Six residents, including a pastor from Clarksburg, will be inducted into the 2018 Montgomery County Human Rights Hall of Fame at the induction ceremony to be held in Germantown on at the BlackRock Center for the Arts on Thursday, Nov. 29 at 7:00 pm.
Clarksburg resident, Bishop Paul Walker Sr., the founder and pastor of Healing and Deliverance Ministry is among the six individuals to be honored by the County. The Healing and Deliverance Ministry’s mission is to bring emotional, spiritual, physical and mental healing to all people. Bishop Walker is also the Creator, Founder, and Executive Director of the “Healing yourself Outreach Life Skills Program” (HYOP), which provides professional development opportunities, leadership skills, certifications, apprenticeships, career portfolios, interviewing skills, character education, and links to self-help community agencies.
This is the 10th year for this biennial event. DIVERSITY Is Working For Our County is the theme for this year’s event. The five other individuals to be inducted at this year’s ceremony are:
Tufail Ahmad, of Potomac, the founder of the Montgomery County Muslim Council and cofounded the Montgomery County Muslim Foundation, which are organizations that support the Muslim community. Ahmad spearheads multiple initiatives to assist needy residents such as feeding the homeless, coordinating food drives for local food pantries, providing meals and distributing supplies to deserving families.
Bethesda resident, Mark Bergel, is the founder, president & CEO of A Wider Circle, a nonprofit organization founded in 2001. A Wider Circle’s mission is to end poverty by inspiring, fostering, and measuring individual and community-level change. A Wider Circle provides basic need items, long-term support, and comprehensive neighborhood programming. To date, the organization has served more than 225,000 people and hosted more than 30,000 volunteers yearly.
Marilyn Hughes Gaston, also of Potomac, has dedicated her career to improving medical care for poor and minority families and to the promotion of health care equity for all Americans. Internationally recognized for her leadership, she continues to combat sickle cell disease and changes in management of children with this illness to significantly decrease suffering and mortality in the world, including Maryland. She is the first African American women to direct a public health service bureau. Gaston is a volunteer of the Montgomery County African American Health Program Advisory Committee and a faculty member of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. She is also a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and currently codirects the Gaston and Porter Health Improvement Center in Potomac, a nonprofit service organization, which helps close the gap of health disparities despite race, ethnicity, gender, culture and socioeconomic status.
Reverend Kenneth Nelson, of Silver Spring, is the director of business and community outreach for more than twenty years at Montgomery College’s Workforce Development and Continuing Education Unit. He is the senior pastor of Seneca Creek Community Church in Gaithersburg. He advances personal and professional improvement for people and communities by supporting and achieving life-changing initiatives through his volunteer service with groups such as the American Heart Association, Prison Fellowship, Montgomery Hospice, and many other organizations.
Olney resident, DeVance Walker has worked as the first minority liaison to a Montgomery County Executive and has served as a liaison for former County Executive’s Charles W. Gilchrist, Doug Duncan and Ben Kramer. As a chairman of the Education Committee for Montgomery County Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity he initiated a youth award program to recognize students from Montgomery County schools.
Photo courtesy Healing and Deliverance Ministry