Kennewick fire chief is awarded the Martin Luther King Spirit Aw - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Kennewick fire chief is awarded the Martin Luther King Spirit Award

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PASCO, WA - Despite the cold weather, many people stood outside at Columbia Basin College today to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the 27th Annual MLK Day bell ringing.

Reporter Kristina Shalhoup was there for the event that began with the ringing of the bells, followed by speeches around the subjects of equality and love, and continued on to the placing of ceremonial flowers on the statue of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Columbia Basin College.

Despite the ceremony's name, he wasn't the only man honored by the event today. After the outdoor ceremonies, everyone moved inside for the awarding of the Martin Luther King Spirit Award, which is given to a community member who truly embodies the ideals that MLK was so passionate about.

This year the award went to none other than Kennewick Fire Chief, Vincent Beasley.

"It is by far the greatest honor I've ever received...when you hear your name mentioned with Martin Luther King," Chief Beasley said. "Because he was such an icon, he is an icon. He is my hero."

After his wife presented him with the award, Chief Beasley told everyone in the audience that he has tried his best to emulate Dr. King by being a gentleman, and a gentle man.