Thursday, December 13, 2007

In Memory of DeAnn White - A Special Recognition

Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” I can’t agree more – and one of those thoughtful, committed citizens was DeAnn White.

On December 6, 2007, I was honored by my peers in the public relations industry with the PRSA Philadelphia Chapter award named in DeAnn White's memory. I began my acceptance speech with the amazing words of Margaret Mead. I wish to share my thoughts of DeAnn as I am so blessed to have been touched by her story and memory.

My words were as follows:

The DeAnn White Achievement Award honors the memory of a Philadelphia journalist and PR professional whose life was cut short at age 25 in the tragic Pier 34 collapse. DeAnn was not only one of our peers, but she was a trailblazer for African-American women . . . a true role model. She was an advocate for education, children, her Baptist ministry, and the Multiple Sclerosis Society -- to name a few. Just the thought, let alone the reality, of being bestowed this honor humbles me.

And while I am delighted and honored to be the 2007 recipient of the DeAnn White Award, it is not about me – it is about others. It is about the people who work in public service. It is about the countless hours we all donate to our community. It is about remembering the legacy of DeAnn White. And it is about fostering the ideals of giving back in our community. I share this recognition with everyone in this room – as so many of you give back in so many ways. Since this award is only given once a year, I hold it in trust on behalf of our profession.

This honor is a true testament to how much local public relations professionals value philanthropy and volunteerism. This is an award in memory of a fallen hero, DeAnn White and of our industry’s shared commitment to giving back.

I will keep DeAnn's family and friends in my prayers as I know that love is a true gift from God and her family's loss is one that is incomprehensible.

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