Citizen of the Week: Reuben Graham has 'always had the desire to help people'

Locals in need received boxes of food at True Gospel Pentecostal Church last month, an effort spearheaded by Bishop Reuben Graham, and that he would lead an endeavor to serve the community is no surprise to those who know him.

"He's always community minded, always out doing something special for the community," said Tom Pinson, director of the Mack Gaston Community Center. "He's very involved and very positive."

Graham's daughter, Betty Herring, said her earliest memories of her father are of him engaged in service endeavors.

"He's always had the desire to help people, no matter who they are, where they come from, or how far they've fallen down," Herring said. "He told me, 'So many people are down on their luck, but they just need a helping hand.'"

Graham, who has devoted four decades to pastoral service, has served as president and vice president of the Concerned Clergy of Greater Whitfield County, a group that formerly met at the community center and "was a big reason the community center was built at this location," Pinson said. "They had the deed to this land at that time" and deeded it to the city of Dalton so the community center could be built at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and North Fredrick Street, because "they saw the benefit it would have to the community."

Graham has continued to be involved with the community center, including his "bread ministry," bringing bread two to three times a week for anyone in need, Pinson said.

"Anything we do here to help the community, he's always part of it."

Herring is also part of the bread ministry, as she's lived her life according to her father's service precepts, she said, noting, "We just want to help."

Graham also has helped numerous people as they transitioned out of prison, she said.

"He'd take them around to get (their identification) or look for a job, whatever they needed."

Graham's church is service minded, an example of which was the food giveaway March 19, and his latest effort toward community betterment has been publicly pushing COVID-19 vaccines, Pinson said.

"He's gotten the shot, and he's been very active in promoting people get vaccinated."

For his decades of community service — and for providing for the spiritual and physical needs of his congregation's members — the Daily Citizen-News names Reuben Graham Citizen of the Week.

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