17th Annual Barrier Breaker Award Honors Aubrey and Gene Locke

It's about overcoming employment barriers in a dignified way. Career and Recovery Resources is a nonprofit, United Way agency that helps people overcome employment barriers.

As a young boy, Gene Locke knew that he wanted to be a lawyer, a profession that didn't have many African Americans. After graduating at the top of his class in high school, he attended the recently integrated University of Houston in the 60s. As a student activist and community organizer, Locke fought for civil rights, women's rights and against police brutality. He later graduated from the South Texas College of Law and was eventually hired as city attorney under Mayor Bob Lanier. He's now a partner at Andrews Kurth LLP.

He and his wife Aubrey, were honored with the Barrier Breaker award by Career and Recovery Resources.

"Its special, because this is such a great organization that provides opportunities for people who are at a crisis in their lives, and if I can help and be a part of helping somebody else, it warms my heart."

Hernandez: "You're on one end of the spectrum and you see the other people with you, and how they've turned their lives around."

Locke: "But for the grace of God, I could be in their shoes. You know, it's all about how you take advantage of opportunities, and I hope that in my life I can be a part of creating opportunities for somebody else."

Traci McMurtrey owes her sobriety from years of drug and alcohol abuse to the organization.

"I can't even describe ...to be honored here ...it's like a Cinderella story, honestly. Career and Recovery has just been a huge, huge support and, especially my very first year of clean and sober, they were my safety net, they were my guide wires, and I probably wouldn't have made it, without them at all, honestly."

Dr Vernus Swisher, is CEO of Career and Recovery Resources.

"We don't have difficulties finding STAR clients. They're happy to tell their story, because they know that they have been the recipient of staff's time, support and concern, and that has made a difference in their lives."

Her calls Barrier Breaker honoree Gene Locke the epitome of what CRR is about.

"Gene has been an activist in fighting for what's good for so many years, and he's had Aubrey alongside of him. She has been a great supporter of public education."

The luncheon attracted more than 400 supporters and raised more than $200K to support the agency's recovery training and employment and education programs.

Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...