Grand Rapids Community College students Todd Johnson and Kyle J. Macklin were each awarded the Milo M. Brown Scholarship Saturday night at the Devos Place as part of the Giants Awards, a yearly event honoring African-Americans who have had a great impact in the community.
The Giants Among Giants Award was presented to Ingrid Scott-Weekley for her decades of service to Grand Rapids. As an administrator and proponent of diversity in the community, she directed Grand Rapids in equal opportunity hiring and fair housing and championed minority and woman-owned businesses.
“One of the wonderful things about these awards is that they are named after people who are notable in our own Grand Rapids history,” said GRCC President Steven Ender during his opening remarks. “We are blessed in Grand Rapids to have such a rich heritage in community service.”
Milo M. Brown, the namesake of the scholarships, was a prominent African-American business leader in Grand Rapids during the early 20th century and was also active in Better Business Bureau, Chamber of Commerce, Urban League and many other local organizations.
“I see pictures of those who have sacrificed for … my education,” wrote Todd Johnson in his application for the scholarship. “That’s why I stand here … in Grand Rapids Community College with the hope for young African American men on this journey of their education.”
Johnson, 49, is working on a Criminal Justice degree with a focus in social work and, once he’s finished college, hopes to spend some time doing motivational work and youth outreach.
“… You must make an investment in life, in order to get something out of it,” he wrote, “not (to) just expect it to be handed to you.”
Both recipients offered encouragement to others working toward difficult goals.
“Hard work and dedication will get you to where your goals lie,” Macklin said after the event. At 20-years-old, he, too, is working on a Criminal Justice degree and hopes to go to work as a Kent County police officer when he’s finished.
Hundreds of onlookers offered their support and congratulations to each winner as they stepped on stage, and they offered their gratitude in return.
Johnson and Macklin will both be returning to GRCC next fall.