Ohio’s distinguished citizen award renamed in honor of Valley community activist

Local News

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced Tuesday that the Ohio Distinguished Civilian Leadership Award will be renamed the Victoria Allen Distinguished Civilian Leadership Award in honor of a local community activist who recently passed away.

The announcement was made during a special ceremony at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown.

You can read Allen’s obituary below:

Last week, Victoria died just about one month after learning she had cancer. In her time, she formed a block watch group on the city’s south side, helped Greater Youngstown Crimestoppers and organized a number of community projects, from passing out roses for Mother’s Day to making sure kids had presents for Christmas. For Allen, her work was always about how she could help others.

“I wish we had a whole army of Vicky Allens because I think we could solve a lot of problems in short order,” Yost said.

Yost said no fewer than nine police officers and a county judge nominated Allen for the Civilian Leadership Award, with multiple submissions mentioning her work locating missing children, lost or wandering elders, and wanted fugitives; gathering information about crimes; and helping to calm crowds that gather at the scene of violent crimes.

He presented Allen’s husband and her family with the award and announced the name change in Allen’s memory.

Allen’s daughters said her mother’s work began years ago when she created the ICU Blockwatch and put members to work.

“She would gather all the kids around the neighborhood and make us go door to door and put flyers in their mailbox,” Ashanti Allen said.

Along the way, the girls said their mother’s efforts helped break down the walls of mistrust between the community and police.

“I like how we developed relationships with officers because mom was like, ‘they are not all bad. There are still some good people out there,'” Kendra Allen said.

The plan Tuesday was to present Allen her plaque in person during a statewide law enforcement conference in Columbus next week, but her cancer, unfortunately, kept that from happening.

Those who spoke at the ceremony Tuesday all suggested it will take a community effort to fill the space Allen leaves behind.

“If each of us shows some love and kindness to our neighbors, then we can keep her legacy alive,” said Ashley Robinson.

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