HRC Atlanta unveils local gala award winners

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Bowling and gala dinner experts HRC Atlanta tapped two divergent recipients for its local awards to be doled out during the black-tie affair in May: The boys who party with a purpose and the guy who watches over gay students at Emory. The buildup for the 26th Annual Atlanta HRC Gala Dinner & Auction on May 4, expected to draw more than 1,000 people, is underway. The group grabbed its balls and bowled last month. On Thursday, they announced who will receive its two biggest local honors -- the Dan Bradley Humanitarian Award and Leon Allen & Winston Johnson Community Service Award:

The Dan Bradley Humanitarian Award will be given to Joining Hearts, an Atlanta-based non-profit organization dedicated to providing housing assistance to people living with HIV and AIDS in Atlanta. Founded in 1987, Joining Hearts’ sponsors, patrons, hosts and volunteers have contributed more than $1,589,500 and countless hours to provide housing assistance. Joining Hearts is one of the oldest HIV/AIDS all-volunteer charities of its kind in Georgia and the Southeast. The Leon Allen and Winston Johnson Community Service Award will be presented to Michael Shutt, Assistant Dean for Campus Life and Director of the Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Life at Emory University. Since 2008, Michael has served as Director of the Office of LGBT Life, where he creates and enhances educational, social, and support programs and services for students regarding issues of sexual and gender identities. Michael is also an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Counseling and Human Development at the University of Georgia’s College of Education and serves on the Executive Board of the National Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals. “Our 2013 Award winners represent what is wonderful about our community here in Atlanta. Joining Hearts and Michael have spent years to better the lives of our LGBT community—and for this we say thank you. We are thrilled to celebrate our two award winners at our annual dinner and silent auction,” said Kaitlin Porter, co-chair of the 2013 Atlanta HRC Gala Dinner and Auction.
Last year, the dinner featured R&B singer Frenchie Davis (photo), actor Sean Hayes and now Sen. Tammy Baldwin. Local honorees included Rev. Phillip Thomason, minister of Outreach and Pastoral Care at Saint Mark United Methodist Church, and the Health Initiative. On March 21, HRC Atlanta hosts a pre-dinner reception at the Margaret Mitchell House. Photo by Sher Pruitt


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