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Black Expo luncheon recognizes Gary natives

Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilsentertainer activist Harry Belafonte IndianBlack Expo. | Phoprovided

Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and entertainer and activist Harry Belafonte at the Indiana Black Expo. | Photo provided

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Updated: August 8, 2012 12:15PM



At the 2012 Indiana Black Expo corporate luncheon July 20, Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson was presented with the “Senator Carolyn Mosby Above and Beyond” Award in Indianapolis.

The award is presented to individuals who’ve made an ongoing commitment to serve humanity and persevere and overcome considerable odds.

The award was presented to Freeman-Wilson by the daughter of late Indiana state senator Carolyn E. Mosby.

Freeman-Wilson thanked IBE for the award, saying she was humbled by the honor.

“I give thanks to God and I know that I cannot do this alone. It will take all of us to turn Gary around,” Freeman-Wilson said.

Other Gary natives were recognized at Indiana Black Expo for their leadership, business and community efforts.

At IBE’s July 17 Summer Celebration Governor’s Reception, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels awarded Vercena Stewart, principal of Ambassador Christian Academy, the award for Achievement in Civic Leadership.

For more than 40 years Stewart has worked with children and families in the areas of education and social services. She is an alumna of the Gary Community School Corp., Indiana University and Chicago Theological Seminary, where she earned her master’s and doctoral degrees in pastoral care and counseling.

The Governor’s Award for Achievement in Business and Entrepreneurship went to Gordon “Big Daddy” and Darquia Biffle of Big Daddy’s BBQ, 4213 Cleveland St.

Big Daddy’s BBQ was the winner of the 2011 American Express OPEN and Facebook Big Break contest and Steve Harvey’s 2010 Best BBW Hoodie Award.

The award winning business started April 2008 when the Biffles set up a tent at the Market City Flea Market property owned by Embassies of Christ Church where they are members.

The following year the Biffles were able to lease an office space, renovate it and open Big Daddy’s BBQ restaurant.



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