By JOE JAROSZ
April 16, 2014
KANSAS CITY, Missouri – For as much as the Federal Bureau of Investigation does for the country, they occasionally need help.
And now, one Northeast community member can say he’s been awarded for serving the greater Kansas City area.
On April 4, 2014, at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C., the bureau recognized John Fierro, president and CEO of the Mattie Rhodes Center, and 57 other individuals and organizations from communities around the country for their community support. Fierro and the other recipients were awarded for their contributions toward crime and violence prevention, education and awareness programs, and efforts to enhance cooperation between law enforcement and all citizens in their community. The Mattie Rhodes Center has been serving Kansas City’s for the past 120 years. The center is a community organization that works to support those living in poverty by providing health services, cultural arts to bridge cultures, provide youth development and wellness to the greater Kansas City area.
“I’m very humbled to receive the award,” Fierro said.
The award was established in 1990 as a way to honor individuals and organizations for their efforts to prevent crime, terrorism, drugs, and violence and to further law enforcement efforts in their communities. This award has become a principal means for the FBI to publicly recognize the achievements of individuals and organizations that make extraordinary contributions to education and the prevention of crime and violence in their communities. Fierro said he was surprised to learn he was a recipient.
“Last year at the Mattie Rhodes Center’s annual luncheon, the regional FBI director stopped by and made the special announcement that I was nominated by a volunteer at the center,” Feirro said.
He said the volunteer who nominated him, Valeri Coyoza, works at the Kansas City Power and Light and is a local liason for women and minority business owners.
“She’s an amazing asset to the community,” Fierro said.
He added the trip to Washington D.C. and the award ceremony was quick. At the ceremony, he received a plaque and a glass statue commemorating the award.
FBI director James B. Comey recognized the recipients of the 2013 Director’s Community Leadership Award. A press release on the FBI’s website said Fierro and others were selected by their area FBI field office and have demonstrated outstanding contributions to their local communities through service.
“This year’s honorees have distinguished themselves in remarkable ways through their hard work, their leadership, and their strength of character,” Comey said in the release. “They are ordinary citizens, but what they have accomplished is nothing short of extraordinary.”
Fierro said the award isn’t about his work alone, but the work of the center.
“It’s about the community and I just try to improve the quality of life in Kansas City,” Fierro said. “I’m blessed to be in a leadership role that allows me to do that.”