“Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice; say
that I was a drum major for peace; I was a drum major for righteousness… We all have the
drum major instinct.”
Excerpt from The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s
"Drum Major Instinct" sermon,
given on February 4, 1968.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major Award for community service is based on nominees who selflessly perform daily acts of service to make their community—and our world— a better place. The award was created by the Great Lakes Bay Regional MLK Celebration event committee, and the honorees are selected from Bay, Midland and Saginaw counties.
Bay City Department of Public Safety,
Officer Brandon Murphy began his career in policing with the Saginaw Police Department in 2000. He was laid off mid-year due to budget cuts and quickly continued his career with the Bay City Department of Public Safety where his is currently a 16-year veteran.
After being assigned to the Road Patrol early in his career, Officer Murphy began working in the Community Policing Division. During this time, he began working as a School Resource Officer. Officer Murphy received several citations for the work that he accomplished in this role. He was recognized for solving three bomb threats and many other crimes. Officer Murphy quickly gained respect from the student body, faculty and other citizens of Bay City. After completing three years in the Community Policing Division, Officer Murphy went back to the Road Patrol Division. While working the Road Patrol, Officer Murphy worked to help solve several high profile homicide and CSC cases. In February of 2015, Ofc. Murphy was shot in the line of duty while tracking a suspect who was wanted in a B&E (Breaking & Entering). After being shot, Officer Murphy returned fire, striking the suspect several times.
EnviCare Consulting, Inc.
(president and owner),
a pastor, author, and food consultant,
Billy J. Strawter, Sr. is a native of Ty Ty, Georgia. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Fort Valley State University in Georgia. He worked for The Dow Chemical Company for 22 years. He is the president and owner of EnviCare Consulting, Inc, a pastor, author, and food consultant. He is the author of “Behind The Eyes of Juvenile Delinquents” and the developer of the Keys to Success materials designed to motivate individuals on a personal and professional level. He is the founder of the Omega-Alpha Foundation, which is designed to reach at risk youth and families. He is the cofounder of the Tri-county Youth for Christ Organization, Saginaw, MI.
Billy served as the Chaplain of the Saginaw County Juvenile Detention Center for the Tri-County Youth for Christ for 22 years. He was the coordinator of Saginaw Communities That Care program and currently serves as an Elder of Sunrise Baptist Church, Midland Michigan. He served on The Juvenile Center Advisory Council of Saginaw County and the Midland Area Chamber of Commerce Board. He visits the Brittany Nursing each month to encourage and inspire the residents. In 1979, he was named Midland’s Man of the Year by the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity for Outstanding Community Service. In 1980, he was voted one of the outstanding Men of America for Professional Achievement and Leadership Abilities. In 1989, he was honored with the Jitsuo Morikawa Evangelism award given by the Board of National Ministries of the American Baptist Churches.
In 1997, he was awarded the Martin Luther King Community Service Award, Midland, MI and the Midland Rotary Vocational Service Award. He received the 2001 Boy Scouts of America’s Whitney Young Community Service Award, Saginaw, MI.
His primary reason for community involvement is to offer hope to people in need. His mission is to motivate youth and adults to make a change and succeed in society by the grace of God regardless of the obstacles they face.
Retired Director of Development,
city of Saginaw,
Mr. Thorns is a globally astute executive with a proven track record in general manufacturing management, business line directorship, program management and human resource management, in the automobile industry. In addition, he has 7 years of experience as Director of Development, City of Saginaw, MI. He has also distinguished himself as a community servant wherever he has resided. He has balanced an outstanding career in industry and government with a dedicated lifetime of volunteer service.
In 1978 he became the 1st Black Plant Manager at Delco, the electrical component manufacturer and only the second black Plant Manager in all General Motors. After serving in other key manufacturing positions, he was promoted to General Director of Human Resources at Delco Remy in 1986. He retired from GM/Delphi in 2002 after 37 years of service.
He served as the Director of Development for the city of Saginaw, Michigan for 7 years. Here, he was responsible for Economic and Community Development. He has responsibility for Federal Housing Programs, Community Development Block Grants, Code Enforcement and Economic Development. The organization had major achievements in Neighborhood Revitalization by taking a strategic approach. More than 2000 blighted properties have been removed from the city over a 7-year period. More than 217 homes have been renovated or provided basic needs. The SEDC Small Business Lending program has been grown to a million-dollar business as it provides loans and counseling services to small business. His team has been a leader in Neighborhood Stabilization in the state. More than 25 million dollars in competitive grants have been awarded to the city and used for blight elimination, rebuilding homes and new home construction. In addition, a 35-unit senior housing development has been strategically built in the Covenant Hospital target area. A major area of focus has been the development of neighborhood associations with focus on community planning and engagement. The Saginaw community now has over 22 neighborhood associations throughout.
He has an extensive record as a volunteer in Civil Rights and community service. He began his work in Civil Rights as a field worker for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee in the Arkansas and Mississippi projects, having served time in jail many occasions, due to sit-in demonstrations in public accommodations. Of note he was beaten and jailed at a McDonald’s restaurant in 1963 for attempting to buy a hamburger. He was jailed at a segregated Public Library in Arkansas which would not serve Black youth. He also participated in the early voter’s registration drives. He also attended the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Upon graduating from college, He continued is volunteer work in civil rights in Indiana with focus on jobs and education. He served as NAACP Branch President, Anderson, IN, State President NAACP and Member of the National Board of NAACP during the tenure of Margaret Bush Wilson as Chair of the NAACP Board.
He is Chairman of the Board of the Bethel (Inner City Churches) Credit Union. He served on the Board of the Marshall Fredericks Sculpture Museum at Saginaw Valley State University.
• Treasurer and Vice President of the Bay City NAACP, Board Member of Cory Place and the Bay City YMCA
• Volunteer driver taking residents to doctors’ appointments, grocery shopping and to church.
• Voter registration and countless hours tutoring, feeding, clothing and helping students and their families.
Vice President of Global Security
for Dow Corning Corporation,
• President of the Midland Noon Rotary Club, Trustee at the Midland Area Community Foundation, the Legacy Center, and the Arts Center Stage.
• Chairs the Grants Committee for the Midland Area Community Foundation, hosts exchange students, mentors through the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Great Lake Bay Region.
• Created “The Big Give”, which has raised over $88,000 for Midland County nonprofits.
• Board member and volunteer at Emmaus House of Saginaw, a transitional home for young women with unique challenges.
• Volunteers with Great Lakes Bay Region Youth Leadership Institute. Volunteer driver for students to Delta College classes, and community residents to Michigan Works appointments, doctor appointments
• Volunteer newscaster for Delta College Public Radio, a Deacon at Frist Presbyterian Church, Member of Carrollton Lions Club and the Saginaw Rotary Club.