There were tears of joy and laughter as José Figueroa ended more than two years of sanctuary and took his first step outside the Walnut Grove Lutheran Church on Dec. 23 with his wife Ivania, son Jose Ivan and daughters Esemerelda and Ruby at his side and about 100 supporters present.

Two award nominations for Langley Times

Newspaper up for awards in spot news photo and sports writing

The Langley Times has been named a finalist in two categories for the 2016 Ma Murray Community Newspaper Awards.

Dan Ferguson captured Jose Figueroa’s first taste of freedom as he stepped outside the Walnut Grove Lutheran Church after more than two years spent in sanctuary.

The photograph is a finalist in the Spot News Photo Award (circulation over 25,000) category.

And reporter Gary Ahuja is nominated in the Sports Writing Award category.

His story, Remembering Ryan, details the tragic story of Ryan Donaldson, who took his own life after suffering as many as three concussions.

The winners will be announced on May 7 at the River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond.