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(January 15, 2020)

The City of Omaha and Douglas County will recognize employees with the annual Martin Luther King award at a ceremony Friday.  A selection committee reviewed nominations made by the recipients’ co-workers.  A citizen chosen by the Human Rights and Relations Department will also be recognized.

The City of Omaha will recognize Omaha Police Captain Anna Colon. She joined the Omaha Police Department in 1999 and has worked in the Uniform Patrol Bureau, Gang Unit, Internal Affairs and Homicide.  She currently manages the Criminal Investigations Bureau-Special Investigations Section and commands the Officer Involved Investigation Team.

Captain Colon served in the United States Air Force for 24 years. Her military assignments included deployment to the Gulf Coast in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina and a humanitarian deployment to Guatemala to provide medical, dental and vision care to more than 8,500 people.

In 2007, Captain Colon volunteered to serve in Iraq where she worked at a field hospital that cared for critically injured soldiers and civilians. She received military recognition for this assignment, which resulted in a 98% patient survival rate.

Captain Colon retired from the Air Force in 2009 after serving as the Superintendent of the 710th Medical Squadron at Offutt Air Force Base from 2005-2009.

She is a member of the Black Police Officers Association, currently serving as Chaplain.  She is a member of the Latino Police Officers Association, Eastern Star, a PACE coach and volunteer at her church.

Deputy Police Chief Ken Kanger and Chief of Police Todd Schmaderer wrote in the nomination, “The acts by Captain Colon are the personification of Dr. King’s words, “Use me God. Show me how to take who I am, who I want to be, and what I can do, and use it for a purpose greater than myself.”

The Douglas County recipient of the Dr. King award is Douglas County Department of Corrections Captain Leon Valquier.  Captain Valquier  has worked for DCC for 2003 and was promoted to his current position in 2019. His responsibilities include recruitment, training and wellness.

He is a member of the African American Corrections Officer Association, serving as Vice-President and President and a PACE soccer coach.

Sgt. John Deases, nominated Captain Valquier, saying “The dream/torch of Martin Luther King, Jr. still burns today. Captain Valquier carries that torch that burns brightly for diversity, equality and justice.  Through the efforts of Captain Valquier, the Douglas County Jail is a better place.  Many are called to do the right thing when it comes to the social injustices of our day. Without question, Captain Valquier has answered that call.”

“These two leaders make a difference each day.  Like Dr. King, they are committed,   inspiring,   and respectful,” said Mayor Jean Stothert.  “It is an honor to recognize their service on the job and in our community.”

The citizen award will be presented to Dominique Morgan, Executive Director of Black and Pink, the largest prison reform organization in the United States. Mr. Morgan works to dismantle systems that perpetuate violence on LGBTQ/GNC people, and individuals living with HIV and AIDS.  He is an NAACP Freedom Fighter Award recipient, a Young, Black, and Influential Award recipient for Advocacy, and he was recently voted a Ten Top Outstanding Young Omahan.

“Mr. Morgan has demonstrated incredible resilience by overcoming his lived experience of incarceration as a youth,” said Dr. Franklin Thompson, Director of the City of Omaha Human Rights and Relations Department. “He has made an inspiring 180 degree turn in his life, and is now dedicated to the cause of social justice and reform. The success story of rising from the ashes of a hardscrabble past and becoming a role model for the young people of our community cannot be overstated. I believe Martin Luther King Jr. would be proud of Dominique's contribution to the Omaha community.”

The City-County Dr. King Employee Celebration will be held Friday January 17, 2020 at Noon in the Legislative Chambers.