Thursday, January 5, 2017
Atlantic County will honor the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at its 30th annual ceremony commemorating his birthday. The ceremony will feature the presentation of the Community Spirit awards to four outstanding residents who exemplify his principles through their involvement in the community and their efforts to improve the lives of their fellow citizens.
This year’s honorees will be recognized on Friday, January 13 at 11 AM at the county office building in Atlantic City. They include Bill and Tammy Schmincke of Egg Harbor Township and Kelsey and Kim Jackson, owners and operators of two Atlantic City restaurants.
"It is my privilege to present our Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Spirit awards to the Schminckes and the Jacksons, four compassionate individuals who are making a difference in our communities by sharing the gifts of their experiences for the betterment of all," said County Executive Dennis Levinson. "They are tremendous representatives of the generosity of spirit that we uphold in Atlantic County."
The Schminckes founded the Stop the Heroin organization to help educate the community and raise awareness of the heroin epidemic which contributed to nearly 1,600 drug-related deaths in New Jersey in 2015. The Schmincke’s lost their 26-year old son Steven to a heroin overdose in March 2016. The organization also raises money to help people transition to sober living after rehabilitation. This past December the Schminckes opened a sober living home in Pleasantville in memory of their son called "Steven’s Place" to help addicts overcome their addictions.
Kelsey and Kim Jackson both attended Atlantic Cape Community College prior to becoming entrepreneurs. Kelsey worked in several local restaurants, starting as a dishwasher and busboy before earning an opportunity to cook. Kim has a degree in business and a certificate in baking. They now provide internships to area culinary students at Kelsey and Kim’s Southern Cafe and Kelsey’s restaurant, both highly-acclaimed and featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and the Food Network. They also volunteer their time and talents to help raise money for culinary scholarships as members of the Professinal Chefs Association as well as supporting several community organizations including Sister Jean’s Kitchen, Atlantic City Rescue Mission, and Atlantic County Youth Advocate Programs.
The keynote address will be presented by The Honorable Mark Sandson, a lifelong county resident and highly respected Superior Court Judge who presides over the Atlantic County Drug Court. Judge Sandson is also a 2005 MLK Community Spirit award recipient.