Tara Cutlip, 21 and pregnant with her second child, was shot and killed Saturday in her Bahama Drive home. Loved ones gather in front of Tara's home to remember her and speak out against domestic violence.
LIMA — The Lima Library Association has sold a small piece of property it originally purchased for expansion in American Township.
PERRY TOWNSHIP — There is a pretty simple reason Jim Snider works so hard to keep his church’s food pantry going and why he led two trips to help strangers after Hurricane Katrina.
LIMA — She doesn’t hold back. Not her tongue, her time, her love, her gifts.
LIMA — Being a professor for 25 years would seem like plenty of civil service to many. But, David Adams, who has served the Lima/Allen County area for more than 45 years, still believes we have more to accomplish as both a community and society.
LIMA — They help the poor. They cater to the young. They feed the hungry. They make the community a better place.
David S. Adams - Founded and nurtured the Public Officials Dialogue. Adams created the Public Officials Dialogue on the belief that people who come together to share a meal, stories and experiences, also build strong relationships and are willing and ready to cooperate on issues of community concern.
Nominate someone for the Jefferson Awards for Public Service for their volunteerism in Allen, Auglaize, Putnam, Hardin, Hancock or Van Wert counties.
LIMA — Wapakoneta's bike safety lady came away with the big prize Tuesday evening at The City Club during the annual Jefferson Awards presentations.Marlene Froning appeared overcome with emotion when her name was announced as the judges' choice among eight regional winners of the public service award.“I like helping people. It makes you feel so good inside to know that you've been able to help someone. I'll be there for them when they have bad times,” Froning said through tears as she accepted a $700 check. “I know we've had our bad times and we've made it. Now I can go and buy more helmets!”Twenty five years ago, Froning lost her son, Keith, to a car-bicycle accident when he was 9 years old. From her family's grief was born an annual Bicycle Safety Day in Wapakoneta. Now in its fourth year, the program covers the full spectrum — from ensuring children's bicycles are mechanically safe to informing the children and parents about all manner of different traffic laws and safety tips. Each child also receives a properly-fitted bicycle helmet.Froning and the other seven winners for the 2012 Jefferson Awards were chosen from nearly 50 nominations from across the region. As the overall winner she will represent the Lima area at the national Jefferson Awards ceremony in June in Washington, D.C. At that ceremony, Five gold medallion Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Awards will be presented for greatest public service benefitting local communities.Each of the winners received a $350 check for the volunteer organizations they represent. Each recipient was quick to deflect credit for their work, saying they are just a few within a community of exceptional volunteers. They all acknowledged the networks of people who surround and help them make their organizations reach their goals.“There are thousands of people throughout the community who do what we do,” said Bill Hanz, a 31-year volunteer soccer coach with the YMCA. Hanz honored the parents who put their trust in his coaching, including three couples he'd invited to sit at his table for the Old Barn Out Back-catered banquet.“The privilege of having your children with me and the trust you have placed with me and the people that have helped me has really been quite an honor,” Hanz said.The Lima News Marketing Director Bill Clinger, who was co-master of ceremonies with Your Hometown Stations news anchor Amyre Makupson, said this year's winners are the most geographically diverse, including winners from St. Marys, Delphos, Ottawa and St. Marys as well as from the immediate Lima area.“That is truly a testament to what you folks do for your communities, and again, we thank you because you are all winners,” Clinger said.The Jefferson Awards program is sponsored by The Lima News, Your Hometown Stations and the United Way of Greater Lima.
