Activist Andrew Holmes honored by NAACP for helping victims of violence

CHICAGO -- At a South Suburban banquet hall, the harmony and handshakes seem a world away from the discord and division often present when Andrew Holmes is working.

For years, Holmes has stood by victims of violence, pushed for peace, and marched for justice anywhere and anytime he felt it was needed.

“Andrew is out there when people are sleeping, he`s out there when people are waking up; [there’s] something on the inside that drives him to do things for others - it`s never for himself,’” said Helen Morris.

So it's fitting that as Holmes received the NAACP’s Humanitarian Award Saturday he still wanted to turn the focus to others

“The award that I get will be in honor of those fallen children and fallen teens that have lost their lives throughout the years,” Holmes said.

It is hard, emotionally draining work. The 55-year-old decided to dedicate his life to victims of violence after he was shot 25 years ago.

“This is what motivates me, keeps my strength going. It`s not about glory or fame, it`s just about helping people who need,” Holmes said.

Since then he's worked to provide support to victims through the organization Chicago Survivors. In his role, he often shows up at the worst moments in people's lives to help them identify the body, or make funeral arrangements.

Last summer, it was his family that needed consoling when his own daughter was shot and killed.

“After I lost my daughter, I didn`t want to help anybody else,” Holmes recalled.

But as a way to honor her, he continued his work.

“Me hurting on the inside and bleeding, I had to get  back out there because ten other people are hurting and bleeding, and they need somebody,” Holmes said.