Florist demonstrates MLK’s teachings, honored as community leader
Posted January 29, 2014
WEST BLOOMFIELD — During the 20th anniversary United We Walk, Wesley Berry, West Bloomfield resident and owner of Wesley Berry Flowers and flowerdeliveryexpress.com, was honored with the Community Leadership Recognition Award Jan. 19.
“We’re very fortunate to have him as one of our business partners in the community,” said Michael Patton, police chief and United We Walk co-chair.
The United We Walk event celebrates the dedication and dream of equality of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. United We Walk Committee members and residents marched down Orchard Lake Road, honoring the life of King.
In 2009, the United We Walk Committee created the Community Leadership Recognition Award, and since then, members of the community have been nominated and one member has been selected annually based on selfless community involvement. Previous honorees include Brian Flaggs, Dan Navarre and Clara Bohrer.
A unanimous vote is needed for selecting the Community Leader, and after more than three meetings, a subcommittee selected Berry, according to Patton.
“This is our community, and we take great pride in it,” Berry said after the event. “I want to try to contribute in whatever ways we can.”
“I think the committee … picked the loser by mistake,” he joked.
This year’s United We Walk theme was United We Remember, Celebrate, Act. Patton said that when selecting the Community Leader, the subcommittee placed emphasis on the “act” part of the event.
“We want people to go out and do acts that will benefit the community and encourage all things positive in West Bloomfield,” Patton said.
Berry has been a longtime supporter of community events in West Bloomfield and the metro Detroit area, including the West Bloomfield Optimist Club, the Rotary Club and the West Bloomfield Educational Foundation. In addition to supporting the United We Walk event, Berry has honored King’s memory by giving away more than 168,000 roses in the last 13 years.
At each of the Wesley Berry Flowers shops, a free dozen roses are given to any adult who visits the shop between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on King’s national birthday celebration. The only requirement is that Berry asks anyone who takes a dozen roses to give 11 roses away to strangers.
“It’s that kind of outreach that we thought really symbolized the teaching of Martin Luther King about diversity and inclusiveness and reaching out to strangers,” Patton said.
The flower event does make a large impact on the community, Berry said. Assuming everyone plays the game the right way, 12,000 people get a rose and are touched by the effort.
Flaggs, an acquaintance of Berry and a former Community Leader Award winner, presented Berry with a plaque at the event, and Berry’s name was added to the historical plaque displayed at the high school.
“I am humbled and honored to be chosen for my small contribution that I make by my effort to increase friendship and compassion in the tradition of Dr. King,” Berry said upon receiving the award.
Berry is a second-generation florist who graduated from Oakland Technical Center in 1975, completing the Floriculture & Agriscience Program. In 1981, he completed the FTD Master Florist Manager Certification Program, according to his biography.
In 2008, Berry netted prestigious awards for his business reputation and quality of service, and in the past, he has received the Opti Award from the West Bloomfield Optimist Club. The public service recognition award is given to community members who have exemplary community service.
“He’s one of those people who’s just incredibly involved. … Wherever you turn, he’s one of the folks who’s always there,” said Jay Wiseman, West Bloomfield fire chief. “He still is, to this day, a very active member of the Optimist Club and all of its various activities.”
“We take very seriously our impact to the community,” Berry said.
For more information, visit www.wesleyberry.net.
About the author
Staff Writer Cari DeLamielleure-Scott covers West Bloomfield, Orchard Lake, Keego Harbor, Sylvan Lake and the West Bloomfield Schools and Walled Lake Community Schools districts for the Beacon. Cari has worked for C & G Newspapers since 2013 and attended Madonna University.
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