Learn more about each award below:
Dexter Ojeda Child Peacemaker Award:Dexter was an 11-year old boy who participated in our Boys Restorative Program. For 3 years, Dexter fought a hard battle against cancer and in his fight inspired, not only us at Men As Peacemakers, but everyone around him with transformational love. During Dexter’s short but powerful life, he brought so much joy into our communities and helped us to more deeply connect with one another. Because of the enduring imprint that Dexter left on this world, we wanted to honor his life and memory by creating a new award. This award is to remind us all that no matter what's going on in our lives, we can still create peace in our communities together. The winner will receive $105.
Steve Rolland Youth Peacemaker Award:Steve was one of the area’s first recipients of a peacemaker award. He was a 34-year veteran of the Duluth Police Department, and for 14 years, Steve walked a beat in downtown Duluth. He was nominated by the CHUM Drop In Center for his many contributions to the people he served on First Street, his peaceful attitude, and his ability to resolve conflicts. He was a friend to people who were struggling in our community, occasionally taking someone fishing or helping connect them to a job. Steve retired back in 1996, shortly after receiving the peacemaker award. After Steve passed away, his family wanted to do something in his honor and chose to establish the Steve Rolland Youth Peacemaker Award in his memory. Every year this award is given to a Duluth high school senior or junior who exemplifies Steve’s peacemaking work. The winner will receive a $1000 scholarship that will help them to further their education.
Gary Gordon Adult Peacemaker Award:Gary Gordon taught at the College of St Scholastica for 30 years, where he helped to start the physical therapy program and chaired the department. He was a well-loved teacher and an inspirational role model for many young people starting off in their careers. Gary was very proud of his Jewish faith and shared it often with schools, churches, and civic groups. He was a rabbinic aide for Temple Israel and often conducted funerals. He was known for showing great warmth and respect when working with families in grief. Gary was known as someone who was always bringing people together. He studied and taught Compassionate Listening and used those techniques when he volunteered his time to help groups that were in conflict. He was involved in many interfaith groups and events in our community. Gary won the Men As Peacemakers Award for leading a group of Christians, Jews and Muslims from Duluth on a trip to Israel where he facilitated Jews and Muslims meeting in each other’s homes for the first time. Gary was a kind and generous husband, father, and friend. He listened to everyone and always made others feel special. He talked to strangers as if he had known them for years and all who met him felt grateful for the time they spent with him. Now, every year the Gary Gordon Adult Peacemaker Award is given in Gary’s honor to an adult who exemplifies peacemaking here in our community, like Gary did. The winner will receive $250.
Organization Peacemaker Award:This award is given to an organization that embodies the heart and vision of Men As Peacemakers. The winning organization must show that they are creating and building peace in our community. The winner will receive $250.
Gary Gordon, who is a past recipient of the Adult Peacemaker Award, for his work to bring Duluth’s Islamic and Jewish communities together.
Steve Rolland, who was a Duluth police officer, known for his compassion and ability to resolve conflicts by many. He was honored as a community peacemaker in the 1996 Celebration of Community Peacemakers.
The Ojeda Family, of whom Dexter Ojeda was the first recipient of this award at the 2018 Celebration of Community Peacemakers, for the enduring imprint that he left on this world and our community.