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Fordham Community Hails its Unsung Heroes


Last week, in anticipation of the Opus Prize Awards honoring some of the world’s unsung humanitarian heroes, Fordham’s news and media relations blog invited the University community to submit their own stories of people who work quietly for the betterment of the world.

Below are some of the responses.

Luke Carriére, FCRH ’04: “My unsung hero is the late Guy Bevil, who founded Amigos de las Americas in 1965, which continues to this day to partner with Latin American organizations to create young leaders and empower poor communities through cross-cultural experiences.”

Angela Belsole, grants and special projects officer in the Graduate School of Social Service:

Sister Beth Dowd, OSU, the founder and executive director of Songcatchers, Inc. Sister Beth (pictured left) founded Songcatchers over 30 years ago in New Rochelle, N.Y. It offers quality music instruction for disadvantaged children and youth in the New Rochelle area, with a stated mission of ‘reaching for peace through music.’ It largely serves the children from Mexican immigrant families by offering lessons at $5 each. In addition to the after-school program (the music instruction), there is also an intergenerational concert choir, a choir camp during the summer and a music program for very young children.”

For Gena Clark, GSE ’90: Pastor Oren Harris of Plainsboro, N.J., is an unsung hero. The Free Methodist minister counseled Clark when she was going through a difficult time and does so for many others who have been hurt through betrayal. “Pastor Harris believes in restoration in a world where cynicism is the norm and betrayal and adultery are tolerated.”

Kristen Clonan, FCLS ’08: Fordham College of Liberal Studies Professor Thomas J. Callahan. “At a point in which I had almost given up, he made me believe I had talent and challenged me, leading to my career in the field of journalism. Great man, professor, motivator, role model.”

And Paul Francis, director of Fordham Global Outreach, provided three unsung heroes he has met through GO:

Father Martin Keaveny—a missionary priest in Colinas, Brazil, since 1994. Fordham’s GO Brazil team works with his parish, which covers a huge area and which is located in one of the poorest areas of Brazil. Father Keaveny formerly served at St. Philip Neri parish in the Bronx before heading to Brazil.”

Father Tim Murphy, (pictured right) a Glenmary priest who works in ruralMississippi. In addition to being parish priest and doing prison ministry, Father Murphy organizes a camp for kids in the summer. Fordham’s GO Mississippi team works at the camp, which services many local children from foster families and low-income households.

Terilyn Burg, a volunteer at Stand Up for Kids in San Diego, which is a drop-in center for homeless teens. She organizes Fordham’s GO students, who work with them over spring break. Burg holds a full-time job and does volunteering on the side.

And Maria Noonan, assistant director in the Office for Prestigious Fellowships, names Father John Flynn. “(He) served at St. Raymond’s parish during the 1960s and 70s — during the time I attended grammar school in the parish. He is (and always has been) a true inspiration to others! He recently retired from St. Martin of Tours due to problems with his health. He is an unsung hero — for me and for many others whose lives he has touched.

To hear more stories of unsung heroes, visit the Opus Prize site and please attend the Opus Awards Ceremony at 5:15 p.m. on Nov. 11 in Keating First on the Rose Hill campus. You can RSVP here.


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