The Love Akron Network, a broad coalition of professional clergy and Christian leaders in the public and private sectors, will welcome former Major League Baseball player and current President and CEO of ASW Global, LLC, André Thornton, as the keynote speaker for the group’s fifth annual awards event Tuesday, Sept. 27.
Thornton is the president and CEO of ASW Global, LLC. He played professional baseball for 21 years and was an honored recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award in 1979. He spent 10 seasons with the Cleveland Indians where he was a two-time All-Star and received the coveted Silver Slugger Award in 1984. Additionally, Thornton was inducted into the Ohio Baseball Hall of Fame and the Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame. He continues to speak nationally on executive leadership, organizational change and diversity and is co-author of the book “Triumph Born of Tragedy.”
This event, which was attended by over 650 people last year, will highlight the good works of The Love Akron Network within our city and surrounding communities. The event will also recognize the extraordinary leadership, deep faith and community contributions of the late and beloved Honorable Judge Brenda Burnham Unruh. The Brenda Unruh Servant Award was named in her honor, and this year will be given to Dorothy O. Jackson in recognition of her outstanding Christian character and outreach to the Akron community.
Jackson has long been a faithful servant leader in our community, serving in several social service organizations, followed by nearly 20 years as the Deputy Mayor for the City of Akron. She has won many awards over her decades of service to the community, including the Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award, United Way’s Distinguished Service Award, and the Urban League’s Community Service Award.
She has also been inducted into the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame. The Dorothy O. Jackson Terrace, a housing development for people with disabilities, was named in her honor.
The Fowler-Larson Allies Award will be given in recognition of the leadership and intentional, bridge-building relationship of Pastors Ronald J. Fowler and Knute Larson. This year’s recipients are pastors Bryndon Glass and Rick MceKee.
Glass and Mckee have known each other for many years, with their respective churches regularly coming together for worship and ministry. After several high-profile police shootings two years ago, the two teamed up to host a community conversation on racial issues called “The Crossover”. This event was held at the Stow campus of Christ Community and included a potluck dinner, along with a town hall style Q&A regarding racial issues.
Glass is the founder and senior pastor of the Shepherd’s Pasture for All Nations Church (SPAN Ministries). While a student at Kent State University he co-founded the Voices of Testimony gospel choir and corresponding Bible study, which was later turned into the Impact Movement, both of which are still active organizations on the KSU campus today. Pastor Glass was ordained to the pastorate by Bishop Joey Johnson of The House of the Lord and is an active member of the Johnson Leadership Institute and the Beth-El Fellowship of Visionary Churches.
McKee is the Senior Pastor of Christ Community Chapel’s Stow Campus. He served college students early in his ministry through Campus Crusade for Christ before joining the staff of Hudson Community Chapel. Pastor McKee formed a team of 70 congregants to begin a church plant in Stow, which was then known as Crossroads Community Chapel. Under his leadership, the church has experienced a period of tremendous growth – and with the blessing of its parent church – hopes to become an independent church, Redemption Chapel, in 2017.
The breakfast will take place Tuesday, Sept. 27, with doors opening at 6:30 a.m.; the program begins promptly at 7 a.m. and will last until 8:30 a.m. Open seating is available at a cost of $50 per person. Reservations will be taken until the day of the event, pending availability. To RSVP, visit thebreakfast.loveakron.org, or call the Love Akron office at (330) 384-8124.