LIMA — Bill Hanz worked with hardened criminals for 30 years as a parole officer. Thirty-one years ago, he needed a distraction from that job. The YMCA was forming a youth soccer league and Hanz turned out to be the perfect person for the job.“Working with offenders can be really frustrating, depressing and sad. The antidote to that is working with kids who are a lot of fun, positive and enthusiastic,” he said.The 62-year-old Hanz is a local Jefferson Award winner. He was nominated for his work with youth soccer helping children in fourth through sixth grades.When he started, Hanz knew nothing about soccer. “I never picked up a soccer ball until they started the Y program,” he said. From the beginning, he knew children would get as much of a kick out of it as he did. “High schools didn't have it. There were no clubs. There was nothing. I thought I can do this, but I don't know anything about soccer but nobody else does,” he said.Sports has always been a part of his life. Hanz grew up Bronx, N.Y., watching the likes of Mickey Mantle, Edwin “Duke” Snider and Willie Mays Jr. Watching some of the greatest players to ever play baseball also taught him a lesson in sportsmanship he passes on to the children he coaches. “When Mickey Mantle hit a home run, he would put his head down and run around the bases. He would never show up the pitcher,” Hanz said.Because of that, sportsmanship is a top priority, he said.“I want them to be good sports. I want them to respect themselves, their teammates and certainly the opposition, the officials, the parents and myself and any other adults helping. I have a very low tolerance for no sportsmanship,” he said.Along the way, he's learned a lot about soccer. He loves the YMCA program's focus on sportsmanship. “It's far more important to develop your sportsmanship and skills. Winning is the least significant part of this. I've had wonderful seasons that we were 0 and 10,” he said. Besides that, the YMCA teams allows students from across the community to mix together and work as a team, another positive aspect, he said. “I'll have kids from five different schools on one team,” he said. As a child, Hanz wanted to be a priest, but that changed to a goal of finding a career helping people. That ultimately kept him in Lima, where he moved with his wife and friends hoping to go to law school at Ohio Northern University. His wife landed a job as a teacher and he found a rewarding job helping offenders trying to reintegrate into society. He never lost sight of what he considers the true measurer of success: helping people.“Life is not about going through and grabbing as many goodies as you can. That's missing the whole point of it,” he said.Hanz retired nine years ago as a supervisor at the Adult Parole Authority. Coaching soccer and other tasks keep him busy.Hanz works hard to meet the needs of children on the team. Many have different reason why they join. Some want to compete or find new friends. Some join just for the uniform, he said.“As a coach, it's my job to recognize what a child's basic interests are and try to meet that,” he said.
WAYNESFIELD — It is far from an easy job or one without its share of frustrations and sadness. Children sometimes die waiting for their chance to come to the United States for surgery. A few have died while here or on their way. Some of the stories of why they need help in the first place are imaginable.“With one phone call, my life can go ‘oh my goodness,’” Tami Shobe says of running Children’s Medical Missions West, a non-profit, Christian organization that brings children from other countries to the U.S. for medical treatment.Shobe, of Waynesfield, is one of this year’s local Jefferson Award winners. She was nominated by Lima’s Dr. William Scherger, who has helped some of those children.It is those success stories — and there are many — that makes the work and worry all worth it for Shobe, who started the organization nine years ago.“Ninety percent of the time they are good stories,” she said. “It is amazing to see the transformation, especially in the heart kids. Some of them are awfully tiny. They are sickly, and when they go home you can hardly believe it is the same child.”One-year-old Xin Rui will likely be one of those success stories. Staying with a host family in Fort Wayne, Ind., he recently had surgery to repair a cleft lip and palate. When he is healed, Xin Rui will return home to his family in China. Early this week, his host mother brought him to see Shobe. It is the first they have seen each other since she picked him up from the airport nearly two months ago. Shobe will be the one to return him to the airport, too.Shobe can only explain her commitment with a simple response that she loves children. Before she and husband, Greg, started their family of six children, the couple fostered children. They have fostered 20 children over 28 years.“We just always liked children,” she said. “We wanted a large family. We just enjoyed the kids.”The Shobe family first started hosting children for Healing the Children, an organization that also brings children here for medical reasons. She later became coordinator of the Ohio-Michigan chapter.She started her own organization largely because she wanted to help children in Africa, especially those in Burkino Faso. She had family members who had visited there.