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Recognize & Celebrate businesses & people

Great Living Cincinnatians: Honorees

Celebrating the leadership, vision, tenacity, and love of community shared by the recipients of the Great Living Cincinnatian Award, presented annually by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber since 1967.

Rev. Damon Lynch, Jr.

Awarded In 2010

John Williams, the former president of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, summarized the role of Rev. Damon Lynch as “both a bridge builder and a collaborator. While he can be a forceful spokesman and advocate, he has always been able to reach out to both understand and find a solution.”

At his core, Rev. Lynch is a preacher and a man of God. Anyone who has ever attended a Sunday service at New Jerusalem Church in Carthage understands why Rev. Lynch was inducted into the Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall of Fame for Preachers. For almost 40 years at New Jerusalem, he has preached the Word powerfully. His ability as a preacher has resulted in invitations from the Roman Catholic Athenaeum and Mt. St. Mary Seminary to teach its preachers in training.

But Rev. Lynch is more than a preacher, he is a pastor, and not just of his own congregation, but of the city as a whole. As a trustee of Housing Opportunities Made Equal, he has worked to extend basic rights for all people. Working with Virginia Coffee, the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth and Charlene Ventura, Rev. Lynch helped create the Martin Luther King, Jr. March that provides an opportunity for Cincinnatians of all backgrounds to recommit each year to the vision of brotherhood and peace espoused by Dr. King.

As the president of the Baptist Ministers Conference, Lynch became a critical bridge between the African-American community and the broader community on many occasions. When many in the African-American community had questions about the wisdom of a proposal to build two stadiums on the riverfront, Rev. Lynch advocated its passage. In 1993, the Baptist Ministers Conference supported amending the city charter to ban city council from enacting any legislation protecting the civil rights of gays and lesbians. But a decade later, Rev. Lynch joined others in a public campaign to repeal Article 12, arguing that it violated the spirit of the Constitution.

Rev. Lynch also has been actively involved in the creation and development of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center from its inception. He remains involved today as the presiding co-chair of the board of trustees. During a feasibility study in 1996, he helped planners crystallize the importance of the story in American life when he reminded a room full of people, “We always knew that God did not create us to be slaves.”

Nominate a Great Living Cincinnatian

Recipients are selected from candidates by the Cincinnati Chamber’s senior council based on the following criteria: – Community service – Business and civic attainment on a local, state and national or international level – Leadership – Awareness of the needs of others – Distinctive accomplishments that have brought favorable attention to their community, institution or organization