City’s safety leaders recognized at ceremony

Ask any San Francisco resident what issue concerns them most, and the majority will say public safety, whether in their neighborhood, on the MUNI or BART, or in public parks. The Safety Network, a citywide partnership, recognizes that promoting public safety is crucial to ensuring the well-being of The City’s neighborhoods and communities.

It also recognizes those individuals who dedicate their time and energy to making sure that the network’s goals are consistently realized.

In keeping with that tradition, the Safety Network recently celebrated 13 public safety leaders at a special awards reception in San Francisco.

The honorees, who represent a variety of The City’s diverse neighborhoods, are being recognized for their tireless work in making their community a safer place to live, work and play. They are the unsung heroes who volunteer countless hours to organize neighborhood residents, attend and testify at public meetings and create community-driven solutions to tough issues such as crime, violence and drugs.

“Public safety is a very serious issue and it’s easy to concentrate only on the problems,” says Quintin Mecke, director of the Safety Network. “It isn’t often we have the opportunity to celebrate successes and publicly recognize people who make a positive impact in their communities.”

The honorees include Sister Stephanie Hughes ofBayview, founder of the Lazarus House, a nonprofit outreach center run, quite literally, out of her living room; Elaine Zamora, who helped found the Community Benefit District in the Tenderloin; Jim Ayers, who has fought tirelessly to champion the rights of senior citizens living in the Lawrence Hotel on Sixth Street; and Debra Edgerly, who opened her first preschool in the Western Addition in 1984 and has continued to provide much-needed care for children of low-income families ever since.

Another honoree, Frank Kellom, led the community effort to create the Alemany Violence Abatement campaign, which paved the way for permanent beat cops to be stationed in Alemany's public housing units.

Kellom was instrumental in engaging hundreds of Alemany residents and mobilizing their efforts to create a safer living environment; as a result, violent crime has been drastically reduced in the area.

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