The Roy Blunt Literacy Citation Award luncheon took place this Tuesday, April 19, for the 21st consecutive year.
The award was developed by Senator Blunt in 1991 to promote literacy volunteer work throughout communities in Northwest Missouri. Anyone can become eligible for the award as long as they complete volunteer literacy activities in a unique way and with a huge impact.
Many Missouri Western faculty and literacy volunteers were in attendance for the event. Guest speakers from Western and the St. Joseph community were on hand to speak at the luncheon.
While attendees were enjoying their lunch they were able to watch a couple videos put together by nominees for the Literacy Citation Award. The videos featured many people that were impacted by the generosity of those who volunteer their time to help promote the importance of reading.
Pastor Ernestine Blakley was one of the guest speaker’s at the event as well as one of the nominees for the award. Pastor Blakley said she visits 30-35 locations per year to read books to children and elderly. She is part of the group called “HOPE Outreach,” which stands for “Helping Other People Excel.”
“We started Hope Outreach on June 13th, 1994,” said Blakley. “We started taking books to several locations and reading to children.”
Senator Blunt had some very choice things to say about his award, those who work so hard to be eligible for it and those who are impacted by the volunteers. Blunt also talked about reaching out to people in a new ways that make the comfortable like using Twitter and Facebook.
“If you do not have basic literary skills the you can’t communicate,” said Blunt. “We want make sure that everyone has access to literary skills.
“Congratulations for all the hard work the people here today have done,” said Blunt.
Western President Dr. Vartabedian has some very strong words about Senator Blunt and the importance of this award.
“Senator Blunt is a modified renaissance man,” said Vartabedian. “He has been a champion of literacy.”
Pastor Ernestine Blakley was selected to receive the Roy Blunt Literary Citation Award for all of her hard work she has done throughout Northwest Missouri. Blakley was very appreciative of the award and happy to receive it.
“I truly share this award with everyone here today,” said Blakley. “Literacy is a life skill and when we promote it we are giving life skills.”