By Tricia Hall
The Truth Reporter
Mt. Nebo Baptist Church’s The Voice of Hope Outreach Ministry recognized 19 individuals during a banquet held on Sunday, March 5 at Premier Banquet Hall on Heatherdowns in Toledo. These local individuals were acknowledged as Silent Soldiers for their countless and selfless contributions to the community. The celebration host was Brother Larry Jones of Indiana Avenue Baptist Church and began with the entrance of the honorees.
“We are excited to celebrate these outstanding citizens that do silent work in our community. These awesome people were selected by a committee, and we’re excited to tell them and show them in front of the community and their family, just how much we appreciate their work. These silent soldiers are fighting every day. They may not be known by society, so today we tell these silent solders of God thank you,” shared Rev. Cedric Brock, pastor of Mt. Nebo Baptist Church.
“This is an awesome honor. It’s women’s history month and it’s an honor to be surrounded by all of these women, who have come together today as silent solders,” shared First Lady Natalyn Newson, honoree.
The 2023 Voice of Hope Honorees: Elder Iva Brassfield, Sister Andrea Whaley-Buford, Mother Frances Crenshaw, Sister Beatrice Daniels, Brother James Easter, Sister Annette Hannibal, First Lady Brooklynn Harris, Rev. Janice Carson Hearn, PhD, Sister Viola Hobbs, Rev. Travoy Horton, Sister Debra Jelks, Elder J. M. McKinney, Sister Naomi Martin, First Lady Celeste Mitchell, First Lady Natalyn Newson, First Lady Louise Parker, Sister Rose Perry, Minister Angela Savage, and First Lady Donna Trail.
Immediately following the standing ovation and loud applaud for each of the honorees and also a plaque. The plaque read, “Silent Foot Solder Award for your outstanding and faithful support as a spirit-lifter.” The program continued with invocation delivered by Bishop Christopher Rowell the pastor of The Refreshing Place, dinner, and a special presentation. Toledo City Councilwoman Cerssandra McPherson and Councilwoman Vanice Williams presented a proclamation to Voice of Hope.
“It’s an honor to assist Pastor Brock and The Voice of Hope Outreach Ministry in recognizing silent heroes. I commend the effort and the thought, we have so many people in our community that are working behind the scenes that rarely receive recognition for the work they are doing and the change that they are making in our community. Councilwoman Vanice and myself have put together a resolution recognizing the service of the outreach ministry at Mt. Nebo Baptist Church,” said McPherson.
“I’m happy to be here and support Pastor Brock and Mt. Nebo’s The Vision of Hope Outreach Ministry. It’s always a great thing to recognize those heroes that nobody knows about. So often we focus on those in front of the camera or in front of the lights, but there are so many people that have to complete the behind-the-scenes work to keep those lights shinning. I’m so glad to be here with my colleague, Councilwoman McPherson to celebrate these deserving individuals,” said Williams.
The banquet continued with musical selections by First Lady Debra Brock of Mt. Nebo Baptist Church, instrumental music performed by Kalvin Hughes Jazz Trio, greetings by program partners, and a special presentation to the honorees by Sister Geraldine Scrutchins of St. Paul A.M.E. Zion Church.
Of the 62 partners, several were individuals, companies, faith-based institutions and elected officials. Each of the partners was granted a brief opportunity to address the audience including Dale-Riggs Funeral Home, Family Foods, J’Maes Home Cooking, Northwest Baptist Association, Toledo Muslim Association and Judge Nicole Khoury.
The banquet is the 21st annual program. The Voice Hope Outreach Ministry was envisioned by Rev. Cedric Brock, pastor of Mt. Nebo Baptist Church which is located on North Detroit Ave. and for over 17 years has sponsored numerous banquets to recognize unsung local heroes from throughout the city.
Over the course of the ministry’s 17 year history, several community activities have been organized including: a radio ministry heard on 1520 AM and 95.7 FM since 1996, Adopt a Haircut ministry which is held at Poor Clark’s Barbershop which offers free haircuts for youth once per month, Adopt a Belt Outreach Ministry which provides free belts, Coat-give-a-way in partnership with Macy’s Department Store where approximately 200 coats were donated, Good Friday Ham give-a-way, Back to School give-a-way, a weekly broadcast on NOW network, advocating for mental health issues and providing mentoring tools for a successful life. In addition to honoring the silent solders, socks were donated to local children.
“Last year we gave away 1,200 socks and this year we’re giving away 2,500 socks. Important because it’s important that our babies have clean socks,” shared Rev. Brock.