Harford County Executive David R. Craig presented Monsignor G. Michael Schleupner, pastor of St. Margaret, Bel Air, with the Joseph Bond/Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award on Jan. 17.
The award, given in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, also honors the late Joseph Bond, who lived and worked for 76 years in Harford County. Mr. Bond, who worked for the government for more than 50 years, was a three-term NAACP president and a longtime leader in the black community. He was active in the county’s Human Relations Commission as well as other civic and nonprofit groups and his church.
The award is given “For your support of universal brotherhood, peace and justice for all people.”
“I was surprised,” Monsignor Schleupner said. “I got notified about three or four weeks ago and I had no idea this was coming.”
Although Mr. Bond was not Catholic, his widow is, and, ironically, she belongs to St. Margaret’s.
“I’ve only been here two years and this is a large parish, and by no means do I know everybody,” Monsignor Schleupner said. “I was able to meet Thelma Bond and her family through this.”
A letter he received notifying of him of the award read: “This award is presented annually to businesses and/or individuals who demonstrate the spirit and commitment of Mr. Bond and/or Dr. King through unselfish acts of kindness that unite the community. You have been an unsung hero in our community for a while and Harford County Executive, David R. Craig, and the Human Relations Commission feel you deserve some recognition for your efforts.”