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Monmouth University held its annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unsung Hero Award Ceremony on January 29 in the Stafford Student Center, Anacon Hall. 

The 2013 Award winners are:

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Honorary Unsung Hero Award:

  • Tracey Keelen & Russ Gehweiler, Jr. (Tracey and Russ are lifeguards from Brick who saved the lives of 40 people in Brick during Superstorm Sandy. During the storm, they kept going back to rescue people after the National Guard declared the town evacuated.)
  • Jeannette Van Houten (Jeannette and her niece Alexandra Van Houten from Union Beach scoured the neighborhood for washed up photos after Superstorm Sandy. They restored the damaged photos and returned the treasured photo memories to their owners.)

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unsung Hero Award:

  • Susan Damaschke: coordinator of Transitions and Leadership Programs, Monmouth University
  • John Patrick Dunne: student, Monmouth University
  • David Alfonse: teacher at the Marine Academy of Science and Technology (MAST)

The MLK, Jr. Unsung Hero Award recognizes people from Monmouth University and the greater community who exemplify Dr. King’s spirit, life, teachings, and commitment to service.

This year’s keynote speaker was Reverend Gil Caldwell, a longtime civil rights activist who went to school with Dr. King and participated in the “Mississippi Freedom Summer” of 1964, the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965, and the March on Washington.