GIANT Awards honorees reflect servant leadership and provide examples for generations to come

Nov. 25, 2019 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The 38th Annual GIANT Awards and Banquet will celebrate people who have contributed to the Grand Rapids community in monumental ways.

Since 1983, Grand Rapids Community College has served as host of the annual awards recognizing African-American individuals or organizations for their exceptional contributions in shaping the history and quality of life of the Grand Rapids community. Each award is named after a local person who has demonstrated excellence and serves as a perpetual memorial to those notable contributions.

"The GIANT Awards are a staple of Grand Rapids, and a community-centered event,” said B. Afeni McNeely Cobham, GRCC's chief equity and inclusion officer. “The individuals recognized embody selfless service to others and serve as an inspiration for the next generations of leaders.”

The Feb. 22, 2020 event is planned for a new location -- the JW Marriott Grand Rapids – and ticket and sponsorship packages can only be purchased online at Eventbrite. The deadline to purchase ticket and sponsorship packages is Feb. 1, 2020. 

 The honorees were notified of the distinguished honor. They are:

  • Floyd Skinner Justice Award: Michelle Smith-Lowe, Kent County assistant prosecutor.
  • Walter Coe Public Service Award: Ovell R. Barbee, Jr., Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Diversity Officer at Spectrum Health.
  • Eugene Browning Medical Service Award: Clarence Teddy Henderson, emergency room technician at Butterworth Hospital.
  • W.W. Plummer Humanitarian Award: Eddie T.L. Tadlock, assistant general manager of DeVos Place Performance Hall and Van Andel Arena.
  • Ethel Coe Humanities Award: Eddie L. Stephens, Jr., president and CEO of Actionable Solutions Consulting.
  • Milo Brown Business Award: Crystal T. Hardley, licensed funeral director of Crystal Funeral Services.
  • Phyllis Scott Activist Award: Misti L. Stanton, assistant vice president and diversity and inclusion officer of Mercantile Bank.
  • William Glenn Trailblazer Award: Judge Christina Elmore, 61st District Court.
  • Raymond Tardy Community Service Award: Angela D. Nelson, vice president of multicultural business development at Experience Grand Rapids.
  • H.C. Toliver Religious Life Award: James Lee Abney, Sr., choir director of Madison Christian Reformed Church.
  • Hattie Beverly Education Award: Jerry F. McComb, former administrator for Grand Rapids Public Schools.
  • Martha Reynolds Labor Award: Larry Donston, retired educator.

Each year, the GIANT Award committee undertakes the difficult task of reviewing the many worthy nominees and selecting people to be honored. Committee members are Vanessa Greene, Cle Jackson, Larry Johnson, Tempy Mann, Darius Quinn, Faye Richardson-Green, and Shannon Wilson.

Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for more than 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, and workshops and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through distance learning.


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