“Ron Simmons has given his blood, sweat and tears over the past 25 years. He is synonymous with Us Helping Us,” says James Hadley, chairman of the organization’s board of directors. “One of the staffers was saying that two things remained constant over the years: Ron Simmons and the weekly support groups at Us Helping Us. You could always count on those two things being around, vibrant, ready to serve.”
Sadly, after 25 years at the helm of the organization, Simmons is retiring as president and CEO. And Saturday’s annual gala, “A Passion for Living, A Night of Celebratory Giving,” will pay tribute to him, as well as CFO Barbara Prince, who has served the health organization, geared toward the LGBT African-American community, since 1996.
“Ron is someone who has a fundamental understanding of the organization. He has clearly shaped its culture and its work,” says Cornelius Baker, a member of UHU’s board of directors. “That expertise that has been gained from his 25 years of working and leading at Us Helping Us is going to be very, very difficult to replace, as well as the relationships that he has with our funders and with the community.”
“Ron has been part of the fabric of the HIV/AIDS movement, and the LGBT community as well,” Hadley says. “It’s a big loss. But he’s laid a great foundation for the organization, and we’re looking forward to having new leadership next year.”
UHU’s annual gala is Saturday, Oct. 29, from 6 to 11 p.m. at the Student Center Ballroom at UDC, 4200 Connecticut Ave. NW. Tickets are $125 per person. For tickets and more information, visit uhupil.org.
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