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The FBI has honored a former West Side neighborhood leader with its annual Community Leadership Award.

Christopher M. Piehota, special agent in charge of the FBI office in Buffalo, presented the award to Nestor Hernandez, former director of the Belle Center, at a ceremony earlier this week.

The award is given annually to individuals or organizations working to combat crime or providing violence and civil rights education to the community they serve.

Hernandez, who left the center earlier this year, increased the center’s staffing from five full-time employees to more than 90 employees and carried out a strategic plan that resulted in a sustainable funding model for the organization.

Hernandez also was active with the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force, a group formed to reduce gang violence across the city.