FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 22, 2005) -- Governor Ernie Fletcher and the Kentucky Commission on Community Volunteerism and Service (KCCVS) in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services yesterday announced the winners of the 2004 Governor’s Volunteer Awards at a presentation ceremony at the state Capitol building in Frankfort.
A panel of judges with extensive volunteer and community service experience chose 17 winners in nine categories.
Governor Fletcher said volunteerism is synonymous with the pioneer spirit that built Kentucky.
“The spirit of neighbor helping neighbor is as native to Kentucky as the Appalachians, as much a part of our culture as our beloved thoroughbreds,” the governor said. “It’s an honor for me to salute these extraordinary people who are carrying on Kentucky’s long, rich tradition of volunteerism and community service.”
The Governor’s Office launched the awards program in 1975. Since 1995, it has been administered by the KCCVS.
This year’s winners include a mother of special needs children who lends her skills and experience as a school volunteer; a young antiques dealer who donates his profits to beautify a local park; an eighth-grader with special needs challenges who volunteers at an animal shelter; a former mayor who sold his home and moved to a high-crime neighborhood to motivate residents to reclaim their streets; an 82-year-old woman who braves the weather and other obstacles to serve local seniors; and a corporate-military partnership helping families whose loved ones are deployed overseas that grew into a national movement.
Eileen Cackowski, KCCVS director, said Kentuckians volunteer at a rate higher than the national average.
“As a transplanted Kentuckian, I was initially struck by the helpfulness and willingness of Kentuckians to pitch in when there is a need,” she said. “Each year’s nominations for Governor’s Volunteer awards reinforce the fact that community service is both a birthright and a responsibility Kentuckians take very seriously.”
A complete list of award winners and descriptions of their achievements follows:
Challenge Adult Award
A volunteer for Johns Creek Elementary and Pike Central High School, Cristel Hunt has overcome incredible obstacles to give her time and care to others.
Beginning at home with her three children who require special care, Cristel extends her skill and knowledge as a mother to children in the classroom.
She sees potential where others see limitations.
Innovation Youth Award
Franz Ashton Inden
It wasn’t a lemonade stand, but an antique mall booth where Franz learned the art of buying, selling and honest dealing. With profits from his sales, he financed a project that has provided white spruce trees, picnic tables and benches at Mercer County’s Anderson Dean Park.
His gifts are a living testament to hope for the future and peace, love and understanding for today to all who enjoy the beauty created by his generosity and volunteer spirit.
Non-Profit Group Award
Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky
To help shed light on the crime of child abuse, PCAK partnered to create “Promise Not to Tell, a Teachers’ Guide to Recognizing and Responding to Child Sexual Abuse” – a training series for teachers that included an informational binder for each public school teacher and a poster for each school.
PCK also distributed a poster featuring NFL stars for display in public schools and on Lex-Tran buses, reminding about 94,000 people a day that “Real Men Leave the Hittin’ and Slammin’ on the Field.”
Volunteers have contributed more than 16,986 hours to raise awareness of the issue of child abuse.
Challenge Youth Award
Amanda D. Knopfel
Eighth-grader Amanda has dedicated hundreds of hours to the Murray Animal Shelter where she unites lost pets with their owners, exercises, feeds and waters the animals and cleans cages. She is also a volunteer for “Bark in the Park,” a local animal adoption campaign.
She believes all young people should volunteer and be involved in their communities.
Lifetime Achievement Award (tie)
Ronald Joseph Billings
Louisville/Jefferson County, presented posthumously
Faye LaVerne Brumley
A childhood polio survivor, the late Ronald Billings had a successful career and traveled extensively long before there were laws making access a right for the disabled.
Driven by his belief that a community is a stronger and better place to live and work when all citizens have full access, he dedicated his later years to volunteerism and community service and worked to make sure the rights of the disabled were included in Kentucky’s Civil Rights Act.
For a half-century, Faye Brumley has been a consummate volunteer in her community. She was a key figure in efforts to bring community education to Lawrenceburg and provided leadership and advocacy in the creation of the Apple Corps Volunteer program and the local Community of Promise.
She has also served her church, various clubs, boards, the PTA and many non-profit organizations. Her volunteer hours number in the thousands. And she’s nowhere near done yet.
National Service Individual Award
An AmeriCorps VISTA member, Aaron’s volunteer service goes above and beyond the requirements of his program. He has volunteered more than 1,300 hours and recruited 42 volunteers for various community programs in Lexington.
His extraordinary service has involved him in Kids’ Cafés, Family Literacy Nights, science learning projects and computer literacy classes, all efforts to help others improve their own lives and future prospects.
Innovation Adult Award (tie)
Wallace Bryan Jr.
