Commission honors Buchholz teen, nurse/missionary


Published: Thursday, January 11, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 10, 2007 at 2:02 p.m.
The efforts and sacrifices made by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. have inspired generations to overcome insurmountable obstacles and be the best they can be. He is a role model for all that is good, and just.
And in conjunction with the annual King Week 2007 celebration, the Martin Luther King Jr. Commission of Florida Inc. has chosen DeAdria Aneese Hilliard and the late Hertecene Turner Dee as two citizens who envelop those principles that are the legacy of Dr. King.
DeAdria is the Edna M. Hart Keeper of the Dream Award and Dee has been chosen to posthumously receive the Hall of Fame Award. Dee passed away last July.
King Commission president Rodney J. Long said DeAdria and Dee were selected for their commitment to the principles of Dr. King's legacy. He said DeAdria is an outstanding student and an outstanding athlete, who also is very involved in the community and will be a future "Keeper of the Dream."
Long said Dee was committed to the principles of non-violence and social change and meets all the qualifications. He said Dee was very involved in the community and served on many advisory boards, sometimes having to take uncomfortable positions at turbulent times.
It has been said that "when she spoke, people listened and she used this gift for mankind, not for any personal agenda.''
Born in Mississippi in 1918 the oldest of 12 children of Lucerne Turner and Mary Montgomery Turner, Dee went on to lead an exemplary life of learning, healing, advocacy, teaching and volunteerism. While studying nursing, she became interested in missionary work and became the first African-American missionary to be commissioned by the United Christian Missionary Society.
She earned a bachelor's degree in nursing and went to San Jose, Costa Rica, for special studies in Spanish language and literature. At the Mexico City College, Dee earned a master's in Latin American history. She spoke French, English, Italian and Spanish.
Dee worked as an anatomy and physiology instructor at the Universidad de las Americas, in Mexico, served as assistant director of nursing and clinical instructor at Children's Convalescent Hospital in Washington, D.C., nursing supervisor at Shands Teaching Hospital, and nursing supervisor in the Department of Child Psychiatry at the University of Florida.
She received several awards throughout the years, served on various advisory boards and was a member of several civic and social organizations.
In an interview with the Gainesville Sun's Doris Chandler, Dee said, "I have come to understand that if you help one person, that person is important and you really have done something. I hope I have helped more, but I would be satisfied now to know that I have helped one."
DeAdria, 18 and a senior at Buchholz High School, is amazed and honored to have been chosen to receive the Keeper of the Dream award. She also is very pleased to receive the $2,500 scholarship that comes with the recognition.
In her entry for the essay contest, DeAdria discussed why she thinks she is a keeper of the dream and submitted recommendations from teachers, coaches and her pastor.
DeAdria's twin sister, Deidre, submitted an entry as well, but only one student is chosen each year. "My sister is happy that I was chosen,'' DeAdria said. ''We never compete against each other. We compete with each other." DeAdria said they are very close and even now like to dress alike on the first day of school. "Having a twin is different,'' she said. ''When we were little, we dressed alike and we could feel what the other one felt. When one was hurt, the other one felt the pain also. This does not happen much anymore, but last summer she broke her leg and I felt the pain."f-z DeAdria said she tries to live up to Dr. King's legacy by staying out of trouble and taking great pride in her school work and athletics as well in her involvement in the community. "Dr. King's efforts make you push harder to do better,'' she said. ''That man put his life on the line over and over for generations that he would never get to know. He is a role model. He is admirable and inspires me to do better," she said.f-z As far as future plans, DeAdria knows she wants to be an anesthesiologist because as an athlete she knows about pain and wants to lessen pain for others. What school she will attend depends on a basketball scholarship. She currently is being recruited by Brown University, Yale and Princeton.
DeAdria is the daughter of Ralph and Phyllis Hilliard and she has an older sister, Tamesha. Her mother said DeAdria, who is the youngest of the fraternal twins, has always been focused and concentrated in her work. DeAdria is more outgoing, she said, while Deidre is more introverted.
DeAdria's academic credentials are impressive indeed: She has a weighted GPA of 4.56, and is in the top 5 percent of her class. She also is a member of the National Honor Society, the Thurgood Marshall Achievers.
Her athletic achievements are equally impressive. She is a four-year varsity letterman in basketball and volleyball, has played Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) sports for 10 years, and received many athletic honors and awards.
She is a member of Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, the Precious Pearls of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and the Touch of Class Pre-Collegiate Club. She also volunteers and participates in other community events to help those in need.

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

Comments are currently unavailable on this article

▲ Return to Top