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HEROES IN THE ‘HOOD HONORS THREE OUTSTANDING ROLE MODELS

CHICAGO (March, 2010) – A civil rights activist who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., one of four Latino players in the NFL, and the community liaison for one of Illinois’ top communication companies have been named 2010’s “Honored Role Models” by GO Airport Express’ “Heroes in the ‘Hood” annual youth recognition program.

Civil, social and spiritual activist Reverend Willie T. Barrow, Chicago Bears Offensive Lineman Roberto Garza, and AT&T Illinois’ External Affairs Director Kimberly McCullough are being recognized for inspiring today’s youth to greater achievement.

The three will be honored at the “Heroes in the ‘Hood” awards ceremony on Thursday, April 15 at the DuSable Museum of African American History when some 100 young people and their mentors are recognized for outstanding community service.

“All three of these role models demonstrate that success takes hard work, determination and a belief in one’s dreams," said John McCarthy, president of GO Airport Express.

Reverend Willie Barrow, aka "The Little Warrior," is known for her tireless work. Her civic journey began in the 1940s, when she was part of a demonstration in which African American students stood against a segregated school system that refused them bus service. She has been fighting for positive social change ever since.

As a field organizer for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the civil rights movement, Barrow was responsible for transportation, shelter, meetings and rallies for the demonstrators, marches and sit-ins. During that time, Barrow founded Operation BREADBASKET, now called the Rainbow-PUSH Coalition, which provides spiritual guidance and practical assistance to communities in need.

In 1997, the Reverend Willie Barrow Wellness Center was opened in her honor. Together with the Barrow Health Mobile Clinic, these services bring affordable health care to underserved areas in Chicago. Today, Barrow’s is chairman emeritus for Rainbow-PUSH Coalition. She coordinates activities for the national organization and serves as an aide to the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Chicago Bears Offensive Lineman Roberto Garza has been a key component of the Chicago Bears since 2005 and is one of four Latino players in the NFL today. He has played in every game over the previous four seasons. Garza has also started in 86 of the 116 career games played during his eight NFL seasons. These impeccable stats earned Garza the cover photo on the Spanish version of the video game, Madden 09 and he was the Bears' nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2006.

However, Garza is not just about football. Since starting his NFL career in 2001, he has helped or contributed to many charitable organizations, including the Rauner Family YMCA in Pilsen, where he is a board member helping design a free football camp for Latino youth. He also supports Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago.

Nationally, Garza is a supporter and member of the United Way. He also is the spokesperson for a bilingual national public service announcement for the American Diabetes Association. Because of Garza’s accomplishments and generosity, his hometown in Texas has declared Dec. 2 “Roberto Garza Day.”

Kimberly McCullough is currently the director of external affairs at AT&T Illinois, where she is responsible for establishing relationships with community and civic leaders, elected officials and other key stakeholders. As one of AT&T’s ambassadors, McCullough coordinates programs that promote good corporate citizenship and enhances community goodwill. She is also the AT&T’s liaison to local government – specifically working with officials in both Cook County and city of Chicago government.

Prior to AT&T, McCullough held positions within state and local governments, including managing statewide regulatory initiatives, human resource functions, and assisting in the management of social service programs.

McCullough is involved in many community initiatives, including (but not limited to) being a member of the board of directors for Chicago Women In Trades, an organization which helps women gain entry into the construction trades; Habilatative Systems, Inc.; Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council; and Calumet Area Industrial Council. In addition, she is a member of the National Association of Black Public Administrators and Chair of the Diversity Action Committee, an inter-governmental alliance dedicated to the growth and development of minority- and women-owned businesses.

The evening’s emcee will be three-time Emmy-award-winning television reporter, Darlene Hill, of FOX Chicago.

“Heroes in the ‘Hood” was created by GO Airport Express to honor area youth for their positive contributions to strengthening the Chicago community. Other sponsors include AT&T Illinois, The Chicago Crusader, Dominick’s, the DuSable Museum of African American History, and WVON-AM. For more information or applications, call 312.666.6662 or visit www.airportexpress.com/community