Westside Holistic Family Services (WHFS) held their 7th annual “Faith In Action” awards gala and silent auction at the Holiday Inn City Center, 300 E. Ohio last Saturday. Although the City of Chicago was holding its “Festival of Lights,” parade which tied up traffic terribly, it did not stop the grand gala event.

For the past seven years, Westside Holistic has held this affair and this year’s theme was “Special Kind of Caring.” The Faith in Action awards are presented to individuals who exemplify their beliefs by serving the community through action. According to Westside Holistic President Gale Lindo, “This year’s honorees epitomize the spirit of our Faith in Action Award and the mission of Westside Holistic Family Services by exemplifying ‘A Special Kind of Caring.'”

The evening began with Rev. Ira Acree of St. John Bible Church giving the invocation, and the evening’s hosts were Monique Caradine (aka Mo) of Momentum Communications and Richard Steele, on-air personality/producer co-hosted the gala. Music was provided by Avain Hightower and The Chi Tower Band.

Awards were presented to: MacArthur Alexander, owner of Macarthur’s Restaurant; Mark Ishaug, executive director, AIDS Foundation of Chicago; Cheryle Jackson, president & CEO; Chicago Urban League (Ms. Jackson is the first woman and African American to hold this position); Steve Harris, actor; his brother, Sherwin “Wood” Harris, also an actor; Avain Hightower, vocalist/songwriter/keyboardist; Mattie Harris; and a special longevity award was presented to Gale Lindo by her mother and WHFS founder, Dr. Millicent Lindo.

The Donna Lindo-Blasingame Scholarship Award was established as a tribute to honor Donna’s dedication to education excellence. An active member of the community, Gale’s twin sister was a mother, wife and daughter. Although she passed away in 1999, her legacy of love and devotion to education lives on each time a West Side youth receives her scholarship. This year’s scholarships went to Jamor Pearson, who will be attending Cheyney University in Pennsylvania as a journalism major and Meyata Dixon who is attending Chicago State University.

Ald. Emma Mitts, upon receiving her award, thanked everyone and especially the people of the 37th Ward. “I am grateful to God and humbled by this recognition. I will continue to work for the betterment of my community and the city of Chicago.”

Although the Harris brothers acting team could not attend, their lovely mother Mrs. Mattie Harris accepted their awards as well as her own. In accepting, she stated how deeply appreciative she was to receive her award, and she knew her sons would feel the same. A longtime West Side resident, she has lived in the same home for 40 years.

During the program a short film was shown telling what Westside Holistic Family Services is about. Dr. Millicent Lindo took an idea and built it into a strong West Side organization. Today, Dr. Lindo’s daughter, Gale, continues to administer the many programs and services for the residents of the Austin community. The organization began in 1979 and sought to address the social and economic problems at that time. Although Dr. Lindo and her husband have retired and live in Florida, the audience was thrilled that she flew in for the affair and gave her a standing ovation.

Macarthur Alexander’s daughter accepted the award on his behalf and explained how her father was very active in the community, but extremely strict when it comes to running the restaurant. As an example, she told how he sent a young man home for being two minutes late to work. In doing so, he taught a valuable lesson in accountability.

The gala committee members were Joanne Anderson, Dr. Romona Smith-Battle, Perry Benson, Mary Coultman, Betty Jenkins, Florence Merritt, Veronica Sanchez, Adam Rose, Sandra Davis-Rose, Eric Thompson, Gale Lindo, and Marsha Eaglin & Grapevine Communications. A silent auction and raffle was also part of the program. The sponsors were the Chicago White Sox, Arlynn Manasse, NBC-5 Chicago, Rogers L. Holland, Mary Coultman, Helzberg Diamonds, J.P. Martin Group, John G. Shedd Aquarium, KenGrav, Inc., Mario Tricoci, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Chicago Cubs, The John Mark Group, Walt Disney Company, Jon Yates-Microsoft Products, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Inc., and The Museum of Science and Industry.