At its annual convening in Albany Feb. 8-9, the New York State Council of Catholic Charities Directors honored George Horton, director of social and community development for archdiocesan Catholic Charities.
He received the Vincenza DeFazio Award during an evening reception at the Renaissance Hotel Feb. 8. The award is named after the Catholic Charities attorney who was tragically hit and killed by a bus on her way to work in June 1992. She worked with Catholic Charities for 17 years on contracts and cases involving government relations.
“We had been great friends. We came to Catholic Charities around the same time,” Horton said in an interview with Catholic New York Feb. 12.
“I grew to admire her as a person of faith and of great abilities.”
He received the award for his contribution to the council’s work. Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, executive director of New York Catholic Charities, presented him the award.
“I was honored because I respect the work of the Council of Catholic Charities Directors and because it was in the name of my good friend Vinnie,” Horton said.
More than 70 representatives from Catholic Charities agencies across the state participated in the two-day event. Those present from the archdiocese were from Astor Home for Children, Abraham House, Cardinal McClosky Community Services, Good Shepherd Services and others.
Tuesday was a day of advocacy with lawmakers on issues related to state budget negotiations. The council is focusing on three main issues this year: subsidized child care, supportive housing and fair wages.
Horton has served as social and community development director since 1991. He began at Catholic Charities in child welfare work, 1981-1986, and served as director of the Catholic Charities’ Office for the Homeless and Hungry, 1986-1991.
The Bishop Francis J. Mugavero Award was presented to John Carr, former executive director of the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, for his contributions to the work of charity and social justice. “I’ve had a long relationship with John Carr, who has been a leader in our understanding of Catholic social teaching and action at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops,” Horton said. “I was honored to be up for an award at the same time he was getting an award.”