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Thanks to the efforts of County Executive Allan Kittleman, Howard County’s Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission is celebrating its first year as a permanent county commission.

Since its founding in 1985, the all-volunteer Commission has planned and managed the county’s observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Events include a day of community service, a student essay contest, and the presentation of the “Living the Dream” award to both an individual and an organization for promoting the teachings and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Kittleman took action to make the Commission permanent because he wanted to make the annual observance of the civil rights leader’s life “something that Howard County will always do because we see the value of the MLK Jr. Commission and the work they do for the community to educate and remember the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

Prior to 2016, the Commission had been re-authorized each year by executive order. By making the Commission permanent, Kittleman was able to redirect the time his staff would have spent on drafting and implementing the executive order to other projects, which helps save taxpayers money.

The Commission will hold a ceremony honoring the winners of the student essay contest and the recipients of the “Living the Dream” award on Sunday, January 15, 2017, at 3:00 p.m.

Kittleman encourages all Howard County residents to take advantage of volunteer opportunities held throughout the county on Monday, January 16, 2017.  

The opening ceremony to kick off the day of volunteering will be held on Monday, January 16, 2017, at 8:00 a.m. at Howard County Gateway building, 6751 Gateway Drive, Columbia, MD. Volunteer opportunities include helping Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Columbia with store operations and helping the Columbia Association Art Center run a senior crafts workshop. For a full list of volunteer events and to sign up, go to

If you are unable to volunteer for community service projects on January 16th, Kittleman reminds residents that the Commission itself needs volunteers throughout the year.