“That was where my heart was, in Africa,” she said. “Burkino Faso is the third-poorest country in the world, but yet they are such nice kids. They have a good sense of family values there, good family structure.”Children also come from places like the Ivory Coast, Uganda, Nigeria, Chad, Honduras, Haiti and most recently two from China. Just this week, Shobe brought three children from Haiti and three from Africa. She meets every child at the airport to deliver them to their temporary families. Conditions include heart problems, urinary issues, brain tumors, club foot and other orthopedic problems. Many of the issues are rather minor and fixable in the United States, but are much more serious in the poverty-stricken countries.“We do a lot of cleft lip and palate. You don’t think of that as life threatening, but I have had many children die before I get the paperwork done because they can’t nurse and they don’t have bottles and formula,” she said, adding that orthopedic surgeries give children hope. “It gives them a better quality of life,” she said. “If they never walk in those countries, they are nothing but beggars. They can never have any hope.”Shobe currently has 30 children in the U.S. The organization helps around 40 a year. Children are spread around the country.Once a doctor accepts a child and is willing to do the procedure for free, Shobe goes to work on contacting a hospital and then finding a host family. Word of mouth has proven the best way to find host families. If needed, Shobe contacts churches for help. Like she experienced too, once families host a child, they usually want to do it again.“The amazing thing is you go into it thinking you are going to bless this child and in the end you are the one who gets the true blessing out of it,” she said. Part of the work for Shobe is securing donations to support the program. One way she raises money is through an annual golf outing. “I am very thankful to all of my host families, doctors, hospitals and the communities that give of their time. I could not do this without everyone,” she said. “Lastly, all the credit goes to God. Without him none of what I do would be possible.”For details on Children’s Medical Missions West or to find out how to help, go to www.cmmwest.com.You can comment on this story at www.limaohio.com.
DELPHOS — As a tour guide, Kay Ahten is in her element, moving guests from displays of wedding clothes to general store to log cabin to military displays to medical equipment at the Delphos Canal Commission Museum.Make her sit down and talk about her labors of love — the museum and missions at Trinity United Methodist Church — try and pin her down, and she squirms. As a friend lauds her work, she hides her head in her hands, barely able to accept the praise.“The bottom line is,” Ahten said, “I just want to help people.”Ahten is a Jefferson Award nominee for 2012. The local winner will be announced March 27 and represent the area in Washington, D.C.For 40 years, her work at the church has touched many lives, said Diana Ireland, who nominated Ahten for the award.“At the church, there's not a thing she's not involved in,” Ireland said. “At the museum, she's like an Energizer bunny. I'm just so impressed with her. She gives and gives.”She has served as president of Trinity United Methodist Women, headed the Missions Committee, and served as craft director at vacation Bible school and Sunday school teacher. Ahten and her husband, Ron, also planted a large garden and she sold canned produce and pies to raise money for missions.In 2005, she and Ron became trustees and volunteers at the museum, refinishing furniture and other pieces, and also doing repairs and maintenance for the museum's building. When Ron died in 2008 after a battle with cancer, Kay could have pulled back from her volunteering, but seemed to take on more, Ireland said.Everything in the museum about the history of Delphos is donated. To say that people have been generous is an understatement. The place was bursting with things, and no good space to display it. In 2010, when the museum trustees took on the task of opening up the second floor of the museum, Ahten jumped in. She drew up the organizational plan for displays and then, on bad knees, did a large part of the sanding, staining and sealing of the floors.A retired schoolteacher, Ahten said she has a love of art, history and family.“My parents, my mom especially, she liked to collect stuff. People gave her things. We would repair things to have stuff. Mom and Dad appreciated old things. Family was important,” Ahten said.Through her parents, she learned values and skills that would help her serve others. For 30 years, she and her husband canned produce sold at the Laurel Oaks craft show once a year to fund church missions. The garden now includes berries, rhubarb and a small orchard. She and Ron also refinished furniture for decades, and brought those skills to the museum.Ireland said she wanted to bring a little recognition Ahten's way, to show the appreciation of the community.“Her parents raised her to give without expecting anything back,” Ireland said. “She takes every opportunity to do something good.”
