More than 250 people gathered Thursday morning to celebrate a trio of metro Detroit leaders for their role in giving back to the community.

In its 15th year, the Shining Light Awards, presented by the Detroit Free Press and the Metropolitan Affairs Coalition, honors individuals doing their part to build regional cooperation, progress and understanding in southeast Michigan.

The awards are named after Neal Shine, the longtime editor and publisher of the Free Press, who died in 2007. Shine started at the Free Press as a copy boy. In his four decades at the paper, his roles also included reporter, columnist, senior managing editor and publisher. Shine was well-known for his love of Detroit, and, as his tribute in the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame says, he was “keeper of the staff conscience.”

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