The annual Martin Luther King, Jr. awards will honor three Fresno educators on Friday — and include a special unveiling of a bronze bust of the late Rutherford “Bud” Gaston, civic leader and Fresno Unified’s first African American principal.
Former community college trustee Dorothy “Dottie” Smith, Fresno County schools Superintendent Jim Yovino, and former Gaston principal Steve Gonzalez will each receive awards at the event at Gaston , the new southwest Fresno middle school named after Gaston. Well-Being Senior Solutions, an in-home care company for the elderly, is also receiving an award. The event has been held at City Hall in past years.
Gail Gaston, wife of Gaston’s nephew and one of the event organizers, said the event comes just as a bust of Gaston was finished and ready to be installed in the new school’s lobby. Moving the event to the school was a convenient way to recognize Gaston and the honorees.
The annual event honors community, civic, education and government leaders. Last year’s award was given to Les Kimber, former city councilman and California Advocate publisher who died last week.