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Columbus, OH 43215


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Columbus Announces 2020 Shellabarger Illuminator Award Recipient

[COLUMBUS, OH] An icon in the Columbus LGBTQ community, Letha Pugh was named the 2020 Steven Shellabarger Illuminator Award recipient for her outstanding service and activism in Columbus. Mayor Andrew J. Ginther and City Council President Shannon G. Hardin will virtually present the honor during the virtual City Hall Pride Illumination on Monday, June 15.

The Steven Shellabarger Illuminator Award recognizes an individual within the Columbus community who has demonstrated outstanding initiative by promoting LGBTQ rights, and creating a more inclusive Columbus.

Born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, Pugh blazed a path of equity, equality and entrepreneurship since her 2001 move to Columbus. Focusing on improving the lives of residents, she co-founded "Black, Out and Proud" (BOP) Collective that promotes pride among the black LGBTQ community. The mission is to provide advocacy, education and inspiration to those in Columbus who need assistance. 

After witnessing the lack of food and resources among service workers, Pugh co-founded Service, with the primary goal of alleviating hunger within the service industry in Franklin County by soliciting, collecting and preparing food for distribution. Pugh is also the owner of Bake Me Happy with her wife. The gluten-free bakery located in Merion Village is focused on bringing awareness to food allergens and its impact on overall health. Again, the mission is empowerment, this time one cookie, scone, or snack cake at a time.