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Leaders in community to be honored at luncheon

The National Federation for Just Communities of Western New York, formerly the National Conference of Community and Justice of Western New York, will honor three organizations and 38 individuals for their service to others in the Buffalo area during its 2007 Community Leaders Awards Luncheon at noon Jan. 18 in the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.

The honorees will be introduced by luncheon co-chairwomen Julie Coppola Cox, senior manager of corporate communications for National Fuel, and Amy Habib Rittling, with the law offices of Thomas H. Burton. Recipients are:

> Arts:

Gerald Mead, noted artist, educator, art patron and longtime curator of the Burchfield-Penney Art Center.

Calvin G. Rand, a leader in the development of the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., and the arts community in the Buffalo Niagara region through his support of theaters, galleries and arts organizations.

> Business:

Daniel S. Workman Jr., recently retired as a vice president at M&T Bank, founder of the Buffalo Chapter of the National Association of Urban Bankers and a mentor and supporter of small business and business owners.

> Community Service/Volunteerism:

Mary Ann Kresse, founder and chairwoman of the Advisory Council for the Center for the Arts at the University at Buffalo, and a tireless volunteer for social and cultural organizations as varied as the King Urban Life Center, the Mercy Hospital Foundation and the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens.

Dr. Monroe Fordham, a faculty member for more than 30 years at Buffalo State College who helped found the Afro-American History Association of the Niagara Frontier and works to preserve African-American historical resources in Western New York.

Roger K. and Betsy M. Strother, a retired corporate account executive and a retired Buffalo educator, respectively, whose foundation, the New Breed of Investor program, teaches students the principles of finance and how to establish contacts in the local business community.

David B. Taylor, associate professor at Niagara University and principal investigator with Renu Niagara, who is deeply involved with several leadership and law enforcement programs to help revitalize neighborhoods in Niagara Falls.

> Corporate:

Sodexho, which created more than 200 jobs on Buffalo's East Side in its laundry service facility and helped sponsor last June's "Walk As One," in which it took a stand to help end bias, bigotry and racism locally.

> Education:

Thomas S. Kulaszewski, a past president of the Erie County Association of School Boards and currently a charter member of Promoting Partnerships in Public Education, who has dedicated himself to many endeavors in education since finishing his career in private industry.

Lehman "Dar" and Sandy Dowdy, co-founders of the Allegany Faithkeepers School, whose mission is to nurture Native American youth while preserving the language, culture and traditions of the Allegany Senecas.

> Family:

Kathleen and Anthony Masiello, for dedication to community service, volunteerism and the betterment of the City of Buffalo. Mrs. Masiello helped resurrect Buffalo's Police Athletic League, while the former mayor ushered in a new era of inclusion and collaboration to both city government and among the people of Buffalo, the organization said.

> Health Care:

Health Association of Niagara County, which offers many programs to help seniors remain independent, assist primary caregivers and families, and educate young children. The group's staff of more than 150 works against stereotypes about aging and promotes diversity and unity in the community by working across traditional cultural divides.

> Interfaith:

Sister Margaret Carney, OSF, the 20th president of St. Bonaventure University and the first woman to receive a doctorate from the Franciscan University of Rome. She established the Multicultural Damietta Center on the St. Bonaventure campus.

> Labor/Management:

Dan Hart, representing Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra management, and Alan Ross, representing Local 92, American Federation of Musicians, for quickly settling on a new contract for the musicians that will assure the orchestra's stability.

> Law Enforcement:

Cheektowaga Police Chief Christine Ziemba, the first female officer, lieutenant and police chief in the Buffalo area, who spearheaded an intense recruiting effort to attract qualified minority candidates for the department.

> Legal:

Robert P. Fine, president of Hurwitz & Fine, dedicated to improving the community as secretary of the Erie County Industrial Development Agency, the Buffalo and Erie County Regional Development Corp. and the Buffalo and Erie County Industrial Land Development Corp. He also serves on both federal and state judicial screening panels, insuring the review of qualified minority candidates.

> Media:

Rich Newberg, senior correspondent at WIVB-TV and winner of nine local Emmy Awards, whose piece on Holocaust survivors, "Lost Childhood: The Story of the Birkenau Boys," has been distributed nationally.

> Philanthropy:

Dr. Jeffrey Meilman, a plastic surgeon who has donated his skills, money and equipment to help deformed and disfigured children in Buffalo and around the world through his Hope for Tomorrow Foundation.

> Public Relations:

Douglas C. Bean, managing partner at Eric Mower and Associates, whose many volunteer efforts include the Western New York Women's Fund, Child and Family Services, Hospice Buffalo and EPIC.

> Social Services:

Dennis C. Walczyk, chief executive officer of Catholic Charities of Buffalo and former executive director of Crisis Services. Also an adjunct professor of social work at UB, he is chairman of the UB Institute for Non-Profit Agencies and a board member of Catholic Health System Home Care, Prism Behavioral Health, Voice Buffalo and the Emergency Services Family Support Center.

> Special Agency:

Upstate New York Transplant Services, which is dedicated to saving lives through organ and tissue donation, and honoring those who donate without regard or preference regarding race, ethnicity, religion or socioeconomic status.

> Special Award:

The late Sister Karen Klimczak, co-founder of Bissonette House, known for her energy, fearlessness and dedication to the principle that everyone deserves another chance.

> Sports:

London Fletcher-Baker, middle linebacker for the Buffalo Bills, who has volunteered support for a campaign against domestic violence and, through his London's Bridges organization, sponsors youth football camps, raises money for schools, has established college preparatory programs and has awarded college scholarships to deserving high school students.

Brian Moorman, punter for the Buffalo Bills, best known for his work with children facing cancer and for the efforts of his charitable organization, The Brian Moorman PUNT Foundation. He has joined with several local companies to purchase a suite at Ralph Wilson Stadium for the Carly's Club children to use.

> Youth:

Vance Adamson, Niagara Falls High School; Aminah Assabahi, Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart; Sky Bethel, Buffalo Seminary; Angelica Catalano, Williamsville East High School; Khurram Dara, Williamsville North High School; Tara Harper, Buffalo Seminary; Andrea Merterko, Niagara Falls High School; Abram Morgan, Grand Island High School; Norvella Pendergrass, Holy Angels Academy; Gabrielle Vanoy, Leonardo Da Vinci High School; Angelica Rivera, Nichols School.

Darryl Overton Jr., St. Francis High School, will receive the Elizabeth Hickey Award. Jacob Kavanaugh, City Honors High School, will receive the Manch Scholarship Award.

e-mail: citydesk@buffnews.com

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