U.S. Representative Kathy Castor held her Annual Black History Month Celebration Luncheon Mon., Feb. 24 at Mt. Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church. This year all honors went to the late Dr. David T. Welch for his life and legacy.
Every year during Black History Month, Castor recognizes some of our hometown leaders and is able to put a statement into the congressional record and the Library of Congress, which will live on in history.
So, a hundred years from now when someone is doing research in the Library on Congress about great Americans and people who have served their community and country, they will come across the service of Dr. Welch.
“He was an American hero because he served his country and came back and built this community one brick at a time. What he was able to do over his lifetime was remarkable. We simply cannot forget all that he put into growing this community. He even grew a county commission,” Castor jokingly said referring to Dr. Welch’s son County Commissioner Ken Welch.
Dr. Welch was a City Council member and a community leader who worked to improve his city for more than a half-century. Besides his stature as a community leader and spokesman, Dr. Welch was a respected businessman. He had operated Welch Accounting & Tax Service since 1966. He was among the first to integrate that section of 16th Street, where African Americans were for years forbidden to live or have businesses south of 15th Avenue South.
Ken Welch thanked Castor for her leadership in Washington and on behalf of the Welch family for the recognition of his father.
“Dad’s life was really about servicing this community whether it was in elected office or not, so this recognition is very special to my family,” said Ken Welch.
Castor highlighted a few issues going on at the federal level such as the Head Start budget that is now battling back from steep cuts. And on the local level she spoke of transportation in and out of St. Pete to jobs. She mentioned that no plans have the rail lines coming into south St. Pete.