By Linda M. LINONIS
Judge Theresa Dellick applauded the efforts of ACTION members and supporters who are the “average people who make the biggest difference” in the Valley.
The judge in Mahoning County Court of Common Pleas Juvenile Division spoke Thursday at the banquet and fundraiser of the Alliance for Congregational Transformation Influencing Our Neighborhoods at St. Luke Church hall, 5235 South Ave.
Nearly 300 people attended the 11th annual event.
“Together we can make a difference,” said the speaker whose topic was “Working Together for a Safer Community.”
Citing ACTION as a faith-based organization focusing to make the community safer, Judge Dellick said its members “do the most to change the world.”
“All you have to do is look at the Bible” to see how average people did something special, she said. She noted Jacob, Moses, Mary, Peter and Paul, who “were plucked from their villages.”
ACTION members are motivated by faith to make a commitment to improve neighborhoods.
Judge Dellick said she appreciated being in a room with people who affect lives in a positive way, calling them the “fabric” of the community.
She also said when she looked around the room, she could see people who give thousands of hours of volunteer service in the Valley.
Judge Dellick also thanked law-enforcement personnel from area communities who put their lives at risk while on the job. She noted the recent 10th anniversary of the death of Youngstown Officer Michael Hartzell.
“The men and women who serve us are out on the roads and don’t know who they’re pulling over,” she said.
They go out to work, but there’s a chance they won’t return, she added.
The Frances Kerpsack Memorial Award went to Habitat for Humanity of Mahoning County. Monica Craven, executive director, accepted it.
U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-13th, spoke via video. He congratulated ACTION for its new effort, Home for Good through “ACTION.” Its mission is to assist formerly incarcerated individuals in re-establishing their lives and improving their capacity to make productive contributions to society.
Pastor Willie Peterson of New Birth Kimmelbrook Church and director of the Center for Community Empowerment said the center will work with ACTION to help former inmates as they return home. He said the center has a group called Citizens Circle whose members mentor these returning citizens.
Entertainment was provided by the choir of St. Charles Borromeo Church, Youngstown Jazz Collectives from Youngstown State University and the Warriors Inc. dance team.
Jim Hall of St. Michael Church in Canfield noted ACTION’s mission, which is “to develop a community of diverse leaders committed to raising awareness and seeking solutions to overcome poverty, racism and social injustice.”
The event also offered a “hats off to law enforcement,” recognizing police chiefs and other law-enforcement representatives in attendance.
Rose Carter is executive director of ACTION, and the Rev. J. Dwayne Heard, pastor of Elizabeth Missionary Baptist Church in Youngstown, is president.