King County Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer awarded the Martin Luther King Medal of Distinguished Service to Pastor Gordon Banks of the Overcomer Covenant Church in Auburn.
Von Reichbauer presented Banks with the award at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 16 in front of a crowd of church members and students who attend school at the church.
Every year each King County Councilmember gives the award to someone in their district. Banks was chosen for the award because he embodies King’s message of giving back to other people, von Reichbauer said.
“Pastor Banks has responded to Dr. King’s question: ‘What are you doing for others?’ with a commitment to uplift others, spread love throughout the region through his actions and help people push past adversity towards a better life,” von Reichbauer said.
Since becoming the pastor of Overcomer Covenant Church, Banks had dedicated the organization to humanitarian aid in the community and abroad, von Reichbauer said.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Banks and his church worked to feed families hit hard by the pandemic, Banks said. During the height of the pandemic hundreds of cars would line up outside the Overcomer Covenant Church to receive bags of groceries.
“The Metropolitan King County Council today presents Pastor Gordon Banks with the Martin Luther King Jr. Medal of Distinguished Service for his outstanding community service and honors him as an example to all in our county, state and nation,” von Reichbauer said.
Von Reichbauer presented Banks with the medal and award before Banks gave an acceptance speech.
“I’m honored to receive the award, on behalf of our staff and congregation and all those who so faithfully have given their lives and devoted themselves to making a difference in somebody else,” Banks said.
As a kid Banks would walk to school in Los Angeles on Martin Luther King Way and that he had a deep impact on Banks throughout his life and encouraged him to make a difference Banks said.
During his acceptance speech, Banks thanked the teachers in the crowd for the tireless work they do to encourage their students.
“I can remember coaches and teachers, because my dad died before I was born so I never had the chance to get any impartation from him, but a lot of coaches and a lot of people made a difference for me and changed my world,” Banks said. “So I’m grateful for that and all the things you guys have done to make a difference in this community.”
Despite the challenges he faced growing up. Banks ended up studying political science at Stanford University before playing eight seasons in the NFL. Banks then dedicated his life to service through the church.
This is the sixth year council members awarded people in their district with the Martin Luther King Medal of Distinguished Service, according to the King County Council. The list of recipients from each district in King County is available on the King County Council website.