2008 Director’s Community Leadership Awards
Charles Muller, Jr.
On May 29 of this year, a 10-year-old girl was fatally shot by a stray bullet outside of her Albany home. Following the tragedy, Pastor Muller established a local gun buy-back program so that for each firearm that was turned in, Pastor Muller provided a $150 gift card that could be used at a local mall.
As word of this program spread through the community, more and more firearms were exchanged. Funding this program became difficult, but Pastor Muller persevered and was able to secure financial assistance.
In addition to this program, Pastor Muller also initiated a program that provided youth with backpacks before the beginning of the school year. Each backpack came with an anti-gun, anti-violence message.
Pastor Muller’s gun buy-back and backpack programs were so successful that he has received additional financial support through the Albany County Legislature, the Albany County District Attorney’s Office, and the Albany County Sheriff’s Department.
To date, more than 70 guns have been turned in and more than 1,000 backpacks with anti-violence messages have been provided to local school children.