Peace Corps Honors Community Service Leaders Nationwide with Prestigious Franklin H. Williams Award

February 8, 2002

C. Payne Lucas Receives Peace Corps Director’s Award

Washington, D.C., February 8, 2002—Twelve community leaders and activists from across the nation were honored at the 4th Annual Peace Corps Franklin H. Williams Awards ceremony last night at the Paul D. Coverdell Peace Corps Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Mr. C. Payne Lucas, writer, speaker, activist and founder of Africare, delivered the keynote address and was presented with the Franklin H. Williams Peace Corps Director’s Award. The award winners follow in the service-minded footsteps of former ambassador and Peace Corps deputy Franklin H. Williams.

The Franklin H. Williams Awards recognize the outstanding leadership contributions returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Color have made in the area of community service. The Peace Corps Director’s Award honors an individual who has served the Peace Corps as former staff or through a commitment to international development and cross-cultural understanding. The event was open to the public.

“One of the goals of the Peace Corps mission is to help people of other countries gain a better understanding of Americans and our multicultural society. To achieve this important goal, Peace Corps works to ensure that the volunteers reflect the extraordinary diversity of the American people, which has enriched and strengthened this country in countless ways,” said Lloyd O. Pierson, acting deputy director. “These awardees represent just a fraction of former Peace Corps volunteers of ethnically diverse backgrounds who have returned to the United States with the desire to serve in their local communities. We applaud their commitment to make a difference here in this country.”

The keynote speaker and Peace Corps Director’s Award-winner was C. Payne Lucas, president and founder of Africare. Lucas has brought a unique blend of passion and steadfast commitment to his 35-year career in African development. He joined the fledgling Peace Corps in 1964 under the agency’s first director, Sargent Shriver. Since then, he has been honored by several U.S. presidents as well as leaders of more than two dozen African nations, receiving decorations from the national orders of Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Niger, Senegal and Zambia, and the 1984 U.S. Presidential End Hunger Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement “in the effort to achieve a world without hunger.”

The award winners were selected from each of the 11 Peace Corps regional offices nationwide. C. Payne Lucas received his honor from the Peace Corps Director’s Office. These honored individuals share a common starting point: the Peace Corps.

This year’s notable list of award winners includes Wallace E. Goode, Jr., executive director of the Empowerment Zone for the City of Chicago; Evelyn Crow, chairperson of the Asian New Year Festival, San Antonio; Tameka Salis, director of the Inner City Community Development Corporation, Denver; Samuel W. Bacote, III, vice president of public finance for Jackson Securities, Atlanta; Varsha Ghosh, director of programs at Phillips Brooks House Association, Boston; Justice Flemming L. Norcott, Jr., associate justice of the Supreme Court of Connecticut; Louis Avenilla, director of the Career Planning Center of Marina del Rey, Calif.; Delayzio Amerson, executive director for the Holton Youth Center, Milwaukee; LeRoy Barton, grass-roots community activist, Nevada; LiLi Liu, coordinator for the Weed and Seed Program, Seattle; and Harold I. Hunter, a community health advocate in rural North Carolina.

More information on the award recipients can be found at the Peace Corps Web site at www.peacecorps.gov/noteworthy.

The Franklin H. Williams Award
Ambassador Franklin H. Williams made a significant contribution to his community, to the nation and to the world at large before his death in 1990. He served as an ambassador to the United nation and to the world at large before his death in 1990. He served as an ambassador to the United Nations and Ghana, as an advocate for civil rights and as one of Sargent Shriver's trusted deputies during the formative years of the Peace Corps. He also served as president for the Phelps-Stokes Fund, which focuses on educational opportunities for Americans of color and Africans. Mr. Williams’ widow, Mrs. Shirley Williams, attended the award ceremony as an honored guest.

More than 165,000 volunteers have served in 135 countries since the Peace Corps was established in 1961. Today, more than 7,000 volunteers serve in programs to address business development, health and HIV/AIDS, the environment, education, agriculture and information technology.

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