Killeen has known Rosa Hereford for her work as one of the longest serving city councilwomen. But on Saturday at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center, she was recognized for everything she has outside of civil service.
Hereford, 78, was named winner of the 63rd annual Golden Deeds Award for her lifetime of service to a wide array of community organizations, charities, schools, and advocacy for civil rights.
The Golden Deeds award is the highest recognition given by the Exchange Club. It recognizes, “the truly outstanding contributions made by a person or persons to their country, community or fellow man,” said Larry Holly, Texas District Exchange Club president
The Exchange Club has been a service club in Killeen since 1955, focusing on Americanism, community service and supporting an end to child abuse and neglect in the community, said Geraldine Lorio, Exchange Club of Killeen president.
Several notable members of the community attended the event, such as Don Nicholas, the U.S. House of Representatives district field representative for Roger Williams; Killeen Police Chief Charles Kimble; Killeen Assistant City Manager David Ellison; Terry E. Gandy, vice president and general manager for the Killeen Daily Herald; Killeen Mayor Pro Tem Jim Kilpatrick; Harker Heights Mayor Pro Tem Jackeline Soriano Fountain; members of Delta Sigma Theta sorority; NAACP Youth Council 6777; and educators from Killeen ISD.
“I don’t know how this happened, but I am very appreciative and thankful to see everyone,” Hereford said. “I am not sure about being deserving, but I am very appreciative.”
The list of Hereford’s accomplishments is extensive. She has been on the executive board of the Killeen Branch NAACP, the first woman and African American woman on the Killeen City Council, a KISD school counselor, an advocate for at risk youth, a member of Delta Sigma Theta, a voter registrar, has raised awareness of sickle cell anemia and is a civil rights activist for African Americans and women.
“She is a tireless community servant,” said former Killeen mayor and emcee for the event Maureen Jouett. “And I really owe her a lot because, when I was going to run for mayor, I asked Rosa if she was going to run and she said, ‘No I don’t think so.’ Because if she would have run, I wouldn’t have run.”
Rosa Hereford was also a member of the Greensboro sit-ins, which were a series of nonviolent protests in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1960 that led to the Woolworth department store chain removing its policy of racial segregation in the Southern United States.
“When black people wanted something, they (Woolworths) would make you sit outside and they would bring it out to you. But you were not allowed to go inside and sit at the counter, and we decided that we would do just that.” Hereford said, “We got shoved and elbowed and later on we were arrested. But we ended up getting out and we picketed that location every day for the rest of the year, and by next year, the lunch counters were open.”
A standing ovation was given to Rosa Hereford upon receiving the award along with hugs and a swarm of cameras. There was also a lighthearted speech from Hereford’s daughter, Lisa Shockey, letting everyone know, “Rosa is OK. Rosa is alive. Rosa is retired.”
“Rosa Hereford is the perfect example of a role model. She teaches the values and the ethics of what makes a great human being,” said Killeen City Councilwoman Debbie Nash-king. “She is a unique and special lady that has touched the lives of many.”