Republicans honor Maurice Ward for service

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 28, 2003

A resident of Suffolk was honored recently for his dedicated service to the Republican Party of Chesapeake in 2002.

The Outreach Award was presented to Maurice Ward by Congressman J. Randy Forbes on Feb. 15 at the Chesapeake Conference Center.

Ward was born in the Huntersville section of Nansemond County on Jan. 1, 1942.

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He attended the former East Suffolk High School for two years and graduated from Crestwood High School in Chesapeake. Ward also attended Norfolk State University; Tidewater Community College, Suffolk; Radio Engineering Institute of Electronics, Sarasota, Fla.; Tidewater Real Estate School, Norfolk; graduated from Metropolitan Insurance Career Success School, Tampa, Fla.; received a career training diploma from McGraw-Hill Publishing Co., New York through the Naval Supply Center in Norfolk; earned a degree in management; and got a first-class Radio-Telephone Certificate from the Federal Communication Commission, the highest certification that a person can receive in communication.

His tenure as a radio personality expands over three decades, beginning in 1961 on a show for teen-agers at WRAP Radio in Norfolk. That was also the year that he was trained by another famous radio announcer of the time, the late Jack Holmes. Ward later became well known as the gospel announcer on a program titled, &uot;Steal Away To Jesus&uot; on WLPM-1450, in Suffolk.

In 1988-90, he wrote a newspaper column on a weekly basis for a local newspaper in Chesapeake and hosted his own TV talk show titled, &uot;Through My Eyes,&uot; for a Chesapeake Access TV Station. In addition, he hosted a program on WAVY TV-10 called &uot;Pride,&uot; for several months.

Ward said he has always felt good about his political choices. While most black Americans have voted for Democratic candidates, he has been supporting and voting for Republican candidates for several years.

During these years, Ward has tried on many occasions to get blacks and other minorities to vote for Republican candidates.

&uot;Believe me, it was indeed a difficult task,&uot; he said. &uot;My being black and talking to other minority groups, I have found that we have the same values that Republicans have – God first, a strong family relationship, and a superb defense for our county.&uot;

Ward also said that after realizing that all minorities lived and practiced the same values, all that was needed was a vehicle to bridge the gap and that after talking to his close friends both Republican and non-Republican, they felt that he should start a community group (The Vehicle) dedicated to this purpose and other concerns of all minorities. That is when he founded People for People (PFP) Hampton Roads Synergy, Inc., on Nov. 21, 2001.

William C. Small is the co-founder and vice chairman of (PFP) and was at the awards ceremony.

&uot;I was very proud as I stood with the other members of the party to honor Mr. Ward,&uot; said Small. &uot;I was proud that this award was presented to a minority from our organization. According to the members there, it was a &uot;first&uot; in Chesapeake’s Republican Committee.&uot;

Ward said that one of his biggest moments in life was on May 31, 2002, when he and Small received an invitation to the White House to be a special guest of President George W. Bush and Laura Bush for Black Music Month in June 2002.

&uot;We were selected among approximately 200 people from across the country. After the president had spoken for about 25 minutes, each one of us was given a copy of the Black Music Month of June 2002, proclamation, signed by Bush. Another was when I was a gospel announcer at WLPM. I really received a lot of love from many people in Suffolk as a result of that show,&uot; said Ward.