Martin Luther King Day Marked by Awards to Those Who ‘Aspire to Inspire’ 1/20/17 01/22/17 10:54:41 PM
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– Photo courtesy of Mayor’s OfficeFrom left, participants and honorees are: Omaha City Councilman Dr. Franklin Thompson, Omaha Fire Dept. Capt. Pete Andrews, Mayor Jean Stothert, Douglas County Sheriff Capt. Wayne Hudson, Douglas County Commissioner Mike Boyle and City of Omaha HRR Director Spencer K. Danner Jr.
Martin Luther King Day Marked by Awards
To Those Who ‘Aspire to Inspire’
By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record
The organizers of the MLK Aspire to Inspire celebration for city and county employees of Omaha and Douglas County must be celebrating their luck in scheduling it for January 11 – the Wednesday before the actual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day – that wound up being the day nearly everything in the city surrendered to the ice storm.
Sponsored by the City of Omaha’s Human Rights & Relations Director Spencer K. Danner Jr. and Douglas County Human Resources Director Karen A. Buche, the noon event at the City-County Building celebrated the life and legacy of the civil rights leader.
It was an ideal time to bestow honors on three local supporters of diversity, inclusivity and equality.
This year’s honors went to Douglas County Sheriff Capt. Wayne Hudson; Omaha Fire Department Capt. Pete Andrews; and Omaha City Councilman Dr. Franklin Thompson.
Captain Wayne Hudson
Capt. Wayne Hudson is a 22-year veteran of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. He began his career as a deputy in 1995 and has worked his way through the ranks to his current rank of captain, in charge of the Court Operations Bureau.
“Central to Dr. King’s philosophy is the concept of service. Capt. Hudson embodies these values and lives a service-oriented life. Within the Sheriff’s Office, Capt. Hudson has worked to promote diversity within our ranks by reaching out to area black churches in an effort to promote employment opportunities at the Sheriff’s Office.
“He also worked to target a minority candidate pool by putting most of the Department’s available advertising dollars towards minority-based media outlets. In addition, he mentors candidates of color to better prepare them for the selection process involved in becoming a law enforcement officer.”
Whether it’s hiding 15,000 eggs for the annual Black Police Officers Association Easter Egg Hunt, delivering holiday meals to needy families in the community, or serving as a mentor to young men, Douglas County Sheriff’s Capt. Wayne Hudson believes in serving others, said Douglas County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Tom Wheeler, who nominated Hudson for the award.
“To know that I am being honored and given an award based on an individual who lived for uplifting others and making changes in the United States so that minorities could be seen on the same playing field as other races – to me, that’s huge,” Hudson said. “I truly understand the power of community service and helping my fellow man.”
“Dr. King promoted courage, nonviolence, justice, community, human dignity and faith, among other values,” Wheeler said. “Capt. Hudson embodies these values and lives a service-oriented life.”
Captain Pete Andrews
Captain Pete Andrews, a 20-plus year veteran of the City of Omaha Fire Department, embodies and exemplifies the spirit of Dr. King.
He was nominated by his department, who wrote, “He is willing to stand for what is right and equitable not just as an African-American man, but in his leadership position with the Fire Department. Captain Andrews’ unyielding leadership in demanding fair hiring practices, and promotional opportunities within the Fire Department cannot and should not be overlooked.”
Dr. Franklin Thompson
In a surprise move, Councilman Dr. Franklin Thompson received an award “for his energy, talent and perseverance that has made him a tremendous asset to the City of Omaha. His 16-year career as a councilman has shown a commitment to fairness and accountability that continues to inspire all who may follow him.”
Dr. Thompson serves as chair of the City Council’s Parks and Convention and Visitors’ Bureau Committee and is a member of the Human Resources and Library, Human Rights and Relations, and Planning Committees. He also serves on the Police and Fire Retirement System Board.
Dr. Thompson has dedicated himself to the education of Omaha’s youth. He has served as a teacher and counselor at Creighton Preparatory School and Omaha Public Schools, and he currently serves as associate professor in the College of Education at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Dr. Thompson’s teaching and research interests include multi-cultural education, race relations, at-risk youth, urban education, and poverty.
In addition to his interest in music, Dr. Thompson enjoys sports and working with youth. He believes in a bipartisan approach to governing and focusing on the “big picture.”
The ceremonies also included a keynote speech by Madeline Moyer, AVP branch manager of Security National Bank and president of the South Omaha Business Association, and remarks by Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert, Douglas County Commissioner Mike Boyle, and Councilman Thompson.
Human Rights and Relations Board Vice-chairman Rev. Royal Carleton gave the invocation. Musical presentations were given by Amanda Cook (“The Star-Spangled Banner”); T’Keyah Williams of Omaha Bryan High School (“Lift Every Voice and Sing”), and the Omaha Bryan High School Choir. A Human Rights video was also shown.
The MLK Aspire to Inspire Awards have been presented to employees by Douglas County and the City of Omaha for several years.