Councilman Curren Price continued this year’s African American Heritage Month celebration with a special presentation on Tuesday, Feb. 25 honoring local “Community Champions.”
The selected individuals were recognized for their service and contributions to improve the quality of life for residents in South LA.
“We honor them today to not only highlight their character and achievements, but to present examples that should serve as inspiration and motivation to others to support their work, or to become Community Champions themselves,” Price said during the Council presentation. “I’m delighted to shine a light on the unsung heroes of District 9.”
The 2020 honorees include:
Jerald Neely: Owner of Neely’s Educational Materials & Supplies. Originally starting as a furniture store, Neely built a family business that spans decades. To this day, Neely’s continues to serve the greater Los Angeles community by offering quality products and strives to maintain low prices, knowledgeable customer service representatives and has become one of the best places to find supplies for school, home or the office.
Leon Gullette: The Vice President of Intervention Services at Community Build, Inc., Gullette started his career in gang intervention services in 1992 by helping facilitate a much-needed gang truce to South Los Angeles. Since that time, he has become the central figure in South Los Angeles for training the interventionist community. Over the arc of his career, he has received numerous awards and recognitions to include: The Mayor’s Office, President Bill Clinton GRYD, and LAPD, just to name a few.
Reverend Dr. Curtis L. Hughes Sr: A proud graduate of the legendary Thomas Jefferson High School in District 9, Dr. Hughes would later return to the high school to coach basketball and played the role of a father to many of the students on and off the court. He was ordained in August 1996 at New Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church after having attended the Christian University for the Nations in Los Angeles and ultimately earning his Doctorate degree in 2009. For over 25 years, Dr. Hughes has teamed up with Jack in the Box in South Los Angeles to give scholarships to high school seniors in the community so they may continue their education and he is committed to giving youth jobs.
Dr. Cadrin E. Gill: Now the Medical Director of the Vernbro Medical Group, Dr. Gill received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Columbia University in New York. Vernbro Medical Center was built in 1953 by a group of Black physicians out of necessity. At that time, most major hospitals would not allow Black doctors on their staff- a practice that hurt not only doctors but residents, especially those in South Los Angeles. In 1991, Dr. Gill purchased the Vernbro Medical Center where they serve patients from all demographics and have an emphasis on care for Veterans and the homeless.