National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Honors Recipients with Everyday Freedom Heroes Awards Presented by Delta Air Lines
Contact: Will Jones
Marketing and Communications Manager
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Honors Recipients with
Everyday Freedom Heroes Awards Presented by Delta Air Lines
The Museum’s 15–year anniversary ceremony honors Francie Hiltz
Reverend Damon Lynch, Jr, John Pepper and Edwin Riguad
CINCINNATI, OH. (July 24, 2019) – The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center announced today the “Everyday Freedom Heroes Awards Presented by Delta Air Lines", has reached capacity. In addition to Delta Air Lines being the Presenting Sponsor, the Awards ceremony is also sponsored by the Harold C. Schott Foundation and Proctor and Gamble (P&G). The event takes place on Friday, August 23, beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the Grand Hall of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
The Everyday Freedom Hero Award recognizes individuals and organizations who strive to live up to the ideals of the Underground Railroad movement, using one's resources in order to attend the wellbeing of others. The award recognizes individuals who truly exemplify the best of being a free people in a free society. The Everyday Freedom Hero Award provides the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center with the opportunity to lift up the honorees’ stories in order to inspire the next generation of freedom heroes.
The honorees for this year’s awards are:
As Chair on the Cincinnati Museum Center Board of Trustees, Francie Hiltz was at the helm of merging with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in 2012. She is an advocate for promoting education, health care, human relations causes and arts and cultural organizations. In addition to serving on the Board of Trustees for Cincinnati Museum Center, as Immediate Past Chair, Hiltz serves as Trustee of The Harold C. Schott Foundation, Chair of the Board for Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Vice Chair of Governance for the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden and Director of the Anthony Muñoz Foundation. Hiltz helped lead the charge to approve the support of Union Terminal’s current restoration.
Reverend Damon Lynch, Jr.
Rev. Damon Lynch, Jr. is responsible for the organizing and planning for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. He has been the pastor of the New Jerusalem Baptist Church since 1970. Lynch received a Bachelor of Science from the Cincinnati Christian University and an MBA from the Graduate Theological Foundation at Notre Dame. Among the highlights of Reverend Lynch’s career is the organization and planning of the first Martin Luther King Jr. March in Cincinnati along with Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth and community activist Virginia Coffey.
John E. Pepper, Jr.
John Pepper served as Honorary Co-Chairman of the Board of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and was CEO from January 2006–May 2007. Pepper’s 40-year career spanned various positions at P&G, including Chief Executive Officer and Chairman from 1995–1999 and Chairman of the Board from 2000–2002. He served as Director of P&G from 1984–2003 and President from 1986–1995. Pepper is a founding supporter of Every Child Succeeds and a co-founder and honorary member of the board of the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative. Pepper has devoted over 30 years to Early Childhood and Youth Development.
Ed Rigaud became the first President and CEO of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, helping to lead discussions from the early concept phase to the institution’s grand opening in 2004. He is the Chairman and Owner of EnovaPremier, an automotive supplier of tire and wheel assemblies for new vehicles including Toyota, Hyundai and GM. Rigaud received BS and MS degrees in Chemistry from Xavier University of Louisiana and the University of Cincinnati. Rigaud began a 36–year career at P&G in 1965 and rose to the level of vice president in the Food & Beverage Product Division.
“The Everyday Freedom Hero Award honors those who continually uphold the core ideals, values and mission as reflected in not only the institution, but ultimately for freedom everywhere,” says National Underground Railroad Freedom Center President and COO, Dion Brown. “Each of these individuals undeniably embodies the ideals of courage, cooperation and perseverance through the hard work and service they contribute to our community. It is only fitting we recognize their positive impact.”
“The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center wouldn’t exist without the efforts of these amazing visionaries,” says National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Deputy Director, Jacqueline Dace. “They have provided resources, time and service to the betterment of our community and we honor them for the work they have done, and continue to do in the ongoing fight for freedom.”
“Everyday Freedom Heroes Awards Presented by Delta Air Lines” is on Friday, August 23, beginning at 5:30 in the Grand Hall of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. The event is sold out. To be placed on the waitlist, contact National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Development Manager, Jarrod Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit freedomcenter.org.
About National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center opened in August 2004 on the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Since then, more than 1.3 million people have visited its permanent and changing exhibits and public programs, inspiring everyone to take courageous steps for freedom. Two million people have utilized educational resources online at freedomcenter.org
, working to connect the lessons of the Underground Railroad to inform and inspire today’s global and local fight for freedom. Partnerships include Historians Against Slavery, Polaris Project, Free the Slaves, US Department of State and International Justice Mission. In 2014, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center launched a new online resource in the fight against modern slavery, endslaverynow.org