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Crockett, Stephanie and Bud Whitehorn honored by Mormon church as bridge builders

The Rochester award has been given out in each of the last eight years.

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Andre Crockett, Stephanie Whitehorn and Bud Whitehorn, shown, were honored at the 2022 Bridge Builder Award event at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Rochester on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022.
Matthew Stolle / Post Bulletin
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ROCHESTER — The Rev. Andre Crockett, and Bud and Stephanie Whitehorn were recognized Friday as “Bridge Builders” within the Rochester community at an event hosted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The award has been given each of the last eight years to recognize individuals who have worked to establish mutual understanding across racial, social, economic and religious barriers for the betterment of Rochester and surrounding communities. The award is given to individuals outside the Mormon faith.

“They stand as great examples of the power and possibility fostered when people put aside their differences and join together for a common goal,” said MC Tracy McCray.

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Stephanie Whitehorn, left, her husband, Bud Whitehorn, and Andre Crockett were awarded the 2022 Bridge Builder recognition by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Rochester Friday, Dec. 2, 2022.
Matthew Stolle / Post Bulletin

The event, held at the church on Viola Heights Drive in Northeast Rochester, was attended by a number of community leaders from law enforcement, city hall, school board and the state Legislature.

“We really wanted to find a way to celebrate and honor the people in the Rochester community that are building bridges,” said Cara Widman, area communication director for the Mormon church in Minnesota.

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Stephanie Whitehorn, a community advocate and entrepreneur, who co-owns with her husband Bud Whitehorn a family-owned transportation company, said she was grateful for the changes that have taken place in Rochester.

“I’m grateful for the change in the things that are coming down the pipeline,” she said. “I’m grateful that people are picking up the torch and that they are continuing with the work. There’s so much more work that needs to be done here.”

Bud Whitehorn has served as community liaison to help bridge the gap between the Black community and the Rochester Police Department. A native of Chicago, Whitehorn talked about how he learned to distrust law enforcement growing up because “we were targeted a lot.”

When he was named community liaison, “it was an opportunity to build that bridge, to have some tough conversations, to have a better relationship,” he said. “And now I can say today that I have a different relationship, a different view of law enforcement.”

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Andre Crockett was one of three people honored at 2022 Bridge Builder Award event at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Rochester Friday, Dec. 2, 2022.
Matthew Stolle / Post Bulletin

Crockett is founder of Barbershop & Social Services, pastor at Vision Church and co-founder of the Community Engagement Response Team.

Crockett recalled coming to Rochester to play basketball at Rochester Community and Technical College in the mid-1990s. At one point, he didn’t think he would last beyond a couple of days.

Then he got his girlfriend pregnant and had no support. He remembered how George Thompson showed up at his apartment with clothes and diapers.

“He was my support, and it impacted me tremendously,” Crockett said.

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He also mentioned former Rochester City Council Member Sandra Means as an important influence on his life. Thompson and Means were both in attendance at the ceremony. Thompson was last year’s Bridge Builder recipient.

“I am what I am today by the grace of God. And I also am who I am today because a lot of people in this room have molded and shaped me. And for that I’m thankful," Crockett said.

Related Topics: PEOPLEFAITH
Matthew Stolle has been a Post Bulletin reporter since 2000 and covered many of the beats that make up a newsroom. In his first several years, he covered K-12 education and higher education in Rochester before shifting to politics. He has also been a features writer. Today, Matt jumps from beat to beat, depending on what his editor and the Rochester area are producing in terms of news. Readers can reach Matthew at 507-281-7415 or mstolle@postbulletin.com.
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