Local minister honored at Law Day event

JOHNSTOWN – A local minister was honored Wednesday by the Fulton County Bar Association as part of the 2013 Law Day celebration at the Johnstown Holiday Inn.

The Rev. R.W. Williams, a minister who volunteers with hospice care, was awarded the 2013 Liberty Bell award for his work in community service.

“Wow. This is a first for me,” Williams said after receiving his award. “It would be a cliche to say I am honored; I am privileged to be part of this community for the past years.”

Born in Canada, Williams moved to the United States in the 1960s after being ordained as a minister in 1961.

Serving as a minister and a psychologist over his career, he has ministered at several churches, served as a chaplain at the Mountain Valley Hospice since 1991 and program manager at the Fulton County Mental Health Crisis Prevention program since 1985.

Williams said he came to his faith as a teenager, and also started volunteering in his younger years.

“Any time that the Lord or someone else opened a door for me or asked me to enter into a door and do whatever it is I could do, I would,” Williams said “Sometimes it would get me in trouble at home, but I’ve tried to stick to that commitment.”

Williams shared the award with his wife Lorraine, saying that it was as much her award as his.

Fulton County Judge Polly A. Hoye said for her and other members of the committee who chose the winner, it was a difficult job.

“It’s a daunting task. There are so many worthy individuals in our community,” Hoye said.

The keynote speaker for the event, Counselor Kevin Bruen of the Counsel’s Office of the New York State Police, answered questions about the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act.

Going over the major sections of the bills, Bruen pointed out some frequently questioned sections of the bills, including sections on selling guns and passing them on to friends.

“Its going to be very difficult to try and regulate that,” Bruen said.

Law Day, according to Fulton County Bar President Michael J. Poulin, was created by presidential order in 1958. This year’s theme, equality for all, promised that all people will receive due process.

“The rule of law was established to govern our society. It may not be perfect, but it’s intent is noble,” Poulin said.