“When he was young, King was in an environment where he saw a lot of the struggles that were going on across our nation, and he wanted to commit his life to that journey, and we see the results of his life today,” he said.
“King said love has the capacity to transform an enemy to a friend. This is the love he continued to speak about in his writings,” Adams continued. “This is the love he talked about, the love he wanted for our nation, for us to come together and have conversations.”
People who don’t know each other don’t communicate with each other, he pointed out.
“I ask you, are you communicating with your fellow man?” Adams asked. “Are you truly getting an opportunity to understand something different, that you may not have known before? Or, do you listen to the same news station, radio station, go to the same church and have the same friends? … King wanted us to challenge the self.”
The concept of forgiveness also was central to King’s philosophy, he said, as was good people remaining silent when oppression and cruelty are present and they don’t speak up.
“What are you doing to bring people together?” Adams asked the audience. “Each one of you can change the world around you. … Curiosity is in the DNA of every Airman.”
Following the presentation of a token of appreciation to Adams for his speech, McDonald gave the 2017 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award in the military category to Capt. Matthew Masters, CBRN Survivability Research and Development program manager, 711th Human Performance Wing, United States Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine. Masters serves as a scoutmaster, volunteer at Erma’s House for high-risk visitations and is a sponsor, along with his wife, of a family of refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Darybel Ortiz, an employee at the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, was given the 2017 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award in the civilian category for initiating and leading hurricane relief efforts for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. She coordinated transportation of more than 20 million pounds of aid – the largest single cargo shipment of humanitarian relief ever to be delivered to a natural disaster.
The 2017 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award in the team category went to the Aeromedical Consult Service, Internal Medicine Branch, 711 HPW. They prepared and served several hundred meals and facilitated donation drives for the House of Bread, a daily community kitchen feeding the hungry in Dayton. The branch also provided meals to cover weekends to dozens of Dayton schoolchildren and collected disaster relief essentials to be sent to Puerto Rico. They also serve on the USAFSAM Morale Committee to provide services to military members and brighten the holidays of deployed members.
Members of the MLK Luncheon Committee were 1st Lt. Chandlee Jackson, 1st Lt. Adam Brubakken, 1st Lt. Loyd Bradley, 1st Lt. Deion Hardy, 2nd Lt. Destinee Elliott, 2nd Lt. Stephen Maroko and 1st Lt. Robert Boehm.