Six To Be Inducted Thursday Into County Human Rights Hall of Fame

Six To Be Inducted Thursday Into County Human Rights Hall of Fame

Ceremony will begin at 7 p.m. at BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown

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Six local residents will be inducted Thursday into the Montgomery County Human Rights Hall of Fame.

In its 10th year, the Hall of Fame honors individuals who have “made great personal sacrifices in contributing to human rights in Montgomery County,” according to a press release from the Montgomery County Office of Human Rights.

The program will begin at 7 p.m. at the BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown and will honor residents from Potomac, Bethesda, Silver Spring, Olney and Clarksburg.

This year’s inductees include:

• Tufail Ahmad of Potomac: Ahmad founded the Montgomery County Muslim Council and was a co-founder of the Montgomery County Muslim Foundation, both organizations that support the county’s Muslim community. Ahmad also helps feed and distribute supplies to the homeless and coordinates food drives for local food pantries.

• Mark Bergel of Bethesda: Bergel is the founder, president and CEO of A Wider Circle in Silver Spring. The nonprofit was founded in 2001 and aims to end poverty by fostering community-level change. The organization provides basic-need items, long-term support and comprehensive neighborhood programming to people in need. In the past 17 years, A Wider Circle has served more than 225,000 people.

• Marilyn Hughes Gaston of Potomac: Gaston spent her career improving medical care for poor and minority families in the county. She now focuses specifically on combating sickle cell disease, as well as researching best practices for managing the disease in children across the world. Gaston is the first African-American woman to direct a public health service bureau and volunteers for the Montgomery County African American Health Program Advisory Committee. She also co-directs the Gaston and Porter Health Improvement Center in Potomac.

• The Rev. Kenneth Nelson of Silver Spring: Nelson is Montgomery College’s director of business and community outreach and senior pastor of Seneca Creek Community Church in Gaithersburg. He volunteers for multiple organizations including the American Heart Association, Prison Fellowship and Montgomery Hospice.

• DeVance Walker of Olney: Walker was the first minority liaison to a Montgomery County executive, and served in the role for former county executives Charles Gilchrist, Doug Duncan and Sidney Kramer. He is also the former chairman of the Education Committee for Montgomery County Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, for which he initiated a youth award program to recognize county students.

• Bishop Paul Walker Sr. of Clarksburg: Founder and pastor of Healing and Deliverance Ministry, Walker has dedicated his life to bringing emotional, spiritual, physical and mental healing to local residents. Walker is also the founder and executive director of the Healing Yourself Outreach Life Skills program, which provides professional development opportunities and skill development to people in need.

Editor’s note: This story was updated to correct that Sidney, not Ben, Kramer served as Montgomery County executive. 

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