March 8, 2012
LIMA — Jefferson Awards judges have named eight local winners of the prestigious national public service award. The winners will be recognized at a banquet March 27 at The City Club. At the banquet, sponsors also will announce which of the eight winners will attend the National Jefferson Awards ceremony in June in Washington, D.C.The local winners are Kay Ahten, of Delphos; Art Brinkman and Jim Sherrick, of Lima; Marlene Froning, of Wapakoneta; Bill Hanz, of Lima; Chas and Beth Myers, of Ottawa; Edward Noble, of St. Marys; Suzanne Kaliher Plumb, of Lima; and Tami Shobe, of Waynesfield.“Although we have selected eight of the 46 nominees to receive this award,” said Leila Osting, director of human resources for The Lima News, and chair of the Jefferson Awards judges’ committee, “every nomination is a winner because everything these people do makes our community a better place to live and raise a family.”The Jefferson Awards program is sponsored locally by The Lima News, Your Hometown Lima Stations and the United Way of Greater Lima.A news release from United Way provided the following details about the winners:Kay Ahten was named a winner for her leadership and volunteer work with Trinity United Methodist Church in Delphos and with the Delphos Canal Commission Museum.Museum volunteer Linda Baker said Ahten was “really the driving force behind the renovations to the second floor of the canal museum. If it hadn’t been for her, we’d still be working at it.”Art Brinkman and Jim Sherrick, owners of the Silver Shears Barbershop, are Jefferson Award winners as founders of the “Barbers Giving Bikes” program. Within five years, the bikes giveaway has grown from two bikes to 163 this past Christmas.“There’s something about a bike at Christmas,” Sherrick said. “It’s something every kid at a certain age looks forward to.”Award winner Marlene Froning’s community work grew out of a tragedy in which her son Keith died as a result of a bicycle accident. Because of that, Froning became an advocate for bicycle safety. Froning fought for a bicycle helmet law in Ohio and helped organize Bicycle Safety Day in Wapakoneta.In its fourth year, the event offers free helmets to children, inspects their bicycles and allows them to ride through a bicycle rodeo course.Bill Hanz has been a volunteer at the Lima YMCA for more than 30 years. He is a volunteer youth soccer coach and mentors young bike riders. Hanz also provides what he refers to as “driving Miss Daisy” services to people who lack transportation to church or other locations. Margie Basinger said, “Bill Hanz doesn’t think twice, for he feels he’s been blessed and volunteering is what you do when you see the community as your home.”Chas and Beth Myers earned a Jefferson Award for their volunteer efforts in developing Putnam County Habitat for Humanity, for which Chas serves as president.The couple also worked on flood relief following the 2007 flooding in the Ottawa area. Chas was coordinator for flood rebuilding projects and he and Beth donated countless volunteer hours to this effort.Award winner Edward Noble, of St. Marys, has spent many of his 94 years in service to the community through Goodfellows, an informal organization that distributes food baskets to families at Christmas.Noble coordinated the Christmas giveaway and, each year, passed the hat at Rotary to collect funds for the food baskets. Noble also was the longtime president of The St. Marys Community Foundation, which awards scholarships and loans to students and which now oversees the Goodfellows project.Suzanne Kaliher Plumb is a Jefferson Award winner for volunteering with a number of organizations, including her church, Cub Scouts, YWCA, the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association.Among her leadership positions, Plumb spent 25 years as chair of the YWCA’s board of trustees.She is also president of the board for Church United Pantry, a food pantry that helps families through occasional emergencies. She also works with the annual Christmas Tree Festival and is a member of the City of Lima Planning Commission.Tami Shobe earned a Jefferson Award as founder of Children’s Medical Missions West, a mission dedicated to helping children with medical needs from all over the world. The group has no paid staff and is, in fact, a “one-woman show.”Shobe arranges for host families and free medical care and pays for the children’s travel with donations from generous people. To date, her organization has helped 240 children.You can comment on this story on www.limaohio.com.