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Martin Luther King Celebration Committee in Wheeling To Honor Four feling To Honor Four

File Photo - Community members participate in a past Interfaith March for Peace and Justice in Wheeling. This year’s march is set for Jan. 16, part of the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day commemorations in the city.

Four Ohio Valley residents will be honored by the Martin Luther King 2022 Celebration Committee for their work in eliminating racial inequality.

The Rev. Danny Mason, pastor of the Mount Zion Baptist Church of Triadelphia, who spent years helping children to develop academically and socially, and James E. Martin, a postman and volunteer who works to improve the lives of East Wheeling residents, will receive the 2022 Martin Luther King Award.

This year’s Rosa Parks Award will go to Wheeling City Council member Rosemary Ketchum, who strives to help Wheeling’s most vulnerable residents, and the late Florence Washington, an active volunteer and medical professional who helped to establish West Virginia’s first pulmonary rehabilitation program.

Announcement of the awards was made by Father Hadi Sasmita and Ron Scott, Jr., co-chairs of the MLK Celebration Committee. The awards will be presented at the MLK Interfaith Prayer Service, to be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 16, at the Fourth Street United Methodist Church, 1060 Chapline Street, Wheeling. Masks are required.

Martin is a Vietnam War veteran who retired from the U.S. Post Office after 40 years of service. He and fellow members of the Elks Panhandle Lodge 74 have raised thousands of dollars to provide college scholarships for minority students and support other worthy causes. Martin also helped to restore respectability to American Legion Post 89, a longtime mainstay of Wheeling’s black community that had been declared a public nuisance.

Mason accepted his calling to become a minister in 1977, and worked for years with special-needs children in Pittsburgh before becoming a full-time pastor. After living in Pennsylvania and Colorado, he returned to Wheeling in 2011 as assistant pastor at Wayman AME Church. He also worked part time as Children’s Program Director at Laughlin Memorial Chapel until his retirement. As a member of the MLK Celebration committee he enjoyed working with people of different races to achieve Dr. King’s goals of freedom and equality. He has been pastor of Mount Zion Baptist Church of Triadelphia since 2016 and is a member of The Ohio Valley Ministerial Alliance.

Ketchum represents Ward 3 on the Wheeling City Council. She also serves as the Governance Director for West Virginia Can’t Wait, assisting elected officials in the governing process. As a former member of the Wheeling Human Rights Commission, Rosemary worked on various issues including racial justice, LGBTQ rights, fair housing, and homelessness, and since winning elected office in 2020, she has used this position to legislate for vulnerable communities.

Washington was active at Macedonia Baptist Church, participating in the choir and serving as assistant treasurer, member of the Board of Trustees, Board of Christian Education and the Nurses Guild. She was a member of Deborah Temple #125 and served on the Board of Directors of Family Services of the Upper Ohio Valley. She graduated from West Virginia Northern Community College and became the first respiratory therapist of color in the Ohio Valley. She helped to create the first pulmonary rehabilitation program in the State of West Virginia, which she managed at the Howard Long Wellness Center until her retirement.

Prior to the prayer service, a march will begin at 2 p.m. Jan. 16 down MLK Way from the windmill atop Wheeling Hill to Fourth Street United Methodist Church. A brief reception will be held after the prayer service. Masks are required at all events.


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