View photos from the 2022 Pittsburgh Circle of Courage Awards. Click the link...
This was a sold out event!
Thanks to all who attended!
FRIDAY, AUGUST 19, 2022
Doubletree by Hilton Monroeville
101 Mall Blvd, Monroeville, PA 15146
For more information
Motivational Moment by Darnell Dinkins (Superbowl Champion)
Drumming Circle led by Keith Murphy
Elegant Awards Program
Silent Auction by Pittsburgh Artists
100 copies of the book "Purpose Gems" by Dr. John Stanko were given away!
There was a special pinning ceremony for past Circle of Courage honorees that attended!
Announcing the 2022 Honorees
Pastor J. Anthony Gilbert
Andre L. Henderson
Dr. Apostle Jermaine Horne
Dr. Kathy W. Humphrey
Elaine B. Jenkins
Rev. Nathaniel Pennybaker
Dr. Rhonda Taliaferro
Brandon S. Thomas
Ricardo J. Williams
Craig L. Dawson
Craig Dawson is Vice President of Soul Pitt Media, host of Soul Pitt Media Health and Business Report/Podcast, and Marketing Consultant for Jonny Good (Bass Player for Lady Gaga).
Craig has worked with entertainers such as Jamie Foxx, D.L. Hughley, B.E.T., Chris Tucker, Kanye West and many Pittsburgh Steeler greats.
Just over 5 years ago, Craig received a call that his daughter had passed out at work and been life-flighted to the hospital due to a massive brain aneurysm. She was in intensive care for over 45 days. She had lost all memory and motor skills, and had to go through complete rehab.
Craig and his wife, Wanda, became her caregivers. Another challenge came soon, as Craig was shocked to be diagnosed with an extremely aggressive form of prostate cancer, which needed to be treated immediately. After 26 radiation treatments, two surgeries and ongoing treatment, Craig explains, “My daughter and I are still here to say, We give all of the glory to God.” Their journey together has been one of faith and courage.
Pastor J. Anthony Gilbert
RELIGION & MEDIA
Pastor J. Anthony Gilbert is an on-fire minister of the word of God whose passion is to restore honor back to God’s house by bringing a fresh spirit of revival through his ministry. A graduate of World Harvest Bible College (founded by Pastor Rod Parsley), he also has a Bachelors in Applied Theology, and is pursuing his Doctorate in Ministry. Previously, he served at Rock of Revelation Church in Olean, NY, and as president of Kingdom Convergence — an ecumenical conglomerate of Pastors and Ministers coming together to further the kingdom.
In 2014, God called Pastor Gilbert and his family to Pittsburgh, PA, to serve at Covenant Church of Pittsburgh under Bishop Joseph Garlington. As of November 2015, they have been pastoring Another Level Ministries, and he’s the president of Another Level Bible Institute, established in 2020. Pastor Jay works closely with Cornerstone Television Network: as a panelist on the Hard Questions program, often on Hope Today, and he now hosts the new Signs of the Times program. He also serves as the President of the newly-founded East Liberty Women’s Care Center, which he and his wife founded together. He currently resides in Pittsburgh with his wife Tiffany and their two sons.
Andre L. Henderson
In 1984, Andre L. Henderson started his career in the 82nd Airborne Division as a paratrooper (small arms tactics/explosives expert) for several years. Andre transitioned to the Army Reserve as a Military Police Officer, training military personnel in SWAT and Active Shooter Response/Countermeasures.
In 1994, Andre was hired as a Pittsburgh Police Officer. Among his accomplishments, he has been a SWAT team leader and lead trainer, and a Bomb Squad Commander, assuming the day-to-day operations of supervising the bomb squad.
In 2011, he retired from the Pittsburgh Police Department. Andre began working for the Department of Defense as a contractor assigned to the United States Marine Corps as a Law Enforcement Professional. He deployed to Afghanistan with the USMC, conducting over 40 joint operational missions with his Afghanistan counterparts. Currently, Andre is the Executive Director of Emergency Management Safety & Security at the Community College of Allegheny County.
Andre conducted two combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan — a tremendous demonstration of faith and courage.
Dr. Apostle Jermaine Horne
Apostle Dr. Jermaine Horne is senior pastor of Breath of Life Church and chief Apostle of Kingdom Dominion Global Fellowship, which covers pastors and churches. He is a singer, musician, and writer of music and some articles. He is family-oriented, and loves cooking. In the past he has also been a tailor and designed various items.
