Clinton parishioners get peace and justice award

CLINTON – Sallyann McCarthy and Gene Empson, members of Prince of Peace Parish, received the 10th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Peace and Justice Award Jan. 15 during Clinton’s 24th annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration at Ashford University.

Gene Empson, left, and Sallyann McCarthy

McCarthy began working with the Sisters of St. Francis in 1987 as secretary to the president and now serves as director of communications. Since 2009, she has served as co-coordinator of the Clinton Franciscan Center for Active Nonviolence and Peacemaking. She also represents the Sisters on the Board of the Iowa Division of the United Nations Association. McCarthy serves on the Davenport Diocese’s Justice and Peace Advocacy Team. She also is a member of the Clinton Peace Coalition. In the ‘80s, McCarthy worked with Ann Moran and Kim Aycrigg to organize Citizens Concerned About the Nuclear Arms Race.

McCarthy and her husband, Bob, are associates of the Sisters of St. Francis, Clinton. They have five children and two grandchildren. At Prince of Peace Parish, they serve as members of the Prince of Peace Pax Christi and the social action ministry.

Empson serves as commissioner of the Clinton Human Rights Commission and the Clinton Fire and Housing Commission. He also serves as a volunteer mediator and court attendant. Before his retirement, Empson was a teacher in Nebraska, as well as an instructor at Clinton Community College and Mount St. Clare College. He and his wife, Joan, have three sons and three grandchildren.

In her letter of support, Jennifer Graf wrote: “Gene has worked tirelessly to right wrongs through his many years of service on the Human Rights Commission. His guidance and thoughtful perspective has been the rudder to this group’s ship. This award would be a well-deserved thank you for him.”

The MLK Celebration is planned by the MLK Celebration Committee and sponsored by Clinton Community College, Ashford University, Sisters of St. Francis, Methodist Federation for Social Action and the YWCA-Clinton.

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