Rev. Sherry Gale and Rev. Vanessa Oliver Ward will receive the 18th Annual Brother Raymond L. Fitz Award on Friday.

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Two longtime Dayton ministers will be honored Friday as co-recipients of the 18th Annual Brother Raymond L. Fitz Award. The Rev. Sherry Gale and Rev. Vanessa Oliver Ward will be honored by the Montgomery County Family and Children First Council during a Friday luncheon.

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The award honors someone who exemplifies Fitz’ dedication to nurturing and protecting children and families in the community. The Montgomery County Family and Children First Council serves as the lead human services collaborative addressing those issues in the county.

“Reverends Gale and Ward are outstanding examples of what this award represents,” said Tom Kelley, assistant county administrator-Human Services for Montgomery County. “They are active community members who demonstrate a commitment to achieving positive results for the children, families and communities with whom they work, who recognize the value of teamwork, and who have persevered for the long haul and accomplished a lasting impact.”

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Gale, in her 10th year as pastor of Grace United Methodist Church in Dayton, is active in many community collaborations, including the City of Dayton Human Relations Council Board, Community Initiative to Reduce Gun Violence, Montgomery County Re-Entry Policy Board, Dayton Cooks! and the Wesley Community Center. Gale is a graduate of Ashland College, received master’s degrees from both the United Theological Seminary and Miami University and a doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh.

Ward, co-pastor of the Omega Baptist Church, has served a number of community organizations and initiatives, including the Dayton Public Schools Accountability Committee, Miami Valley Urban League, Mayor’s City of Learners Advisory Team, Diversity Committee of the Premier Hospital Board and Dayton Chapter of The Links, Inc. Ward is a graduate of the College of Wooster and United Theological Seminary and received a master’s degree from Hebrew Union College.

Gale and Ward will receive the award during the sold-out event at Top of the Market in downtown Dayton.

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