People Spend the Holiday Doing Service in Memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

January 18, 2011 Updated Jan 18, 2011 at 12:30 AM EDT

By Lou Chilelli

January 18, 2011 Updated Jan 18, 2011 at 12:30 AM EDT

Across the country..and here in western New York... people spent the day honoring and remembering a man who fought for the equal rights of every citizen. For some, Martin Luther King Day is a day off from work. But, for many others, it's a chance to remember and a chance to make a difference in the community. Americorps volunteers gathered Monday morning in Buffalo to deliver and install weatherization kits for needy individuals. The kits included insulation and window films to make the home more efficient while saving people money on their energy bills.

"National Fuel has donated 500 of their weatherization kits. About 400 volunteers are going to go into the Martin Luther King community as well as the Old First Ward and they are going to help low income people and veterans deal with weatherization issues," explained Mark Lazzara, CEO of Western New York Americorps.

The Family 25 Inc. Group held their annual free basketball clinic for kids at Canisius College. But it wasn't only about the game. This years theme was "given the opportunity". Community leaders were recognized for following in Kings footsteps by showing kids first hand that given the opportunity anyone can succeed. One of the people honored was Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas.

"This is one of the reasons I moved back here because I wanted to be part of this program in the inner city. Today is day is a day that you shouldn't be sitting at home taking a day off you should be outside doing on MLK day because that's what he wanted you to do," Thomas remarked.

Each year, the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo hosts a special mass to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Day. It is the 25th year for the special Mass and it was held at Saints Columba Brigid Church in Buffalo. "Dr. King was not a dreamer. He was very visionary in hopes that we would have a better society," said Althea Porter one of those who attended the service. It was a chance for people from many backgrounds and races, to come together and share the day in reflection and prayer.