Browncoats will always remember November 25th, 2016 as the day Ron Glass, who portrayed the beloved Shepherd Book on Firefly, passed away. In honor of him, we have chosen our charity for this year’s convention, one that was near and dear to Glass’ heart: The Al Wooten Jr. Heritage Center.
The Wooten Center was established in 1990 by founder Myrtle Faye Rumph. It’s a nonprofit youth center named after the founder’s son who was killed in a drive-by shooting in 1989. They provide free after school and low-cost summer programs for boys and girls in grades 3-12. Here is their mission statement from their website:
“The Al Wooten Jr. Heritage Center is a neighborhood approach to the revitalization and empowerment of a community in crisis. We provide a safe and nurturing environment committed to good citizenship and academic excellence."
Ron Glass was heavily involved with the Heritage Center from 1992 until his death. He served as a board member for the entirety of his involvement and as chairperson from 1993-2005. He helped fund the current buildings for the center, was a founder of their annual dinner and golf tournament fundraisers as well as provided the foundation for their college-prep programs that are still in active use to this day.
His last time volunteering with the Heritage Center was in an activity called Storybook Theater, where he read a story from Aesop’s Fables and the kids acted it out. He thoroughly enjoyed introducing kids to the arts and providing the necessary tools for their success in college and beyond.
Mr. Glass was born on July 10th, 1945 in Evansville, Indiana. He was most known for his role in Firefly and as Detective Ron Harris in the 1970s TV series Barney Miller. He was not only a versatile actor but a compassionate, kind soul who gave selflessly to this wonderful organization. Please visit www.wootencenter.org for more information about the charity and to read an in-depth article regarding Glass’ contributions.