Westerville News & Public Opinion

Westerville's Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast Celebration

Three honored for service in King's footsteps

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Three Westerville residents were recognized for carrying on the principles of Martin Luther King Jr. during the community's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast Celebration Monday, Jan. 20.

Genoa Middle School eighth-grader Arianna Kellum and Mark Twain Elementary School fourth-grader Michael Riebe both received the Fouse Award, given each year to Westerville school students in honor of William H. Fouse, the first black graduate of the Westerville school district and Otterbein University.

The Rev. John Beck was given the Alston Award, in recognition of his volunteerism in the community. The Alston Award was named for a group of former slaves who traveled the Underground Railroad before settling in Westerville.

Westerville's Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast Celebration was held at Villa Milano, 1630 Schrock Road.

Kellum, who was nominated by teacher Brandy Spears, has clear leadership abilities and is known for getting along well with classmates of a variety of backgrounds, Spears said.

She's active in Genoa Middle School's Thank Goodness I'm Female group, the school's student council and the year-round Columbus Blast Soccer program.

"Individuals like Arianna are the catalyst our world needs for social change," Spears wrote in nominating Kellum. "She sees the differences she can make and takes action. Those around her are inspired and in awe; her charisma motivates others to make positive change."

Riebe, who was nominated by Mark Twain Principal Vicki Moss, spends much of his free time volunteering and giving back to the community, Moss said.

Riebe is an active Cub Scout and has participated in many community service projects through scouting, Moss said. He also has volunteered with the Westerville Area Resource Ministry, working on food drives and food distribution.

Riebe, who was unable to attend the breakfast Monday to receive his award in person, donates one-third of his allowance to help support an 8-year-old boy in Kenya, Moss said, and last year, he participated as a "virtual rider" in Pelotonia, raising $1,350 in honor of a teacher diagnosed with breast cancer.

This year, Riebe aims to raise $1,200 for WARM.

Riebe also demonstrates compassion and respect for others, Moss said.

"Michael has a tender heart and truly enjoys helping others," Moss wrote in her nomination letter. "Michael encourages others to accept differences and continues to display caring and kindness toward others."

Beck moved to Westerville four years ago and quickly became an active volunteer in the community, said Westerville Area Chamber of Commerce President Janet Tressler-Davis, who nominated Beck.

He has given thousands of hours to WARM and Leadership Westerville, she said. He also volunteers with various church communities and the Seven Baskets Community Development Corp.

Beck was appointed to the Governor's Commission on Service and Volunteerism and volunteered as a facilitator during the Westerville City School District's strategic-planning process.

"It is obvious (Beck) respects the differences of others," Tressler-Davis wrote in her nominating letter. "He doesn't hesitate to help and speak out when others are in need."

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