City Council honors boxer and advocate for deaf with Germantown roots

 Steve 'USS' Cunningham from the USA, picture, salutes after a victory in the boxing ring. He and his family will soon be honored by Philadelphia City Council. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Steve 'USS' Cunningham from the USA, picture, salutes after a victory in the boxing ring. He and his family will soon be honored by Philadelphia City Council. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Eighth District City Councilwoman Cindy Bass introduced a pair of resolutions on Thursday to honor a heavyweight boxer and longtime for the deaf and hard of hearing, both with roots in Germantown.

The resolutions to honor boxer Steve “USS” Cunningham (PDF) and advocate Rosalind McKelvey (PDF) both passed unanimously. Each will be recognized at a City Council meeting on yet-scheduled dates.

The boxer

Cunningham, a 1994 graduate of Germantown High School, overcame a 73-pound weight differential to defeat Natu Visinia via seventh-round TKO in South Philadelphia on Saturday night.

But in-the-ring accolades are only part of the rationale behind the honor.

“More inspiring than Steve Cunningham’s recent victory in the boxing ring is his story and relationship with his daughter,” Bass explained of nine-year-old Kennedy, who suffers from a congenital heart ailment. “As a mother, I know what it is like to put the needs and desires of my daughter before anything else.

“Steve Cunningham has made the difficult decision — despite the advice of others — to continue to fight above his normal weight class in order to pay for his daughter’s treatments. I admire his courage and strength. Steve and his family are in my thoughts and prayers.”

The fighter

McKelvey, who helped bring the Wakefield 49ers and Germantown Deaf Ministries together for a National Night Out event in August, is being honored for activism dating back to the year of the bicentennial.

She was recently honored as the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Council of Southeastern Pennsylvania’s “Hearing Person of the Year.”

“Roz McKelvey has been lifelong resident of the eighth district. She was a fierce advocate for the deaf and hard of hearing at a time when they were all too often marginalized by society,” Bass said. “It is my honor to recognize people like Roz who don’t always do what is easy, but always do what is right.”

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