LIMA — It may be helping at a food pantry. It may be helping kids learn the life lessons that only sports can provide. Whatever it was, each of the award winners at the annual Thanks 4 Giving Dinner played a role in trying to improve the quality of life for residents in Lima’s 6th Ward.
Held Saturday at Lima Towers, the award ceremony, complete with a dinner and entertainment from the Laymen Male Chorus, paid homage to those from the 6th Ward’s past while also celebrating those working in the present, with awards named after such figures as Alberta Shurelds and Georgia Newsome.
“This is great to see what they’re doing,” 6th Ward Councilman Derry Glenn said. “These folks do a great job in our community and in the 6th Ward. They really care about the 6th Ward, and they always have a part in it some way there, whether it’s with the kids or dealing with something else going on in the 6th Ward. That’s one of the reasons why I like to acknowledge the folks there doing a good job while also bringing a light to the 6th Ward, showing that we are working on making the 6th Ward a safe place to live and a place you can call your home.”
One award winner was Mitchell Gooding, who won the Georgia Newsome Award. When not working at Allen Correctional Institution, Gooding has helped mentor young people through coaching, first with YMCA leagues and then as a coach in the City of Lima rec leagues, coaching softball, basketball and football.
“I really don’t look to receive awards,” he said. “I’m really more in it to give something to the youth of this city. We all know what kind of situations they grow up in. Many of them don’t have role models in their lives, with no one to encourage them or give them praise. It’s just something that I love to do. I’ve been coaching for almost nine years, basically year-round now going from sport to sport.”
While Gooding appreciated the award, he said that his real reward comes from the young people he coaches.
“I’m getting something from them, seeing them smiling and being encouraged, looking at me with stars in their eyes knowing they did something good,” he said. “It’s just an honor and a privilege.”
Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.