Mary Frances Miller
It takes a special kind of spirit, a special kind of passion, to sell your safe, comfortable home and move to a high-crime, decaying neighborhood just to send a message. But that’s just what former Hopkinsville Mayor Wallace Bryant Jr. did.
When conventional efforts failed to reclaim the streets in an area of town described as unsafe and hopeless, he tried a more unconventional method. By becoming a resident of that neighborhood, his spirit and passion to improve lives sparked a neighborhood revolution that resulted in a community where hope has been restored and residents are now proud to call home.
Also earning the Innovation Adult award, Mary Frances Miller deserves the nickname The Mail Carrier. Neither rain, nor sleet, nor heat, nor dark of night keeps this vivacious lady from her appointed rounds.
She grocery shops, shuttles seniors to various appointments and volunteers at the senior center and the Woodford Adult Day Program. She also volunteers at her church as an usher, a member of the choir and a Vacation Bible School worker.
Volunteer Support Award
The Best Grandparents in the World
Students at Mayfield Elementary School in Richmond are lucky and happy to have the love of grandparents, although the ties that bind these relationships have nothing to do with blood and DNA.
AmeriCorps member Sandy Spaulding worked to pair academically challenged students with local senior citizens who were willing to share their knowledge, skill, patience and affection. Students and grandparents alike took more away from the experience than any of them expected.
Service Group Award
Greater Louisville, Ft. Knox/Bullitt County, Radcliff/Hardin County
Kentucky has seen her share of military men and women deployed overseas. Sometimes the families left behind face difficulties.
The national support program USA Cares was born when Louisville NBC affiliate, WAVE 3 TV, regional Kroger stores and the Ft. Knox Chapter of the Association of the U S Army joined forces to help ease the strain and fill the needs of area military families.
They see to it that cars are repaired, pantries are stocked, mortgages are paid, emergency travel is provided and home fires remain burning for loved ones on active duty.
Citizens Corps Individual Award
Pam Gillim was a member of the very first class of Community Emergency Response Team graduates in Daviess County, and since then she has continued to volunteer up to 20 hours a week as a member of the local Citizen Corps.
She has assisted with each succeeding CERT class and volunteers with emergency management, law enforcement and search and rescue efforts, while working to ensure that Daviess Countians with disabilities are also served.
Citizen Corps Group Award
Audubon Area RSVP Neighborhood Watch Team
When we think of protecting people in a hostile environment or security in a post 9-11 world, we usually do not think of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program. Perhaps we should. In Kentucky, this organization is serving Homeland Security efforts to assist local law enforcement officials with Neighborhood Watch. Following 50 hours of training, these programs are credited with a 34 percent decrease in crime reported to the Sheriff’s Office and 13 arrests on drug trafficking.
Impact Youth Award
Elizabeth S. Singleton
While attending a People to People International Youth Forum in Washington, D,C,, 12-year-old Elizabeth was inspired to make a positive impact on her community.
Aware that McCreary County is ranked 10th poorest in the nation, and aware that education is the key to success, she founded “Elizabeth’s Dictionaries for Kids” with the goal to provide a dictionary to every third grader in the county.
She did the math and set out to raise the $2,556.80 she needed – and exceeded that goal, netting more than $4,800. Her hard work and vision beyond her years have made it possible for the project to continue.
Impact Adult Award
Founder of the soup kitchen in Owensboro, Margaret Mattingly is also a willing volunteer there, helping to serve an average of 80 people a day, seven days a week, in addition to helping prepare meals for local hospice patients.
She coordinates program volunteers and duty assignments, makes sure there are adequate supplies, plans the meals and recruits new volunteers. At the age of 80, Margaret worries about who will follow her when she can no longer do this work. We trust that she will enjoy many more years of service and that her legacy will be generations of volunteers to continue her work well into the future.
Volunteer Director of the Year
Shirley Henderson oversees a volunteer force of more than 2,000 serving the Pulaski County School District. A former volunteer herself, she knows the needs of volunteers and what it takes to make a good project/volunteer match.
One of the hallmarks of her success is the low turnover rate among her volunteers. Many of the parents she recruits to work in classrooms remain long after their own children have been promoted or graduated.
Shirley works to make sure the program is enriching, safe and successful for the district, the schools, the parents and, of course, for the children.
Special Traveling Award
Bluegrass Rural Service Region
CHFS Department of Community Based Services
Last year KCCVS established a traveling award to honor the CHFS service region that collected the most beef stew for Kentucky’s Make a Difference Day signature project.
Last year’s winner, the Bluegrass Rural Service Region, collected 51,068 ounces of beef stew - enough to feed more than 6,000 Kentuckians.
Bluegrass decided that they wanted to keep the award for another year, so last year they collected more than 123,000 ounces of beef stew - enough to feed more than 15,000 Kentuckians.