Local Jefferson Award winners named

March 7, 2011

LIMA — With a doctor, a foster parent, a businessman and a retired teacher among this year’s Jefferson Award winners, it’s clear there isn’t a mold for who will be a great volunteer.What all the 2011 winners do have in common: they selflessly devote hours of their time to better the community.This year, community members nominated 22 individuals from throughout the greater Allen County region. A committee of judges narrowed the nominations to eight winners.“It’s a real challenge for us to narrow those down because each and every person that is nominated has donated countless hours to the organizations they work for and generally to the counties they work in,” said Leila Osting, director of human resources at The Lima News and chairwoman of the judging committee.The winners were:• Dr. Shama Amin, a Lima pediatric endocrinologist who treats children with diabetes. She has campaigned to bring healthier food into schools and helped initiate the Give Me 5 Nutrition program.• Quan Cory, a SAFY board member who has been a foster parent for 14 years. She also volunteers at two summer youth camps in southern Ohio.• Sherry Fetzer, who created “Up to The Challenge” while raising an autistic daughter. The locally funded nonprofit provides social activities such as softball for disabled children and adults in Allen, Van Wert and Putnam counties.• Keiko Hahn, a longtime community activist who organizes home stay exchanges and activities for exchange guests from Lima’s sister city of Harima-cho, Japan.• Jerome O’Neal, who created the Community Enrichment Dinner, which has contributed nearly $70,000 to the community over six years. He also played a role in the opening of Allen County Health Partners.• David Smith, a retired teacher who tutors third-graders and works with a budgeting program for middle and high school pupils. He also volunteers at the Allen County Fair.• Donald Smith, a champion for children with diabetes. He has raised more than $60,000 for Diabetes Youth Services in the past eight years by taking pledges to swim laps on his birthday.• Ray Ward and Paula Thompson, who visit up to 40 patients a day with their dogs through the Pet Therapy Program, which Ward founded in 2003.Each winner receives $350 for the nonprofit of their choice.The local judges sent three nominations on to the national Jefferson Award committee, who will select one person to represent our area in June at the national awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. That person will receive another $700 for his or her organization.You can comment on this story at