Middletown humanitarian award recognizes longtime community leader

A longtime community leader was recently recognized for his service to the city of Middletown.

The Rev. Gregory Tyus was presented last week with the 11th annual Robert “Sonny” Hill Humanitarian Award following the 2017 State of the City address.

Tyus was accompanied by his wife, Linda, for the presentation made by Patricia Hill, Mr. Hill’s widow, and Middletown Mayor Larry Mulligan.

Mulligan said Tyus was being “recognized for his hard work, tenacity and vision which has contributed to the progress of our community.”

Tyus, who has been the pastor of United Missionary Baptist Church for nearly 25 years, completed the final 18 months of Mr. Hill’s term on Middletown City Council after he became ill. Mr. Hill, who served 12 years as a member of the former city commission and city council, was the first black mayor of Middletown. Mr. Hill died in 2004.

Tyus has also served on the Middletown Board of Education and was board president as well as serving on a number of community boards and organizations such as MALACHI, Inc., the United Way, Middletown Community Foundation, and Middfest International.

The Cincinnati native and Army veteran, was recently appointed to a three-year term as Middletown’s liaison to the Butler Tech board, according to Mulligan’s citation.

“Greg Tyus’ hard work, energy and dedication has positively impacted the city of Middletown and its citizens,” Mulligan said. “His legacy of service will stand as a hallmark for others to emulate.”

Tyus, who gave honor to God, said he made his wife come up with him for the presentation because “she’s the reason why I’m able to do what I do.” He also thanked the Middletown school board and United Missionary Baptist Church for taking a chance on him.

“Middletown has been great to me and I hope and pray I’ve been that great to her,” Tyus said.

Although Tyus said he was quick to accept the award when Patricia Hill called him, he admitted to being nervous about accepting this award. He said he looked up the definition of “humanitarian” — someone that seeks to help humanity or to make humanity better.

“That’s all I seek to do,” he said.

Tyus said he thought the world of Mr. Hill and said he “will cherish this award the most.”

He said that he learned that his real passion was for education and children.

“I learned that if we don’t take care of our children, then none of us sitting here today that are not children, they will have nothing left in life…. That’s all I try to do — is to help someone’s child,” Tyus said. “I try to reach out to children as if I knew them…. and I hope some positive word might help them do the right thing in life.”

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