Four Ohio Valley residents will be honored by the 2022 Martin Luther King Celebration Committee for their work in eliminating racial inequalities.
The Reverend Danny Mason, pastor of Mount Zion Baptist Church in Triadelphia, who has spent years helping children develop academically and socially, and James E. Martin, mailman and volunteer who works to improve lives of East Wheeling residents, will receive the 2022 Martin Luther King Award.
This year’s Rosa Parks award will go to Rosemary Ketchum, a member of Wheeling City Council, who works to help Wheeling’s most vulnerable residents, and the late Florence Washington, an active volunteer and health care professional who has helped establish West Virginia’s first pulmonary rehabilitation program.
The announcement of the awards was made by Father Hadi Sasmita and Ron Scott, Jr., co-chairs of the MLK Celebration Committee. The awards will be presented at the MLK Interfaith Prayer Service, which will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, January 16, at Fourth Street United Methodist Church, 1060 Chapline Street, Wheeling. Masks are mandatory.
Martin is a Vietnam War veteran who retired from the United States Post after 40 years of service. He and other members of Elks Panhandle Lodge 74 have raised thousands of dollars to provide college scholarships for minority students and support other worthy causes. Martin also helped restore the respectability of the American Legion Post 89, a longtime mainstay of the Black Wheeling community that had been declared a public nuisance.
Mason accepted his call to become a minister in 1977 and worked for years with children with special needs in Pittsburgh before becoming a full-time pastor. After living in Pennsylvania and Colorado, he returned to Wheeling in 2011 as an associate pastor at Wayman AME Church. He also worked part-time as the director of the children’s program at Laughlin Memorial Chapel until his retirement. As a member of the MLK Celebration Committee, he enjoyed working with people of different races to achieve Dr. King’s goals of freedom and equality. He has been pastor of Mount Zion Baptist Church in Triadelphia since 2016 and is a member of the Ohio Valley Ministerial Alliance.
Ketchum represents Ward 3 on Wheeling City Council. She is also the Director of Governance for West Virginia Can’t Wait, assisting elected officials in the governance process. As a former member of the Wheeling Human Rights Commission, Rosemary has worked on a variety of issues including racial justice, LGBTQ rights, fair housing and homelessness, and since being elected in 2020, she has used this post to legislate for vulnerable communities.
Washington was active in the Macedonian Baptist Church, participating in the choir and serving as an assistant treasurer, a member of the board of trustees, the Christian education council, and the nurses guild. She was a member of Deborah Temple # 125 and served on the Upper Ohio Valley Family Services Board. She graduated from West Virginia Northern Community College and became the first respiratory therapist of color in the Ohio Valley. She helped create the first pulmonary rehabilitation program in the state of West Virginia, which she led at the Howard Long Wellness Center until her retirement.
Prior to the prayer service, a march will begin at 2 p.m. on Jan. 16 on MLK Way, from the windmill atop Wheeling Hill to the United Methodist Church on Fourth Street. A brief reception will be held after the prayer service. Masks are mandatory for all events.