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.
LIMA — Helping out. Giving back. Building the future. It goes by a lot of names, but volunteerism is big in our region.To honor those who give of their time and energy, the 2012 Jefferson Awards for Public Service kicked off the nomination period on Thursday. Volunteers from Allen, Auglaize, Putnam, Hardin, Hancock, and Van Wert counties are eligible for the local awards. Nominations can be submitted until Feb. 22.Eight local Jefferson Award winners will be selected. The eight local winners will each receive $350 for the nonprofit organization for which they volunteer. One of the eight local winners will advance to national competition and will receive an additional $700 for the organization for which they volunteer.The $3,500 for those awards this year, as in the past dozen or so years, comes from Alberta Lee.The quiet, former Allen County commissioner is a longtime advocate of public service and volunteerism.“I do this, I guess, because the community has done a lot for me and I want to continue the payback,” Lee said. “I think the Jefferson Awards, and volunteerism as such, is such a positive part of people’s lives.” A banquet to honor the local winners will be held March 27.The local awards are sponsored by Your Hometown Lima Stations, United Way of Greater Lima and The Lima News. The awards were founded in 1972 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Sen. Robert Taft Jr., and Sam Beard to honor outstanding volunteers at the local and national levels.Nominations can be submitted online at http://limaohio.com/jeffersonawards. Nomination forms will also be printed in The Lima News and are available at Your Hometown Lima Stations, 1424 Rice Ave.; United Way of Greater Lima, 616 S. Collett St.; The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road; and the Lima Public Library. Forms are also available online at http://wlio.com, and http://unitedwaylima.org. Nominations can be submitted online or mailed to The Jefferson Awards, United Way of Greater Lima, 616 S. Collett St., Lima, 45805.
DELPHOS — Sherry Fetzer, a local representative for the national Jefferson Awards, didn't come away with a prize Tuesday night but has certainly made an impact on her community.The Delphos resident was invited to attend the 39th annual ceremony in Washington, D.C., for the Jefferson Awards, which recognizes volunteers, for her “Up To The Challenge” program. Fetzer created the locally funded nonprofit organization while raising an epileptic daughter to provide social activities for disabled children and adults. The program holds events such as softball in Allen, Van Wert and Putnam counties.Fetzer's program received $350 when she was named one of eight local finalists and $700 when she was named the 2011 local representative. The program “Up To The Challenge” began when a friend of Fetzer's with an autistic son became frustrated with the lack of family activities available. Fetzer, who also faced challenges raising her epileptic daughter, set about creating the program.The first softball game of about 40 players with various challenges took place in July 2003. In addition to that, anywhere from 60 to 100 people attend swimming, bowling and dancing events.The organization has never seen a shortage of volunteers, according to Fetzer. She herself has knocked on doors in Delphos seeking donations. “We could not do any of this without the volunteers and all our families,” Fetzer told The Lima News. “Our community is starting to really get on board.”Twenty-two people were nominated for the Jefferson Awards, and local judges reduced the number to eight before selecting one person to represent the Lima region. Your Hometown Lima Stations, the United Way of Greater Lima, and The Lima News sponsor the local Jefferson Awards for Public Service.You can comment on this story at www.LimaOhio.com.
