Longtime MLK Task Force member receives two community service awards

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published February 6, 2019

 Total Living Commission Chair Veronica Leonard and Southfield Mayor Ken Siver present Martin Luther King Jr. Task Force President Patricia Haynie with a community service award Jan. 21 at the Southfield Pavilion.

Total Living Commission Chair Veronica Leonard and Southfield Mayor Ken Siver present Martin Luther King Jr. Task Force President Patricia Haynie with a community service award Jan. 21 at the Southfield Pavilion.

Photo provided by the city of Southfield

SOUTHFIELD — After overcoming numerous health challenges, a longtime member of the Martin Luther King Jr. Task Force was presented with two community service awards.

MLK Task Force president and longtime Southfield resident Patricia Haynie was honored Jan. 21 at the annual MLK Peace Walk Celebration at the Southfield Pavilion.

Haynie received the 2019 MLK Community Service Award from the task force, as well as the 2018 Greg Kennedy Community Service Award from the city of Southfield.

An active member of the task force since 1987, Haynie is currently serving her third term as the organization’s president.

“Every year — and in fact, this will be year 33 — we present this award to a dedicated individual who serves the needs of the community and in their life works we see some similarities to Dr. King,” Community Service Award Committee Chair Dorothy Dean said. “We do not take this award lightly.”

Originally established in 1999 to honor the legacy of community activist and resident Greg Kennedy, the goal of the Greg Kennedy Community Service Award is to encourage residents to engage in public service.

Haynie is known for her extensive community service and humanitarian efforts throughout the city, and specifically, her work with the community’s youth.

“As you can imagine, she embodies the qualities that the service award is all about. She has a volunteer record that is remarkable in length, and she has brought to us her dedication to guiding and mentoring people and organizations,” Dean said.

In 2017, Haynie introduced and organized the first MLK Freedom Ride, which took 27 students from schools throughout Oakland and Wayne counties on a tour of several historical civil rights sites around the U.S. Last year, the program expanded to add more students.

Before retiring in 2012, Haynie was also the first woman and person of color in the state to serve as a field director for the National Education Association. In that position, she represented teachers and support personnel in Southfield for over a decade.

Haynie also served as a founding member of the Oakland County chapter of the National Congress of Black Women and is a member of Delta Sigma Theta, the Southfield Democratic Club and the Michigan State University Black Alumni Association.

“You know, for over 30 years I served communities by trying to improve the working conditions of teachers and school employees because I truly believe (that) by improving their conditions, I would improve the learning conditions of children,” Haynie said.

Through tears, Haynie said she has suffered three massive heart attacks and two strokes. Her doctor encouraged her to dive into the charge of the task force.

“It was more than just a job for me. It was a mission, and when I was forced to retire due to health issues, I was devastated. I was lost … but I had a wonderful doctor to help me understand that I could still be of value and of service to my community.”

Haynie said she is proud of the task force and hopes to keep King’s dream alive.

“Everyone tells me that God isn’t through with me yet, and I believe what he has for me to do lies somewhere in the task force helping to keep Dr. King’s dream alive and pass his legacy on to the next generation,” she said.