Detroit mayor recognized as Goodfellow of the Year

By: Brendan Losinski | Advertiser Times | Published September 28, 2018

 Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is recognized as the Detroit Goodfellows Goodfellow of the Year for his work in improving Detroit and for his longtime support of the organization.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is recognized as the Detroit Goodfellows Goodfellow of the Year for his work in improving Detroit and for his longtime support of the organization.

Photo by Deb Jacques

 The Detroit Children’s Choir, including Daniel Edwards and Bretlin Perry, both 6 years old, performs at the Goodfellows Tribute Breakfast Sept. 25.

The Detroit Children’s Choir, including Daniel Edwards and Bretlin Perry, both 6 years old, performs at the Goodfellows Tribute Breakfast Sept. 25.

Photo by Deb Jacques

DETROIT — On Sept. 25, the Detroit Goodfellows gathered at Cobo Center to honor its Edward H. McNamara Goodfellow of the Year Award winner for 2018: Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

Once a year, the organization chooses one member of the Detroit community to recognize for bettering the lives of Detroit residents. Goodfellows leaders said Duggan was the choice not only for his work as mayor, but also for his longtime support of their efforts.

“Each year, we try to select an honoree who had done a lot for the city and region,” said Marshall Hunt, the president of the Detroit Goodfellows. “We were thrilled when (Duggan) accepted. He’s done so much for this region, and he was one of the founding members of the breakfast when we started it 29 years ago.”

Duggan told the crowd that there were few groups he would rather stand in front of than the Goodfellows.

“This really is an honor,” said Duggan. “The Goodfellows do so much good work for the city of Detroit, for them to recognize me is one of the most humbling things I can imagine.”

Hunt said Duggan’s work as mayor has done wonders for the people of Detroit.

“I like the impact he’s had on both downtown Detroit as well as the neighborhoods,” said Hunt. “He’s done a great job working with City Council and, as an accountant by trade, I appreciate his recognizing the benefits of taking advantage of measures like the earned income tax credit and qualified opportunity zones.”

Speakers at the event included Wayne County Executive Warren Evans, Detroit Police Chief and Deputy Mayor James Craig, Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones and Duggan himself.

Also included among the speakers was 12-year-old Anaiya Hall, whose family personally benefited from the Goodfellows when they fell on hard times. 

“If you need something, Goodfellows is a good place to come to, especially if you have children,” said Hall. “My family and me were unfortunate at one time, and the Goodfellows giving out Christmas packages meant so much to me. I felt really special and cared about. It was hard to believe there were people out there, who didn’t even know me, who cared that much.”

Also honored were the two Junior Goodfellow of the Year Award winners. Although the organization usually selects only one teen from the Detroit community to win the award, this year, the Detroit Goodfellows decided to honor two, as they thought both were worthy of recognition.

They are 17-year-old Davion Jackson, who has worked as a camp counselor for the S.A.Y. Play Center Summer of Success and served as a Big Brother to younger kids, and 14-year-old Taylor Robinson, who is a volunteer for Gleaners Community Food Bank and a Summer Jam Day Camp ambassador.

“It’s an honor and a blessing,” said Jackson. “I really thank my mother and family for making me a better man every day. … I never had a father growing up, but I am an older brother, so I thought I could fill that role for other kids too.”

“I feel very excited and I’m happy what I did got me this,” added Robinson. “I wanted to see what Detroit is, and I like helping out. … My advice is to always help each other and never be selfish.”

Hunt and his fellow Goodfellows hope that the breakfast will inspire others to pitch in and support their efforts.

“This year, we plan to give out 33,000 Christmas packages, and we hope everyone who needs one applies. Our motto is still ‘No kiddie without a Christmas,’” he said. “We also do other programs, like sponsoring summer camps, providing dental programs, offering scholarships and running shoe programs. We hope this breakfast will encourage others to help us in this mission.”