Shurr said.
The NAACP gave the Community Service Award to the League of Women Voters of the Oberlin area for its work in educating residents and encouraging everyone to vote.
Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.