By Hope Snipes

CLEMSON — Two people received the 2010 Martin Luther King Jr. Awards for Excellence in Service at the recent 28th Annual MLK Commemorative Service.  

One student recipient and one faculty-staff recipient were selected this year.

The recipients have exemplified excellence in service in one or more of the following areas: service to Clemson University or the surrounding community, a commitment to diversity and community-building, Civil Rights advocacy or service above and beyond direct employment.

The 2010 student recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. Award for Excellence in Service was Derrick Blanding, a freshman education major from Pendleton and member of the Call Me MISTER program.

Blanding launched Camp Courage, an organization that meets every Tuesday at the Pendleton Library. Camp Courage offers mentoring and tutoring to 8- to 12-year-old children, as well as exposure to new opportunities. He also is involved with Camp Proverbs, a program established to assist young men through biblical principles.

As a freshman, Blanding was awarded the Call Me MISTER Servant Leadership Award, the Call Me MISTER Participation Award and the Camp Proverbs Most Outstanding Participants Award. Additionally, he has served as a tutor and teacher’s aide for Riverside Middle School and Mt. Lebanon Elementary School.

Blanding received a $250 cash stipend with the award.

The faculty-staff recipient was Paulette Grate, a staff member at Clemson’s Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life and an actively involved resident of Pendleton.

Grate has worked in her community to create opportunities, especially for local disadvantaged-ethnic minorities. With her involvement in churches, child abuse prevention, and civic associations she has transformed her community.

Grate has been called “a contemporary Florence Nightingale.” Her achievements include being an outreach worker in STRONG Communities, an initiative to prevent child maltreatment; coordinator of active neighborhood associations; and parish nurse for her community.

Grate has received the South Carolina Professional Society on the Abuse of Children State Award for Community Service, state award for Minority Health Promotion, the regional award as Cutting-Edge Health Care Innovator in minority health, the county award for Health Care Leader in minority health, the county Missionary (African-American) Baptist Association award for Outstanding Woman Health Care Professional and twice won the Clemson University Staff Excellence Award.

Grate received a $250 grant, which will be awarded to the campus or community organization of her choice.

Each of the recipients received a personal plaque and their names will be placed on a perpetual plaque, which hangs in the Chief Diversity Office in Sikes Hall.

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