Representatives of the Officer and Gentlemen Academy and John Frazier (posthumous) accept Real M.M.E.N. Awards on Sept. 8 in the Terrace at ETHS. Pictured, left to right, are Joe Martin III, Officer Ervin de Leon, Karli Butler, Nicole Pelayo, Michael Burrell, Jr., Jackie Frazier, Officer Adam Howard, Denise Martin, and Thella Wright.Photo by Krissie Harris

Each September, the Joe “Butch” Martin Fund presents Real M.M.E.N. (Men Meeting Evanston’s Needs) awards to honor men who unselfishly give their time, resources, and skills to those in need, without the expectation or desire for recognition or compensation.

The 2018 Real M.M.E.N. Awards went to The Officer and Gentlemen Academy, a male mentoring program serving young men in grades 6 through 8; and posthumously to John Frazier, a World War II veteran whose deep commitment to volunteerism and service to others has had a lasting impact on the Evanston community.

The Officer and Gentlemen Academy is a partnership of the Evanston Police Department (EPD) and Evanston/Skokie District 65 that aims to educate, inspire and empower young men in middle school to reach their full potential through enrichment activities, experiential learning, team-building exercises and more. The organization, which will soon celebrate its third year, received the award “for the vision of establishing a brotherhood among African American police officers and young men.”

Speaking on behalf of the Officer and Gentlemen Academy, EPD Officer Adam Howard expressed his appreciation for the support the group has received from Chief Richard Eddington, who will retire at the end of this year. “A special thank you to Chief Eddington for giving us the opportunity to be more than just a police officer and to truly give back to our community,” Officer Howard said.

John Frazier served as a sergeant for more than three years in the Air Force during World War II in Guam and the Philippines. He was an active member of the VFW Wm. B. Snell Post 7186 for more than 30 years, chairing the Snell Post’s 50th anniversary and researching to find names of the original members. Mr. Frazier also served as a Democratic precinct captain for the Second Ward, and was a dedicated member of the Foster Senior Club for 12 years. During his tenure, club membership doubled. He was ordained as a Deacon of Second Baptist Church in 2006. The Real M.M.E.N. award was given to Mr. Frazier for “his selfless contribution to make the lives of others better in any way he could.”

Mr. Frazier’s wife, Jackie Frazier, accepted the award on his behalf. “He was one of the real, real, “Real M.M.E.N. of the church, community, and home,” said Mrs. Frazier.

Heidi Randhava is an award winning reporter who has a deep commitment to community engagement and service. She has written for the Evanston RoundTable since 2016.