LIMA — Sherry Fetzer has worked the past eight years to make sure everybody has the opportunity to feel special. Tuesday night, it was her turn.Ironically, Fetzer spent her big night as the region's latest Jefferson Award winner about as far away from Lima as she could get.“Actually, she's on a beach in Aruba, where, of course, it's 80 or 90 degrees,” said her daughter Kristi Fetzer while accepting the award for her mother. “I told her I'd be willing to trade her places. She didn't take me up on it.Fetzer was chosen from among eight nominees as winner of this year's Jefferson Award for Public Service. She was chosen for her work as founder and leader of Up To The Challenge, a program that provides sporting activities for people of all ages who are physically, mentally or medically challenged. Today, between 60 and 100 people participate in the annual softball game, along with swimming, bowling and a dance.Her nominator, Rick Miller, said Fetzer's effort to grow the program from nothing has been an inspiration to the entire Delphos community.“Her contribution to the community with Up To The Challenge is outstanding, innovative and impressive. Her volunteerism and all the volunteers who make up Up To The Challenge are leaving a profound influence on the community,” said Miller, a former Jefferson nominee in his own right.In her absence, Fetzer's daughter read a speech written before the Delphos business owner took off for the islands. In it, she quoted from a song written for Up To The Challenge.“What would you do to create the good? Let us come together and do what we should,” Fetzer wrote.Fetzer's win will mean $1,050 in award money for Up To The Challenge, and that is just for starters. The top nominees, selected by local judges, received $350 each and had their nominations forwarded to the national Jefferson Award committee, who selected Fetzer for the honor and an additional $700 award to her charity. Fetzer will go on to represent the area in June at the national awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.The other 2011 Jefferson Award nominees were Dr. Shama Amin, of Lima; Quan Cory, of Cridersville; Keiko Hahn, of Lima; Jerome O'Neal, of Lima; David Smith, of Lima; Donald Smith, of Continental; and Ray Ward and Paula Thompson, of Lima.
DELPHOS — There’s a moment every dedicated foster parent knows.“It’s almost indescribable, just being able to see in their faces what appears to be joy in the realization that somebody cares for them,” said Quan Cory, a longtime volunteer with Specialized Alternatives for Families and Youth. “Sometimes, it’s so quick and so slight, like a little half-grin, you might miss it.”Cory, 54, of Cridersville, has seen that fleeting expression of joy countless times as a SAFY volunteer. A self-described “minister of help,” Cory has been a foster parent for more than 14 years, volunteering as a family and staff advocate on SAFY’s boards since 2000.The not-for-profit foster care and adoption agency, headquartered in Delphos, serves 4,300 difficult-to-place foster children in eight states every year.Now a member of SAFY’s board of directors, Cory says she misses the direct contact of foster care but takes comfort in knowing her work as a director has a much broader impact. With her firsthand experience, she represents to the board the clinical aspects of foster care as well as policies pertaining to foster parents, children and staff. According to SAFY Marketing Director Amy Rode, Cory’s role on the board is to voice the concerns of SAFY’s clinicians and families, and to follow through with actions that ultimately ensure those with the softest voices — the foster children — are heard.“Quan Cory is nominated for the many acts of kindness she performs daily to assist others, and for her work on the board of directors,” Rode wrote when nominating Cory for the 2011 Jefferson Award. “Her volunteer work makes our community a kinder, gentler place to live where families and children are valued above all else.”The rewards can be tough to measure, especially in Cory’s specialty of short-term respite placements — short-term stays while more permanent family settings are arranged. The demands can be equally hard to measure.“She understands foster parenting involves more than the resources that are provided by the state and time marked,” Rode said in the nomination.In addition to the many respite foster children, Cory and her husband, Ted, an Ohio Department of Transportation employee, raised three long-term foster children along with their daughter, Cassondra, 34, and son Michah, 25. They consider all five children their family. “Everybody’s children are everybody’s children,” Cory said.One of Cory’s most rewarding days as a foster parent was the result of her desire and ability to help beyond the call of duty. It involved one of her three long-term adoptions. The young man was 16, the only remaining resident of an area independent living facility that was about to close. Cory and her husband were warned it would be a difficult placement because of the youth’s severe attachment issues.“After about a month of visits, we decided to try,” Cory said. “We were told this young man was hardened and would never bond with anyone.”He stayed with the Corys throughout the remainder of his high school life and went on to college. “In time, he began to call my children his brother and sister but never called me or my husband mom and dad,” she said. “Every once in a while on a good day he would refer to us as his aunt or uncle, but we were never mom or dad.”One day the young man called home from college. When Cory answered the phone, he said, “Hey, Ma! How are you doing?” He has called her “Ma” ever since.“Out of all the kids I have been in contact with, throughout all the successes and failures, that was my single greatest moment,” Cory said. “This child who had a horrible upbringing that society said would never allow anyone to become close to him, and one day he felt enough love in his heart that we became his parents. That’s the greatest! He still struggles, but that’s OK because we’re his family.”In addition to her work at SAFY, Cory volunteers as an administrative assistant and office manager at Greater Christ Temple Church. Her church ministry of helps often includes driving parishioners to the doctor or to get groceries. She routinely visits the sick in hospital. She’s a longtime Sunday school teacher and volunteers in the church’s kitchen.In the summer, Cory works with two youth camps in southern Ohio. At one camp she mentors seventh-grade girls; at the other, she’s the head cook.You can comment on this story at www.limaohio.com.