In his career, Apostle Dr. Horne has accomplished great work as a technician in the Operating Room, as a nurse in a Medical/Surgical Intensive Care Unit, and as a teacher at the West Penn School of Nursing.
He founded Breath of Life Music Ministry in 1996, and then Breath of Life Church of Worship in 2009. Apostle Horne has a Master of Arts Christian Leadership degree and Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership: Christian Ministry.
A man of reason and compassion, Dr. Apostle has been seen going into homes to clean, cook and even look after the children or seniors. Recently, he had the most challenging opportunity to care for his mother in her final days.
One of the lessons Dr. Apostle has taken away from his professional challenges is perseverance. He has learned that there must be an inward motivation to keep you working towards any goal.
Dr. Kathy W. Humphrey
Kathy Wilson Humphrey, PhD, is the 11th president of Carlow University. With more than 35 years in higher education, she is revered as an inspirational and visionary leader with a wealth of experience in planning and budgeting; community engagement; diversity, equity and inclusion; and board management.
Dr. Humphrey embraces Carlow’s Mercy heritage and longstanding commitment to social justice as the key to positively impacting and transforming generations of lives. Passionate about helping more students gain access to and complete postsecondary education, she identifies with the 44 percent of PELL-eligible undergraduate students at Carlow, as she, too, was a PELL-eligible college student.
Humphrey is a strong proponent of shared governance. She believes that her mission is to serve the faculty, staff and students, and together, drive the institution forward.
Humphrey’s lifelong career has been devoted to providing students with strong academic foundations, experiential learning opportunities and wrap-around services that support their growth, development and independence to serve as good citizens and contributors to society.
Elaine B. Jenkins
Elaine is a Licensed Professional Registered nurse, patient advocate, a Parish Nurse, life coach, wife, and grandmother. She previously was the Program Director of a Senior Care Coordination Team, which provided Covid-19 vaccinations for thousands of people.
As a nurse, she has over 40 years in the clinical practice. She spent 27 years in corporate America as an Executive Professional Pharmaceutical Sales Representative for Johnson & Johnson, where she demonstrated an outstanding sales career with excellent marketing and training skills. She received many awards, and was successful to accomplish the highest position as a representative in the Johnson & Johnson family of companies.
Elaine was Appointed by Governor Tom Wolf and approved by the US Senate as an Official Member of the PA Council on Aging and recently became the Vice Chairman of the Council. Elaine serves on many boards, including being the current President of AARP Chapter 4706 Hill District and the Health and Wellness Minister at Jubilee International Ministries.
Elaine Jenkins’ career objective is to provide the most exclusive and innovative healthcare to the community which she serves.
Turahn L. Jenkins resides in Churchill, PA, with his wife, Di'Ray, and two children. In addition to his law practice, Turahn is an Adjunct Law Professor at Duquesne University School of Law, a public speaker, and a member of the Board of Viewers.
Turahn has a BA in Criminology, and he graduated from Duquesne University School of Law in 2004 with a Juris Doctor. For many years, Turahn served in private practice, focusing on criminal defense.
In 2013, he was hired as the Deputy Director of Pre-Trial Division for the Allegheny County Office of the Public Defender, and was eventually promoted to Chief Deputy Director of the office. And in 2018, Turahn stepped out on faith and pursued a career in politics, running for District Attorney of Allegheny County. Against all odds, he ran on a platform of reform with the hopes of restructuring our criminal justice system. Despite coming up short, the campaign showed that change is possible.
Back in private practice, Turahn continues to be a leader in the community and walks in his calling as a zealous advocate for others.
Nate has served on the Board of Directors of North Hills Community Outreach since 2015, currently serving as the Board President. NHCO is a community and interfaith-based organization with a vision that Northern Allegheny County is a sharing community, where no one needs to be cold, hungry or alone. NHCO recently completed a strategic plan during Nate’s presidency that will lead the organization to increased impact for years to come.
For 15 years, Nate has been a volunteer Chapter Advisor at the University of Pittsburgh to Sigma Alpha Mu. His civic and professional success led to his selection into the Pitt Greek Life Hall of Fame.
