Coastal Carolina Community College held its 6th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service Ceremony, Jan. 20. The ceremony, which was cohosted by the Minority Male Success Initiative (MMSI), began with a ceremony and ended with students going to perform community service.

The ceremony began with several students speaking, and an opening prayer by Minister Tracie Miller. Erica Savage Wilson was this year’s keynote speaker and is the director of Outreach and Veteran Engagement.

“I was truly honored to be invited to speak today,” said Wilson. “Being able to come and talk about Dr. King and his mission of togetherness and forward progression was so important.”

Wilson spent 10 years in federal service and then went to the private sector, where she now trains and manages teams of officers who are responsible for reviewing and researching extensive data specific to Iraq War veterans and their impacted families.

Elmer Price, an Early Engagement Student Success Coach who spent 21 years in the Marine Corps and has been at CCCC for 15 years, was given an award for True Dedication for his years of service. A surprise presentation included video congratulations from members of Price’s family who could not attend. Price began coordinating annual Days of Service six years ago.

“Price’s work with the Minority Male Success Initiative inspired me to come and support the work they do,” said Wilson. “It is so important to pay it forward. It is amazing how many men have gone from CCCC to a good four year college, since this initiative began.”

“I was not expecting this,” said Price. “We had planned this out to the minute, I do not know how everyone kept it a secret from me. I am truly humbled.”

Price retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2000 and went to college at Campbell University on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.

“I did not go to college until after I got out of the Corps,” said Price. “That’s why this initiative is so important to me. It is important that students feel supported and are informed and have everything they need to succeed.”

Following the ceremony, CCCC students went to volunteer with the Jacksonville United Way’s Children Healthy Eating on Weekends program. This program is designed to combat hunger in Onslow County.