GRCC names Giants award honorees


Lt. Col. Shawn A. Harris received the GRCC Giants Walter Coe Public Service Award in 2013. Photo via

The Woodrick Diversity Learning Center at Grand Rapids Community College has named the honorees for its annual Giants Awards, which recognize African-American individuals or organizations for their exceptional contributions to shaping the history and quality of life of greater Grand Rapids.

The Giants Awards have been handed out annually since 1983.

“Tirelessly” giving back

“Each year, when the committee is looking at candidate packets, the one thing that always stands out is the impact that the candidates' work and/or efforts have had on the community,” said Faye Davis, Giants co-chair. “This group is no different in that they have been giving back and have made a difference in the community for years, whether it be monetary, time, action or service.

“They all have been recognized by a community business, organization, an association and/or a community member as one that exemplifies the true spirit of giving back to the community.”

Each award is named after local individuals who have given excellence and is a perpetual memorial to that person’s notable contributions.

“The committee, as in previous years, are honored to receive nominations supporting such deserving members in our community,” Davis said. “This is never an easy task, as we receive nominations for so many members of the community that work tirelessly, quietly and humbly, giving of themselves — because they believe it is the right thing to do and not because they seek to be honored or receive recognition.”

“A fair chance”

The winner of the Raymond Tardy Community Service Award, Jonathan Jelks, said he’s “humbled and grateful to even be considered for an award like this."

“Mr. Raymond Tardy contributed so much to this city,” Jelks said. “He has an amazing legacy as an advocate and is one of the foremost leaders who helped progress Grand Rapids into the wonderful city it has become.

“Ultimately, this award is motivation for me to be more diligent and work harder to create a Grand Rapids where all kids — regardless of their race, neighborhood and socio-economic status — have a fair chance at achieving the American dream.”


The honorees will be recognized on Jan. 25 at the 32nd annual Giants Awards & Banquet, at DeVos Place.

The Giant Among Giants honoree will be announced during the event.

Tickets are on sale and can be purchased by contacting the GRCC Woodrick Diversity Learning Center at 616-234-3390.

2014 Giants Award honorees

Floyd Skinner Justice Award: not awarded this year

Walter Coe Public Service Award: LeMark Payne

Eugene Browning Medical Service Award: Dr. Candace Smith-King

W.W. Plummer Humanitarian Award: Shannon Wilson

Ethel Coe Humanities Award: not awarded this year

Milo Brown Business Award: Norris Beauty Salon (Mildred Norris)

Phyllis Scott Activist Award: Brian Cloyd

William Glenn Trailblazer Award: Eddie Rucker

Raymond Tardy Community Service Award: Jonathan Jelks

H.C. Toliver Religious Life Award: Dr. Jermone Glenn

Hattie Beverly Education Award: Cornell Bailey

Martha Reynolds Labor Award: Kathleen Jackson

Giant Among Giants: to be announced

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