Just Communities federation announces honorees for 2018

By Dale Anderson


Saturday, January 13, 2018

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. 24 in the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.

The NFJC, which works to overcome racism, bias and discrimination, began presenting awards to community leaders annually in 1951. The Youth Awards, recognizing outstanding high school students, were inaugurated in 1982. More than 500 attended last year’s luncheon.

The 2018 awards include: Agency: Leadership Buffalo, which has enhanced leadership skills among more than 3,000 corporate, civic, nonprofit and youth leaders since 1988 in seminars, workshops and working sessions.

Arts/Culture: Band Against Bullying, founded by M& T Bank employees Jessica Sanna and Mike Bryant in 2013, which promotes dignity and respect for students with an inter-school music and arts competition each spring.

Also, Explore& MoreChildren’sMuseum, which hosts more than 60,000 children and their families annually and will become a permanent attraction on Buffalo’s waterfront.

  • Business: Maureen Bartley, owner and operator of Maureen’s Wholesale Flower Market on Ellicott Street, whohelpedleadrevitalization of downtown Buffalo’s former flower district.
  • Community Service/Volunteerism: Joyce Fink, retired director of public affairs at SUNY Buffalo State, former board chairwoman at Christ the King Seminary and an active volunteer for more than 50 years.

Also, Charlotte Gendler, controller of the Buffalo Jewish Federation for more than 28 years and current president of the Jewish Federation Cemetery Corp.

  • Corporate: Robert Denning, president and CEO of Perry’s Ice Cream since 2000.
  • Education: KatherineS. Conway-Turner, ninth president of SUNY Buffalo State, serving since 2014.

Also, Chris Lauricella, outgoing head of the Park School of Buffalo, serving since 2008.

And John Starkey, principal of LafayetteInternationalCommunityHigh School.

  • Family: Denise Santos, executive director of the Regional Bilingual Education- Resource Network West at Erie1 BOCES, and her husband, Miguel, consumer advocate with National Grid.
  • Government: Mark J. Boyd, chief of staff for Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes.

Also, Crystal Rodriguez, chief diversity officer for the City of Buffalo and former executive director of the city’s Commission on Citizen’s Rights and Community Relations.

  • Health Care: Al Hammonds, executive director at Millennium Collaborative Care and former CEO of the Community Health Center of Buffalo.

Also, Nora McGuire, a registered nurse and chief marketing officer at Independent Health who is president of the local chapter of the Susan B. Komen Foundation and chair of the WNED Advisory Board.

  • Interfaith: Rev. George Nicholas, senior pastor at Lincoln Memorial United Methodist Church and a founding member of the Concerned Clergy Coalition of WNY.

Also, Renee D. Sims, a registered nurse who is director of patient services and the chaplain for People Inc.

  • LawEnforcement: Sharon Osorio- Mentkowski, a former TV and radio reporter who is community engagement specialist for the FBI field office in Buffalo.

Also, James R. Voutour, sheriff of Niagara County, who has pioneered several programs to improve relationships with the public.

  • Legal: Frederick G. Attea, an attorney with Phillips Lytle specializing in business law who uses his expertise to assist nonprofit organizations.

Also, Sujata Yalamanchili, a partner with Hodgson Russ specializing in real estate, finance and bankruptcy, who helps develop minority and women- owned businesses.

  • Media: Warren T. Colville, president and publisher of The Buffalo News, who personally steers the annual Buffalo News Kids Day, News Neediest Fund and Books for Kids campaigns.

Also, Karibu News, a multilingual newspaper for the immigrant and refugee communities founded by Rwandan refugee journalist and radio host Rubens Mukunzi in 2015.

  • Organization: Burmese Community Services, the first Burmeseled nonprofit organization in Buffalo, which assists Burmese of all ethnic and linguistic backgrounds in their adjustment to life in a new country.
  • Philanthropy: Communities of Giving Legacy Initiative, created in 2008 as part of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, which helps provide positive change in the lives of youth of color.
  • Social Services: Pete Hill, a member of the Cayuga Nation, Heron Clan, who, as the All Our Relations project director at Native American Community Services, has designed and developed several new health and cultural programs.
  • Sports: Michael Hacker, a former HSBC Bank vice president who, as founder, owner, manager and chief instructor of Rally Niagara Badminton Club, brings diverse groups of people together for love of the sport.

Also, Rich Jureller, vice president of community relations for the Buffalo Sabres and president of the Buffalo Sabres Foundation.

  • Youth: Thomas Dunia of St. Joseph Collegiate Institute; Shaun Kohli of Williamsville East High School; Bryonna Mrozik of Alden High School; Minahil Noor of Williamsville North High School; Naagy Omar of City Honors School; DesTiny Overton of Mount Mercy Academy; Jazmine Richardson of Sacred Heart Academy; Daeja Sanger of Park School of Buffalo; Matthew J. Sullivan of Canisius High School; and Telmadi Telemin of WNY Maritime Charter School.

In addition, the Elizabeth A. Hickey Award will be presented to Ehler Htoo of Hutchinson Central Technical High School.

The Dr. Manch Scholarship Award will be presented to Isaiah Lee of Burgard High School.

The luncheon is co-chaired by Tamara O. Alsace, retired director of multilingual education for the Buffalo Public Schools, and Michael N. Martin of Native American Community Services.





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