2008 TORCH AWARDS HONOREES
Robert & Faye Davidson
Robert and Faye share a strong commitment to community involvement and voluntary service. Faye began her music career as one of the first female announcers working KACE/FM and KAGB for over ten years, where she hosted many celebrities in the entertainment field. Robert’s passion for business is only matched by his passion for community involvement. He is retired Chairman and CEO of Surface Protection Industries, which he started in 1978, and became one of the top African American owned manufacturing companies in California. They both serve on numerous boards and Robert presently sits on the board of Morehouse College, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and University of Chicago Graduate School Advisory Council, to name a few. They are known for their service and philanthropic support to Morehouse College. In 1998, the President’s residence was named the Davidson House, A center for Excellence, in their honor.
Bob & Faye Davidson, Holly Robinson-Peete, Artis Lane, Yoland & Michael Fletcher, Evern Cooper Epps, Timothy Robinson
Holly Robinson-Peete & Rodney Peete
Holly Robinson Peete is a model and television actress whose career spans almost 20 continuous years. Her husband, Rodney Peete, is a veteran NFL quarterback known for his winning attitude and leadership skills. Their careers have been a balancing act, but it is overshadowed by their love for the HollyRod Foundation, which they co-founded. They are known for their tireless commitment and dedication to providing medical, physical and emotional support to those suffering with debilitating life circumstances, especially Parkinson’s disease and autism.
Artis Lane, world renown visual artist; sculptor and printmaker. Ms. Lane’s works can be seen in the Smithsonian Institute, the University of Missouri Library, AT & T’s Collection, the offices of Motown Records and numerous private galleries. The recipient of numerous awards, including the Women of Excellence Award from the Chatham-Ken Family YMCA in Canada, the Museum of African American Art Award in Los Angeles, and the Women for Women Award from the Martin Luther King, Jr. General Hospital Foundation. Her work spans 60 year. Her most recent sculptural and metaphysical pieces reflect her continuing evolution as a woman and an artist.
2008 Adopt-A-Family Sr. Airman 1st Class Michael & Yolanda Fletcher
Michael celebrated his fourth year in March 2008 and Yolanda served two years until Michael’s tragic accident in 2005. Senior Airman Michael Fletcher’s life took a drastic detour on August 12, 2005 after two months into deployment. He was on a routine reconnaissance mission in Iraq, when his vehicle flipped over. He nearly lost his life at the young age of 20, and had to be resuscitated twice. He was riding in the gunner position on a Humvee. He was wearing body armor but it did not prevent his left arm from being severed after the first role and the second role he was thrown from the Humvee landing face first. He lost a significant portion of his mid face crushing his orbital bones including his nose and the top palette in his mouth. He also lost his left eye and left arm and suffered nerve damage throughout his body. Michael was med evacuated out of Iraq into Kuwait. On the way, his heart stopped twice. He was given two blood transfusions, and initially his body rejected. He was given twenty hours to live, and eventually survived the trauma. This was the beginning of over fifteen separate surgeries over the next two years. His next challenge was the rebuilding of his nose. Michael wanted his nose rebuilt, so Dr. Patrick Byrne, along with a team of 40 medical specialists from John Hopkins University School of Medicine, made medical history. The surgeons performed more than 40 hours of reconstructive surgery with the first surgery, 60 hospital check-ups and tests, a 16 hour emergency operation to deal with a wound infection, and six separate operations just on Michael’s nose. They pieced together more than a dozen bits of bone, cartilage skin, arteries and veins to rebuild his nose. Michael continues to receive medical care. But the pain did not stop there, while his family was at his bedside, Hurricane Katrina destroyed his family’s home in New Orleans. The organization awarded the Fletcher’s keys to a new environmentally friendly vehicle, housing accommodation for a year, and a scholarship for Michael to attend Dale Carnegie Institute.
Mrs. Evern Cooper-Epps is the former President of the United Parcel Foundation and Vice-President of Corporate Relations. Under her direction since 1998, The UPS Foundation expanded its support of global philanthropic programs in the crucial areas of literacy, hunger relief, and volunteerism. Epps identified and supported organizations and programs with which The UPS Foundation established partnerships for positive and lasting impact on the disenfranchised, under-served and under-represented. A native of Detroit, Mich., Epps attended Michigan University, with continuing education at Emory University and Harvard School of Business. A UPS employee for more than 32 years. She held significant positions during her UPS career. Epps was the 4th president in the Foundations 56 year history, she led the Foundation through its most dynamic period of growth and change. UPS became the largest contributor in the world to the United Way by contributing more than $50 million in three consecutive years and still leads today.
UPS Vice President – Timothy Robinson
Founded in 1907 as a messenger company in the United States, it has grown into a $43.6 billion corporation by clearly focusing on the goal of enabling commerce around the globe. Today UPS is a global company with one of the most recognized and admired brands in the world. It is the world’s largest package delivery company and a leading global provider of specialized transportation and logistics services. They serve more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. It continues to reinvent itself in order to provide new and innovative ways to meet the demands of their customers efficiently. UPS has long practiced environmentally conscious innovations, such as operating the world’s largest fleet of compressed natural gas vehicles. UPS is celebrating 100 years as the world’s largest package delivery company and a leading global provider of specialized transportation and logistics services, Tim Robinson, Vice-President West Los Angeles District, accepted the award.
After nearly 38 years of service, Southwest Airlines continues to differentiate itself from other low fare carriers?offering a reliable product with exemplary Customer Service. Southwest recently updated its gate areas and improved its boarding procedure to make flying Southwest convenient and simple.
Southwest Airlines currently serves 65 cities in 33 states (Boston Logan service begins Fall 2009). Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates more than 3,200 flights a day and has more than 35,000 employees system wide. Southwest started service to Los Angeles in 1982 and today, the airline operates more than 120 daily flights to 18 destinations from Los Angeles, with additional direct or connecting service to 40 cities.
Al B. Sure was introduced to the entertainment business by famed songwriter, Ellie Greenwich. At the age of ten years old, Ellie invited Al to participate in the creation of the theme song for Sesame Place Parks; the theme parks inspired by the PBS children’s show Sesame Street. He worked with Quincy Jones on the gold single, Secret Garden, accompanied by Mr. Barry White, El Debarge, and James Ingram. Al is an award winning singer including Grammy nominations, over 30 ASCAP awards, songwriter, business entrepreneur and former Vice President of Motown, and radio host of Slow Jams Radio on Hot 92.3.
Ladies Beverly Ryder, Brenda McDowell, Stasia Washington, Lorna Johnson, Lisa Chevalier, Honoree Al B. Sure, Jacqueline Castillo, Barbara Coleman, Loretta Williams and Patricia Gibson