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Latrell Floyd aspires to be a voice for service in his community.

On Jan. 24, Floyd received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for Community Service at the eighth annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Banquet at Eastern Kentucky University. The previous month, he graduated from EKU with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and hopes to use that background to influence others to serve their communities. “Words go a long way and are very powerful,” he said. “I learned that as a communication student.”

During his college years, the Bardstown resident served the EKU community in numerous ways. Floyd volunteered at the 2017 AVOL AIDS Walk, promoting the event, encouraging participants, and even directing traffic in the rain. His work with diverse student populations earned him the EKU Diversity and Inclusion Award for undergraduates in 2016. He also worked as a University orientation and tour guide, webmaster for the Black Student Union, vice president of the National Panhellenic Council, and, closest to his heart, president of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity.

Phi Beta Sigma boasts service as one of its three foundational principles, and that had a profound effect on Floyd: “Being a member of Phi Beta Sigma … gave me a burning desire to make the community better for the youth and for the future.”

Floyd cited Oprah Winfrey, Arsenio Hall, Eric King and Dr. Huey P. Newton as role models for their willingness to better their community. He identifies with their upbringing; growing up in a drug and crime-infested housing project drove Floyd to get involved in creating a more positive environment in his community. “I started to get involved at a young age, which exposed me to getting out and doing community service such as high way clean ups, or getting food together to give to the homeless.”

Floyd also expressed admiration for the award’s namesake, Dr. King: “One man was able to change the entire world because he voiced how he felt,” he marveled.

Floyd is currently pursuing a master’s of public administration degree at EKU, continuing to hone his voice as an instrument of change.

— by Madison Harris, student writer, EKU Communications and Brand Management