Rev. David Anderson speaks to the crowd at MCLA's Church Street Center after being honored with the Peacemaker Award on Monday afternoon.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Officials, volunteers and other community members celebrated Northern Berkshire's 20th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration and the service of the Rev. David Anderson, who was honored with this year's Peacemaker Award on Monday afternoon at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' Church Street Center.
"I think he might want us to think about all the different ways that we can serve our community," said Lois Daunis of the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition. "First and foremost, as part of a faith community, but also, looking for ways that all of us throughout the year can find opportunities to help one another and to help organizations.
"If anything at all, in my world, pastor Dave Anderson is a role model for that."
Anderson began his stint at First Baptist Church in 1994 as the director of Christian education and Camp Ashmere. In 2006, he began his service as a pastor. He also serves as a chaplain to the Fire Department and the Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice of Northern Berkshire. Furthermore, he serves on the ethics committee at North Adams Regional Hospital and the Rx/Heroin Work Group at the coalition.
"You are truly, Pastor Dave, a superstar of the community," said Mayor Richard Alcombright as he presented the Peacemaker plaque to Anderson.
Lois Daunis of the coalition praises Anderson.
Anderson then spoke about hope and how the community needs to aspire for better.
"Here's my big audacious dream for our community -- that we together work to change the culture of North Adams," Anderson said. "And that we see people moving from a sense and a state of despair to people who are hope-filled. That's my dream for our community this year and I look forward to continue to work alongside a lot of you to achieve that dream together."
Prior to the award presentation and lunch at the center, volunteers worked at various sites around the area. According to Steve Green, who serves on the board of directors at the coalition, more than 300 volunteers participated. Some projects included weatherization homes through Berkshire Community Action Council , mitten and scarf knitting and assembling personal kits for servicemen.
Jason Brown, a senior environmental studies major and the Student Government Association president at MCLA, led a group to the Salvation Army and a couple other sites for weatherization and maintenance.
"All the guys are appreciative of the community," Brown said of his group, which included members of the red-hot Trailblazers basketball team, who are currently unbeaten through five conference games.
The lunch was
provided served by the Student Conservation Association, an environmental-focused group of AmeriCorps. The food was provided by MCLA, Berkshire Food Project, Boston Seafood and other donations. In addition, the Drury Jazz Band played a brief set and Otha Day led a community singing of "Lift Every Voice and Sing."
Also in attendance were state Sen. Benjamin B. Downing, D-Pittsfield, and Rep. Gailanne Cariddi, D-North Adams.