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Community Leader Awards honorees are named

The National Federation for Just Communities of Western New York has announced the honorees for its annual NFJC Community Leader Awards luncheon at noon Jan. 28 in the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. The awards include:

Community Foundation Norman Goldfarb Agency Award: International Institute of Buffalo, which has helped refugees and immigrants adjust to the challenges of their new community for more than 100 years.

Community Foundation Norman Goldfarb Individual Award: Amy Fleischauer, survivor support services director for the International Institute. Under her direction, the institute last year assisted 150 survivors of human trafficking.

Arts: Brian Nesline, founder and director of Faces of Buffalo, a mosaic of more than 1,000 self-portraits. Currently he is designing a large mosaic for the new John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital.

Business: John R. Koelmel, who, as president of HarborCenter Development LLC, is overseeing the construction and development of the hockey and entertainment complex next to the First Niagara Center.

Community Service: James Biltekoff, whose many non-profit leadership roles include currently serving on the boards of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Buffalo; Joan Bozer and Joanne Kahn, co-chairwomen of the 21st Century Park on the Outer Harbor Inc., which has successfully pushed to provide public parkland on Buffalo’s waterfront; and Hal D. Payne, vice president of student affairs at SUNY Buffalo State, a post he has held for more than 20 years.

Education: Debra Colley, dean of the College of Education at Niagara University and a national leader in special and bilingual education; and Mark Laurrie, deputy superintendent of the Niagara Falls City School District.

Health Care: Dr. Michael S. Brogan, a wound care specialist who is vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college at Daemen College; and Dr. Thomas J. Foels, a pediatrician who is executive vice president and chief medical officer for Independent Health.

Interfaith: Imam Yahye Y. Omar, volunteer Imam of the Buffalo Islamic Community Center and founder of the Somalia Community Association; Bishop T. Anthony Bronner, senior pastor of Elim Christian Fellowship in Buffalo and Rochester; and Rev. M. Bruce McKay, co-pastor at Pilgrim-St. Luke’s United Church of Christ.

Law Enforcement: Senior Investigator Charles F. Torres, a 28-year veteran of the State Police.

Legal: Maryann Saccomando Freedman, the first woman to be elected president of both the Erie County Bar Association and the New York State Bar Foundation; and Jonathan H. Gardner, a partner with Kavinoky Cook LLP and a member of the board of directors of the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York.

Media: Claudine Ewing, award-winning reporter and anchor for WGRZ-TV, Channel 2.

Social Services: Journey’s End Refugee Services, which assists more than 300 refugees annually from around the world; and Dale Zuchlewski, executive director of the Homeless Alliance of Western New York and a former North District Common Council Member.

Sports: Ali Kadhum, an Iraqi refugee who, as counselor and care coordinator at the WNY Center for Survivors of Refugee Trauma and Torture, uses soccer to bridge traditional social divides.

Special Award: Say Yes Buffalo, which provides college scholarships to Buffalo public school students.

Special Award Government: Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown.

Youth: Linnea Cotto-Ecklund of Williamsville East High School; Hannah Davis and Alexandra Dwyer of Sacred Heart Academy; Ryan DiPaola of Nichols School; Jane Gold of Buffalo Seminary; Hannah Gresham of St. Mary’s High School; Francisco Guzmán II of St. Francis High School; Bianca Kohli of Williamsville East High School; Tashi Sherpa of Park School; and Heng Ta of Kenmore West High School.

In addition, the Community Foundation Norman Goldfarb Youth Award will be presented to Marcus Crenshaw of WNY Maritime Charter School.

The Dr. Manch Scholarship Award will be presented to Kenneth G. Williams II of Nichols School.

The luncheon is co-chaired by Tamara Alsace, director of multilingual education for the Buffalo Public Schools, and Linwood Roberts Jr., associate director of the Office of Community Relations at the University at Buffalo. Tickets are available by calling 853-9596.