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Conference Mourns the Loss of Senior NACo Lobbyist

By Larry Jones

Funeral services were held August 6 at the First Baptist Church in Gary, Indiana for Haron Battle, a 14-year housing and community development lobbyist for the National Association of Counties. Haron died in the early morning hours of August 1 after a brief bout with lymphoma. Hundreds of family members, associates and friends from around the country turned out to commemorate the life and legacy of Haron, who was widely recognized as an outstanding worker and a tireless volunteer who made a difference in the lives of so many people. In May, Haron received a Community Development Achievement Award from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, NACo and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

During his time at NACo, he worked very closely with the Conference to win support for reauthorization and increased funding for the Community Development Block Grant program, and for low income housing programs. At the funeral service, NACo Executive Director Larry Naake said Haron was "...dedicated to his career, and had the love of his colleagues in the housing, economic and community development movement. He was committed to the young and the poor, and dedicated many hours each week to education and charitable causes."

Haron was well educated at some of the nation's best schools. He received a Bachelor of Art in Government form Oberlin College, a Master in Divinity from Yale Divinity School, and a Juris Doctorate degree from Northwestern University's Law School. He also distinguished himself as a volunteer with For the Love of Children (FLOC), a non-profit organization that helps children with academic and social problems. At FLOC, Haron served on the Board of Directors and one term as its president. He also personally tutored children with reading problems and many of them eventually learned to read at levels higher than their grade.

Assistant U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Cardell Cooper praised Haron for his work on behalf of county governments and read a letter expressing sympathy and support from Secretary Andrew Cuomo. HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo said "Haron will be missed by those whose lives he touched--at HUD, at NACo, at his church, indeed by every community he reached. He was a man whose constant and infectious energy filled a room. It was an honor to work with him and learn from him." Conference Executive Director J. Thomas Cochran described Haron as a "foot soldier for justice and peace who will be sorely missed in the war against homelessness, hunger and poverty."


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