January 20, 2013
Jeff Triplett and Valarie Houston: Racial tensions were running hot in Sanford after neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin. Cool heads emerged in the person of Triplett, Sanford's mayor, and Houston, pastor at Allen Chapel. Triplett remained calm, reasonable and, importantly, respectful as he faced the national media and huge crowds. Houston, meanwhile, advocated a message of peace and love, while also advocating for justice. Both were determined to help their community get through a difficult and painful time. And the community did, thanks in large part to their leadership.