LYNN HAVEN, Fla. (WMBB) – Many braced the cold weather Monday morning to honor the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The City of Lynn Haven and ACURE held the festival. They highlighted the importance of community service and offered free COVID-19 testing and vaccines, and they used the day to celebrate local heroes, as well.

The sound of music and voices filled the air in Sharon Sheffield Park. Many gathered in remembrance of civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Recognize and push forward the things that Dr. King strove so diligently to achieve and ultimately lost his life,” Lead Coalition’s Tony Bostick said.

The Lead Coalition, NAACP and ACURE reminded the community about extending acts of service. Their actions are inspiring younger generations.

“I want to follow what my brother has done,” young resident Alaina Griffin said. “I want to go with him and do the same thing that he is doing, because he’s done a lot of stuff good things for the community.”

Lynn Haven city manager Vickie Gainer said more can always be done for equality.

“It is about showing people that we can come together during this day,” Gainer said. “We may have our differences, but in the end, we all want what’s best for our community.”

“I hope today brings an awareness that it wasn’t just Dr. King that followed on the front lines,” Bostick said. “It was Dr. Laurie. It wasn’t just those on the national stage, but also those here in Bay County.”

One of those residents Bostick is referring to is Sharon Sheffield. She was Lynn Haven’s first African American mayor and commissioner.

“I’m still awestruck about it, because you see this when somebody dies, but they thought enough of me to name this park Sharon Sheffield park,” she said.

Sheffield sees this recognition as a way to teach the young, as well as the old, how actions can leave a mark on others. Just like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did in his community.

The ACURE organization typically plans a march along with their festivities, but they had to cancel it again due to the pandemic.