George Bedford and Katrina Keyes hope their actions, maybe even their words, can light a spark in today’s youth.
The Alumni Association honored the two in February as the 2007 recipients of UT Arlington’s African-American Alumni Award for their career achievements and contributions to society.
Bedford (’73 BA), a member of the Dallas Police Department since 1974, is a detective in the Southeast Patrol Division’s Investigative Unit. He has received the DPD’s Meritorious Conduct Award.
In 1994 he co-founded the Leslie K. Bedford Memorial Foundation in memory of his daughter, Leslie, who was slain two years earlier. The foundation offers instruction and guidance to girls and women ages 10-25—a demographic that Bedford believes is most endangered—to give them confidence and self-assurance.
He coaches a women’s soccer team, teaches martial arts and conducts self-defense training for women who live in high-crime neighborhoods. Although much of Bedford’s public service has centered on women, his goal has always been to uplift the entire black community. He tries to teach and motivate from an Afro-centric perspective.
“I strongly believe in higher education, especially for minorities and women. The degrees I hold have opened doors and brought opportunities that I never imagined I would have access to.”
“I feel that our African-American community needs more role models,” he said.
Keyes (’96 BBA) has spent more than 10 years working in the interests of the Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Program. She also is president of K Strategies, a public affairs firm that specializes in the construction industry. K Strategies is directing the minority- and women-owned business participation on the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium in Arlington.
Her business savvy has garnered a mountain of accolades, including being ranked as one of the Dallas Business Journal’s “Top 40 Under 40 in Dallas Business” and receiving the Advocate of the Year Award from the Dallas/Fort Worth Minority Business Council, the Outstanding Woman in Construction award from Fort Worth Business & Professional Women, and Regional Director’s Awards from the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency.
She is passionate about her job and considers entrepreneurship a powerful tool that can boost economic growth in minority communities. She also serves on the board of directors of the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce, the Trinity River Authority and the Black Contractors Association.
“I am inspired to find the time to do public service to help others achieve their dreams because so many people mentored me and helped me to pursue my dreams,” she said. “I believe we are all responsible for giving back and helping someone else up.”
Both of these model Mavericks have advice for young African-Americans who may one day follow in their footsteps. Bedford encourages today’s youth to make changes in their world.
“Take a look at the community where the vast majority of minorities are coming from, roll up your sleeves and dive in,” he said. “You cannot solve all the social ills, but nothing happens if you stand on the outside and judge.”
Keyes is a proponent of growth through higher education.
“I strongly believe in higher education, especially for minorities and women,” she said. “The degrees I hold have opened doors and brought opportunities that I never imagined I would have access to.”
— Camille Rogers
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