Professionally, Nate is an IT Infrastructure Manager at PPG, leading the SQL Server and Business Intelligence administration teams. He completed a Master of Science degree in Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh. Nate has dedicated countless hours of volunteering in our community. He was named a 2021 Pittsburgh North Regional Chamber Community Champion and also received the 2022 Selfless Service to Others Award at the Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Breakfast.
Keith Murphy served as the Executive Director of Bethany House Academy in Northview Heights for 27 years, and now the Healthy Village Learning Institute (since 2014) in McKeesport. He is the founder of the P.O.W.E.R. (Positive Outcomes With Excuses Removed) Process.
In 1996, Keith made his first of 20 pilgrimages to Ghana, West Africa as part of a special study-development project. Among numerous journeys, Keith has studied in Egypt under the great guidance of Master-Teacher Dr. Asa Hilliard III, of the Ancient African Heritage Study Tour XIV. The trip ventured to Cairo, Memphis, Sakkara, Giza, Karnak, Luxor, Tantera, Edfu, Abu Simbel, Aswan and Elephantine Island.
Keith has worked with several organizations that provide and/or seek to provide African-centered instruction for Pre-K-12 and Adults. Additionally, Keith is an African-centered Development Trainer and Consultant.
Keith focuses on the importance of healthy “life”-style vs. “death”-style, academic excellence, spirituality, historical and cultural relevance of the past, present, and future of the African/American-African experience.
Debbie Norrell is a professional actress with credits that include community theatre, television, radio and feature films. As a polished professional emcee and keynote speaker, Norrell shares:
· Her story of surviving breast cancer twice
· “Breaking the Chains of Debt and still getting your shop on”
· And reinventing yourself.
During the recent pandemic, Norrell put those reinventing skills to work. In 2019, Debbie Norrell retired from her day job at US Bank after serving 19 years as a client trainer in the debit card and ATM industry. During that same time frame Norrell served as the Lifestyle Editor for the New Pittsburgh Courier for 18 years.
Norrell transitioned and now works with the Soul Pitt Quarterly, where she contributes to their website, magazine and podcast. And in 2020, she introduced A Look Not A Label LLC. Previously, in 2013, Norrell was inducted into The Pittsburgh Fashion Week Hall of Fame. During that same year, she was named “Style Icon of the Year” by Style and Steel Pittsburgh and inducted into the Taylor Allderdice High School Hall of Fame – to name just a few awards. Norrell is most proud of her media career at WCXJ, WAMO, WJJJ, and dozens of local and national television commercials.
Rev. Nathaniel Pennybaker
Pastor Nathaniel Pennybaker is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. While at the Mt. Ararat Baptist Church in Pittsburgh, PA, he was licensed and ordained under the leadership of his pastor, Rev. Dr. William H. Curtis. He is married to the former Terri Johnson. He is a father and a grandfather. Rev. Pennybaker is a graduate of American Baptist Theological (ABT) Seminary with a diploma in Theology, earned a Bachelor of Science in Community Ministry at the Geneva College in Beaver Falls, PA, and is a graduate of the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary with a Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies. In March of 2004, Rev. Nathaniel Pennybaker was called to pastor the Triedstone Baptist Church in Rankin, PA. Under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, through Pastor Pennybaker, the church has grown in membership and discipleship. Since Pastor Pennybaker has been at Triedstone, the church has received a new roof, a new church van, the construction of a sound and media room, the securing of a 501(c)(3) for church business, and the following ministries have been established: men’s ministry, women’s ministry, evangelism, intercessory prayer, and youth. Pastor Pennybaker is a child of the Most-High God and a servant to the people of God.
Birdy Reynolds is a District Sales Coordinator with Aflac. She is also an experienced chemist, having worked in the coatings and resins industry. Birdy spent over a decade conducting educational research and transformative professional teacher development at the University of Pittsburgh’s Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC). Her programs centered around utilizing engineering design and product realization as a vehicle to more authentically teach science and exemplify 21st century learning skills.
She has served as an officer on the board of Functional Literacy Ministry Haiti since 2013, and is the current board chairperson. She believes education is a human right and offers a pathway out of poverty. By faith, in the fall of 2015, she relocated to Haiti for six months to help launch Excelsior Technical Institute (ETI). The institute is the only technical school and the only school of higher education in the Thomassin area (one of the communities which FLM-Haiti serves). The program offers Computer Technology, building trades in Electricity and Plumbing, as well as English and culinary arts. To relax, she enjoys dancing, reading and the performing arts.
