October 3, 2022

Albany business owner receives Henry Johnson Award

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ALBANY – Some know Angelo “Justice” Maddox Jr. as a longtime business owner on South Pearl Street. Others know him as devout father and dependable friend. But most know Maddox as a fervent role model and mentor that inspires at-risk youth, college students and formerly-incarcerated people in the Capital Region.

As Mayor Kathy Sheehan put it before presenting him with the 6th Annual Henry Johnson Award for Distinguished Community Service on Saturday, Maddox is “many things to many people.”

Maddox – owner of Fresh and Fly Clothing, University of Albany graduate and COVID Recovery Task Force member – was presented the award at a ceremony beginning at noon at the Jennings Landing Amphitheater in Corning Riverfront Park before the start of the Albany Riverfront Jazz Festival.

Dozens of community members gathered for the ceremony, which was free to the public and included appearances from New York Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy, veteran Larry Turner, Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins and members of Albany’s 369th Veterans Association.

Maddox’s speech accepting the award was brimming with gratitude and reflection. He shared a quote from Albany World War I hero Henry Johnson, the award’s namesake, regarding how the sergeant survived 21 wounds in hand-to-hand combat with German troops.

Johnson’s response? “There wasn’t anything so fine about it. Just fought for my life.”

Maddox said he felt a kinship with these words, carrying them with him in the fight for equity and opportunity that would make the Medal of Honor winner – who was ostracized after speaking out against racism in the military – proud.

“I’m just fighting for the betterment of my life, for my family, the people in the community and it’s up to all of us to consistently hold up that battle and fight together to better not just our communities but if we can, the world,” Maddox said.

In her remarks, Fahy highlighted Hoods House of Hoops, one of her favorite community initiatives that Maddox is a part of that provides safe athletic programs to the city’s youth.

Maddox’s story is one of redemption. After being incarcerated as a young man, he turned his life around by graduating from University of Albany and becoming a stalwart pillar for the community.

“Angelo Justice Maddox is a testament to the saying that it’s not where you start but it’s where you finish,” Kevin Johnson, Maddox’s friend and executive director of Albany’s Palace Theatre, said.  

The Henry Johnson Award was created six years ago by the city of Albany and is given to community members who have “demonstrably given of their time and talent to build a better Albany.”

 



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