Michael Bushnell

On a sunny Wednesday morning near Ninth St., and Topping Ave.in the Sheffield neighborhood, Kansas City Public Works crews installed three new street signs. This designated Ninth St., between Topping and Winner Rd., as Honorary Jerry and Virginia Morales Drive — recognizing Morales’s service to the Historic Northeast community, which spans over seventy years.

Jerry and Virginia met shortly after the Kansas City 1951 flood, when Jerry was an up and coming amateur boxer. He fought weekly in local Golden Gloves and Pan-American Club-sanctioned bouts. Following this natural disaster, Jerry began to train out of the Whatsoever Center at 12th and Bennington.

 Jerry proposed to Virginia outside the back door of the community center, according to one of their 11 children, Mark Morales. “Mom said yes and that kicked off a 4-year win streak for Dad,” Morales said.

The couple bought a home in the Sheffield neighborhood that same year and have remained active in the community ever since — volunteering with Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, St. Stephens Parish Finance Committees and numerous other roles within church and school. Jerry also continues his involvement with Golden Gloves boxing, as well as the Blue Valley Kiwanis Club, Holy Rosary Credit Union and the Sheffield Neighborhood Association.

“Our parents’ commitment to their marriage of over seventy years, as well as all of the community engagement they’ve been involved with over the years, we thought an honorary street sign would be appropriate,” Morales said. 

The couple was recognized with a community picnic July 8 to honor Jerry’s 90th birthday and the street sign installation.