When the Redeemed Men of God honor black men in the Johnstown community who have achieved success, they do so not just to pay tribute to the individuals themselves, but also to hold them up as examples for local children to follow.
This year, the organization will recognize 10 men:
• Jeff Richardson, Super Bowl III champion with the New York Jets;
• Andrew Hawkins, retired wide receiver for the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns;
• Joe Greenwood, former Temple University football player and current trainer;
• Bishop Harold Spellman, of Peniel Praise Community Church;
• Jim White, Johnstown’s former economic development director;
• Bruce Haselrig Sr., former University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown official, acting city manager, wrestling coach and referee;
• Terrance Ballard, Rayne’s Backyard BBQ owner;
• Ricky Britt, AAABA Hall of Fame member and Johnstown city councilman;
• Will Harris Jr., Greater Johnstown High School wrestling coach;
• Ronald Fisher, reporter with The Tribune-Democrat.
A ceremony is scheduled to take place on July 27 at the Frank J. Pasquerilla Conference Center in downtown Johnstown. Richardson will deliver the keynote address.
“We just want to let the young kids know that, regardless of what color your skin is or where you came from, if you try hard enough, there’s a way for anybody to make it,” Britt, the Redeemed Men of God’s president, said.
Ballard said he is “truly blessed” to receive the recognition.
“It’s breathtaking,” Ballard said. “You don’t truly know how to act or what words to describe somebody thinking about you and appreciating the hard work you’ve done in the community. It’s just an honor to have that. I don’t even know what to say.
“I’m all smiles when I even hear about it. That’s all I can say, I’m just all smiles. Truly humbled. It makes you work even harder at what you do, trying to get more out there, trying to do more in the community, trying to be more of a God-fearing man. It’s a wonderful thing.”
The group will join 20 individuals who were honored during last year’s inaugural ceremony.
“This is quite an honor,” Fisher said. “To be recognized from my community really means a lot to me. ... In my field, I’m often using my platform to showcase and highlight others, so to be on the other side of this is a little different for me, but highly appreciated.”
Call James Bush at 814-410-9745, Sam Morris at 814-242-2021 or Britt at 814-525-6956 for more information.