The evening started with a VIP Cocktail Reception attended by many LGBT community leaders and civic leaders, including President of The St. Louis Board of Aldermen, Lewis Reed.
The awards ceremony hosted by Pride St. Louis President, Tyler Hill got underway at 8:30 p.m. with Michelle Smith, President of The St. Louis Gender Foundation accepting the Jim Hoefer Award on behalf of the organization. The Chuck Charleston Award was given to former Pride St. Louis board member and Vital VOICE C.L.O., Kristen Goodman followed by Todd Alan Villmer receiving the Felton T. Day Award. Daniel Flier was the third recipient of the Lisa Wagaman Lifetime Achievement Award. Each award is named in honor of a former Pride St. Louis board member and community leader no longer with us.
Similarly, the John Van Voris Pride Scholarship was created to help St. Louis area LGBT student(s), student children of an LGBT parent or student allies of the LGBT community by providing financial assistance to attend post-secondary education.
Arguably the highlight of the ceremony was when Pride Scholarship Committee Chair, Leon Braxton announced this year’s recipients. Alec Kelly, Robyn Littleton, and Jacob Fussell were Pride personified as they represented the future of their community and were presented with certificates and gift bags. The trio received a combined award of $4K.
Also honored at the end of the evening were 2011 PrideFest Parade Grand Marshals, Scott Emanuel and Ed Reggi along with several community members including Vital VOICE Publisher, Darin Slyman and longtime community activist, Philip Deitch.
The evening ended with a lively hair show by Paul Mitchell The School St. Louis.
For detailed biographies of this year’s award winners check out the official PrideFest Guide in the June Vital VOICE. Official biographies of the Pride Community Service Award namesakes are available at the Pride St. Louis website.
BY: COLIN MURPHY – SENIOR WRITER