AID Atlanta tree planting to honor Rush, Thornell

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imageThe deaths of Phillip Rush and Allen Thornell continue to reverberate across gay Atlanta and now AID Atlanta is once again commemorating the work of the two longtime LGBT activists.

On Tuesday, the AIDS service organization will join with Trees Atlanta to plant trees in memory of Rush and Thornell, meeting a pledge AID Atlanta officials made during the AIDS Walk Atlanta & 5k Run in October. The event was dedicated to both men.

The trees will be planted at the triangle near 17th Street and the Prado, which is along the route of the annual walk and run.

Rush (top photo) led the Community Foundation’s Lesbian & Gay Funding Initiative for Youth. As a program officer for the foundation, he assisted a number of organizations that advocate for justice, provide needed services and improve the community. He died April 28.

imageThornell (bottom photo) was the director of strategic communications at CARE, the international relief agency headquartered in Atlanta. He was past executive director of Georgia Equality and worked with several other LGBT organizations during his 14 years in Atlanta. Thornell campaigned as openly gay and HIV positive during an unsuccessful race for the Georgia General Assembly in 2006. He died Aug. 3.

During the AIDS Walk, AID Atlanta Executive Director Tracy Elliott called the two men “giants in our community.”

Rush was remembered during a moment of silence at the 22nd Annual Atlanta HRC Gala Dinner & Silent Auction in May and last month, the combined offices of Georgia Equality, Atlanta Lesbian Health Initiative and MEGA Family Project were renamed the Phillip Rush Center.

Thornell and Rush were also named by the Atlanta Pride Committee as two of eight honorary grand marshals for its Nov. 1 parade.

View the full event listing for the tree planting.

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