Award recipients announced at AWC Celebrity Luncheon

Published: Apr. 9, 2013 at 8:47 PM CDT|Updated: Dec. 14, 2014 at 10:13 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Hundreds of people gathered at the Overton Hotel Conference Center Tuesday for the Association for Women in Communications Celebrity Luncheon which honored dozens of individuals and groups for their achievements and contributions to Lubbock.

The South Plains Honor Flight and Lemonade Day organizers were among those who received the Headliner Award for receiving widespread positive media recognition.

Tommy and Kay Davis, Melissa Grimes and several other people were honored with the Gold Medal Award for volunteering to improve the quality of life for Lubbock residents.

Headliner Award Recipients (presented to individuals or groups whose achievements or contributions have received widespread positive recognition through the media):

  • South Plains Honor Flight - Allowed a group of World War II veterans to fly to Washington, D.C., free of charge to see memorials dedicated to their sacrifices and service to our country.
  • Dr. Steven Berk - Through his innovative vision, the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine is gaining national recognition and attention for an expedited curricular track (F-MAT) that reduces the length of medical school from four years to three for individuals pursuing a career in family medicine. Also, his book, "Anatomy of a Kidnapping," was published in 2011 and continues to receives exceptional reviews
  • Lubbock Lemonade Day - The very first Lubbock Lemonade Day was launched in 2012, with more than 300 stands throughout the city promoting entrepreneurship for children. The first day was so successful that Lubbock Lemonade Day has served as a model for other cities.
  • Kliff Kingsbury - After successful college and NFL careers, Kliff Kingsbury began his coaching career, earning numerous accolades while at the University of Houston and "that other university" in College Station. Kliff has returned to take the reins of his alma mater and has catapulted the Texas Tech University football program into the national spotlight while invigorating the fan base.

Gold Medal Award Recipients(presented to people who, over an extended period of time, have volunteered to improve the quality of life for a broad spectrum of those living in the Lubbock area):

  • Helen McElwee - Helen has volunteered for more than 40 years at the Lubbock State School, where she leads a fundraising project collecting unsold estate sale items and selling them at the school to support the needs of the residents.
  • Tommy and Kay Davis - Strong supporters of the Lubbock arts community, their vision helped launch the YWCA's Legacy Event Center. Tommy and Kay, owners of Mr. Tom's Salon, have also supported the Lubbock Arts Festival, Texas Tech University College of Visual and Performing Arts, Museum of Texas Tech University and the Kidney Foundation, just to name a few.
  • Dr. Bolanle Olaniran - Dr. Olaniran, a communication studies professor at Texas Tech University,has made significant strides in educating our region about health issues related to sickle cell anemia. He is the director and a founder of Sickle Cell Ministries, a nonprofit that educates, counsels and provides spiritual ministry for people affected by sickle cell anemia.
  • Noe Brito - Noe founded Hombres Nobles, a nonprofit dedicated to utilizing positive male role models to make a difference in children's lives. Through Hombres Nobles, he launched Tomorrow's Leaders Program, an initiative where adult male mentors meet twice a month for school lunch with fifth grade boys from families with an incarcerated parent or without an adult role model in the home.
  • Melissa Grimes - Melissa is an advocate for the betterment of Lubbock and has served on many boards including March of Dimes, Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Lubbock Community Theatre, among others. She is a promoter and lover of music and art and hosts monthly house concerts, which she calls "Rockin Box 33," in her home as fundraisers for the performing artists.

Louise Allen Award Recipient (presented to an entity that has exhibited outstanding community service):

  • Hispanic Association of Women - The organization is responsible for annual $1,000 scholarships to 20 local, deserving students. They are involved many events through the community like the Raider Rojos Back to School Fiesta and volunteering at the South Plains Food Bank.

George Mahon Award for Extraordinary Public Service:

  • Robert and Betty Carr and their son Brian

Beth Pratt AWC Member of the Year (formerly Communicator of the Year):

  • Kaley Daniel, Director for Communications & Marketing for University Libraries at Texas Tech University

A new award, the Mary Ann Edwards Professional Communicator, was also announced at the luncheon.