Drum Major Award recipients honored

Leola Wilson of Saginaw receives her Drum Major Award. Wilson spent 50 years as part of the NAACP and served as president of the NAACP’s Saginaw branch. Vanguard Photo | Kyle Will

The fifth annual Drum Major Award recipients were honored at the Martin Luther King Celebration on Wednesday, Jan. 23, in the Malcolm Field Theatre.

Recipients included Ben Gibson from Bay County, Jeanne Lound Schaller from Midland County, and Leola Wilson from Saginaw County. Recipients of the award have shown long term service to their community and have committed their lives to making the world a better place.

Each recipient received a $1,000 award to be given to a charitable organization of their choice. The award is given annually to leaders in the Great Lakes Bay Region who exemplify the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. and perform daily acts of service to make their community and world a better place.

Schaller leads the Midland chapter of Nonviolent Peaceforce. The organization works to transform the world’s response to conflict. Schaller has previously worked as a peace advocate for Community Resolution Centers in Saginaw and Flint.

Schaller has also held leadership positions at Midland Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice and the Helen M. Casey Center for Nonviolence based in Midland.

Wilson recently retired as the president of the Saginaw branch of the NAACP. The Saginaw branch is the second-largest in Michigan. Wilson spent 50 years as a part of the NAACP. She has served as the organization’s Michigan statewide conference director and its state treasurer.

Wilson received Michigan’s NAACP President of the Year Award in 2008. She served on SVSU’s Board of Control from 2005 to 2013. In 2016, she received SVSU’s most prestigious award, the Distinguished Service Award, for her involvement in the community.

Gibson, a retired flight instructor and educator, taught in the Bay City public school system for 26 years.

He also taught aviation courses at Averill Career Opportunities Center in Saginaw and at Delta College.

From 1996 to 2013, Gibson served as a corporate pilot.

In 2002, Gibson began working as a trustee with the Bay City Public Schools Board of Education. He served as a leader in the school district until 2015.

Reporting by Melissa Vennix, Vanguard Reporter

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