The speaker for Monday evening's Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration had a message for attendees: Their lives matter.
What people do to improve the lot of others or the community matters, said Rhonda Sewell, media relations coordinator at Toledo-Lucas County Public Library.
"We are all (King's) legacy," she said.
PHOTO BY JILL GOSCHE
Members of Tiffin University Gospel Choir sing during the Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at Faith United Methodist Church Monday evening. To view video from this event, visit www.advertiser-tribune.com.
Sewell, who received a standing ovation during the program at Faith United Methodist Church, said all the holiday requires is for people to look at their lives. King's legacy of service lives in everyone, she said.
"Therefore," she said, "I am his legacy."
Sewell reviewed the lives of some of her ancestors, including one who was the first black woman to become a member of Civil Air Patrol and another who was a college dean, and said she stands on strong and powerful shoulders.
She said she was 2 years old when King was killed, but she heard his battle cry.
"I am Dr. King's legacy, and so are all of you," she said. "Our lives are not dress rehearsals, you see."
Eric Keckler, Fostoria's mayor, said King wanted the country to deliver on the promise the country's founding fathers made 200 years earlier about all men being created equal.
He urged people to get involved in the community and make it a better place. He encouraged them stay in touch with their elected officials and civic leaders, and to volunteer in a nursing home, by serving playground duty and by helping a neighbor.
"Love one another," he said.
Aaron Montz, Tiffin's mayor, said people owe King a great deal of gratitude for his sacrifices and encouraged them never to allow King's teachings to be forgotten.
"God bless each and every one of you," he said.
Sharon George, director of Seneca County Family and Children First Council, and Ray Foster of nocolorline in Fostoria were recipients of the 2012 Peacemaker Award.
"Peace is achievable," Foster said.
The winners of the essay contest were Olivia Young, a third-grader at Krout Elementary School; Brittani Stiltner, a fifth-grader at Noble Elementary School; and Paul Phillips, a sixth-grader at Tiffin Middle School.
"Dr. King remembered what his mother told him: 'You are as good as anyone.' ... Dr. King is a great hero," Young said.