by Amirah Ransom

The Greater Canton Martin Luther King, Jr Commission put on its 30th Annual Mayors’ Breakfast in order to raise funds for scholarships.  This year’s Title Sponsor Employers Health took the lead in support of the mission to promote social justice, educational equality and non-violence in the community.  Other sponsors included SARTA, Hall of Fame, Shearers, Stark County Mental Health & Addiction Recovery, Stark County Educational Service Center, CSE, Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, AEP, Huntington, PNC, State Support Team, HP Products, Cleveland Clinic Mercy Hospital, Magnet, SCCAA, Temple Israel, Habitat for Humanity, Young Trucks, YMCA, Errand XPS 747, Terry Lee and Family, Elaine and Michael Reolfi Family and a host of individual companies and donors. 

A VIP reception was sponsored by SARTA for the second year at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the James Allen Family Gold Lounge for the featured speakers Doug Williams and James “Shack” Harris on the evening before the Breakfast. 

The theme Elevate…Educate drew an overflow crowd that spilled into the hallways and adjoining conference rooms.  Hotel management said it was the first time they had to utilize the atrium and conference rooms for an event.  Guests were given a buffet styled breakfast menu in Brenner fashion because of the elaborate table settings not usually seen for a breakfast event.  A fireside chat was moderated by Joe Horrigan, former vice president of the Football Hall of Fame as the featured speakers  talked of the challenges of staying motivated and being professional while experiencing racism during their football careers.  

Service Awards were given to:  Elayne Dunlap, Education Service Award, retired educator for Alliance City School District.  Fonda Williams, Community Service Award, Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Economic Development at the Economic and Community Institute, Inc., Don Ackerman, Religious Outreach Service Award, Crossroads United Methodist Church and the Business Service Award was given to Dr. Audra Martin and Haydee Thomas for the House of G.R.A.C.E. 

Gene DeChellis Scholarship Awards were given to : 

McKinley High School

Ava Brown who plans on attending Claflin University and pursuing criminal justice as a major. 

Celebrity Brown who plans on attending The Ohio State University and pursuing aviation as a major. 

Keith McLeod who plans on attending The Ohio State University and pursuing computer science as a major.

McCollum Scholarship Recipient from McKinley High School

Paris Stokes who plans on attending State University of New York at Fredonia and pursuing sports medicine as a major.

Massillon High School

Brayden Geier who plans on attending Cleveland State University and pursuing Film & Media Arts as a major.

Tess Rosler who plan on attending George Washington University and pursuing international relations as a major.

Committee Chair Krista L. Allison acknowledged that it was a team effort and wished to thank everyone involved who made the day a success.  Video and flipbook presentations are currently online at