Malissa Seman is a Talent Programs Manager with Highmark Health. A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, Malissa has spent her professional career working in student growth and development. Currently, Malissa manages the Straight to Business Program, a new early career talent initiative serving diverse recent high school graduates.
Malissa has been a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Community-based and Mentor 2.0 programs since 2016 and was named Pennsylvania’s Big Sister of the Year in 2021. Previously, as a staff leader with BBBS, she recruited, enrolled, and matched children (mentees) and adults (mentors) for 5 school-based mentoring programs (100+ matches). She created and implemented a flexible and unique curriculum for each school program to foster improvements. Malissa was selected as a Finalist for the 2017 Be There Awards. She has also served on the Young Leaders Board for YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh as Vice President, and is the current Vice President of the Board for Get Involved!, Inc. Malissa is an essential part of the Get Involved! Team and brings great passion and talent to all of her civic endeavors.
Dr. Rhonda Taliaferro
EDUCATION & MISSIONS
Throughout her 35+ year career, Rhonda Taliaferro has called upon her faith and courage to serve both local and international communities. As a Duquesne University senior, Rhonda experienced her father’s untimely death. With God’s help, Rhonda continued on – earning her master’s and doctorate degrees in Educational Policy and Administrative Studies at the University of Pittsburgh.
She has served in many educational capacities. As the Principal of the Creative and Performing Arts Middle and High Schools (CAPA), for 14 years, she aided in moving the schools through their first successful Middle States Accreditation. And CAPA High School would ultimately receive distinction as a US Department of Education Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. Later, Rhonda would become a university supervisor to Chatham University Master’s Degree students.
Rhonda has served on multiple community non-profit boards. Since her retirement, Rhonda has been a Board Member for the Functional Literacy Ministries of Haiti, and traveled on four international mission trips to Haiti, a country of civil unrest. Rhonda has been blessed by the opportunity to provide teacher and principal training to empower Haitian educators — and to share her love for the value of education, with its power to fulfill dreams and aspirations. Her call to service continues to be a walk of faith and courage.
Brandon S. Thomas
Brandon Thomas graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work in April, 2020. In the fall, 2020 he began the MSW program as an advanced standing student, and graduated with a Master of Social Work in December 2021. While in the University of Pittsburgh’s undergraduate social work program, Brandon developed a workshop titled, “Quick to Judge: Removing the Stigma.” Among the workshop’s many presentations, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has incorporated it as a part of a systemwide continual education program for all UPMC employees. The Pennsylvania Department of Health has also adopted Brandon’s workshop as a course for Emergency Medical Services employees. In summer term 2019, Brandon was awarded the Academic Community (ACT) Research Honor's College Fellowship, which provided funding for research.
These are just a few of his recognitions. He now looks forward to the knowledge and expertise provided through the Edith Baker Integrated Healthcare Fellowship program. Brandon recently was hired by the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy P.E.R.U. program.
Brittany Tonet is currently the Director of Finance and Administration at North Hills Community Outreach. NHCO is a community and interfaith-based organization addressing the needs of people in crisis, hardship and poverty. NHCO annually provides over 30,000+ services to over 3,500 local families in need through implementation of 20 programs across 40 zip codes and 50 communities. Brittany supervises 4 full-time staff and numerous volunteers in the finance, IT, human resources, facilities management, fleet management, and administration departments. She also controls and oversees $4 million+ in revenue and expenses each year.
Ricardo J. Williams
Ricardo J. Williams is the Economic Opportunity Manager for the Office of Mayor Ed Gainey. He currently leads the Workforce Development and Youth and Education initiatives within the administration. His charge is to convene and collaborate with the corporate community, educational institutions and trade industry partners to develop sustainable “Pathways to Prosperity” training and employment opportunities for all City of Pittsburgh residents as part of the Plan for Peace violence reduction strategy. Mr. Williams is a graduate of Leadership Pittsburgh – Class XXXI, a community focused program that selects emerging leaders across Allegheny County. He was awarded the 2012 Pittsburgh Courier Men of Excellence for his work in Human Services and Community Development. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the University of Pittsburgh and Master’s degree in Non-Profit Management from Robert Morris University.
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