LIMA — Shama Amin is the type of person who sees a problem and creates a solution.As a pediatric endocrinologist in Lima, where she's lived since 1978, she saw many children with diabetes. Instead of just treating them she set out in 1999 to prevent the disease.“There is no cure for diabetes,” she said. “We can treat it, but we cannot cure it. The best way to treat diabetes is to prevent it.”She worked with local schools to reduce or remove soft drinks from vending machines and offer better food options. She also worked with school leaders and state legislators to improve diet and nutrition planning in schools.Three years ago Amin began working with local organizations to teach children to make better lifestyle and food choices.She brought together funding from a dozen local organizations including hospitals, medical academies, businesses and schools to create the Give Me 5 program. The program is run in Lima City, Shawnee and Spencerville schools, Quest and Heir Force academies and St. Gerard School.The obesity rate in Allen County remains where it was 10 years ago, despite rises nationally. Lima Mayor David Berger, who nominated Amin for the 2011 Jefferson Awards for public service, credits her efforts in keeping the rate the same.Amin is not pleased with the results so far. “Not very much, but it takes time,” she said. “It takes a long time to change the mindset and then it takes a long time to teach it to the parents.” In addition to her work against diabetes, Amin has served as president and vice-president of Lima Sister Cities Association. “I think that showing different cultures to Lima is very important,” she said.She helped with the formation of the India Club for Indian families living in the Lima area. She downplays her part. “A lot of the India club people were ready to go for it,” she said. “I didn't really have to do much. They just needed some direction, I guess.”She has helped with fundraising for ArtSpace Lima and the American Red Cross. Her work for Red Cross began when an earthquake struck India ten years ago.She says its in her nature to step up and create solutions.“I usually feel that I can help in certain things, and if I can help, I like to go all the way,” she said She's humbled by her nomination for the Jefferson Award. “It was very much a surprise. To me, I never think that what I'm doing is so great,” she said.“Actually, when people say I do it single-handedly, that's not true. A lot of people help me.“There's nothing you can do single-handedly.”You can comment on this story at LimaOhio.com
CONTINENTAL — Don Smith, of Continental, has always been an advocate for children.As a probation officer in Putnam County, he witnessed firsthand the best and worst of what children live through. Or so he thought.But a chance encounter with a pamphlet on juvenile diabetes turned his world around. And since that chance encounter eight years ago, Smith has become the greatest individual supporter in the history of Diabetic Youth Services in Maumee, raising more than $60,000 for the agency since 2004.“He’s really been a godsend to us,” said Tim Eichenauer, past chairman of the board of that organization, who nominated Smith for a Jefferson Award. “It’s very rare that somebody would take on something like this, but he just does it out of the goodness of his heart. He’s almost a benefactor to us. His support is part of the reason we’re still around.”How does Smith do it? A lap at a time.“I swim a mile every day. One day when I was heading to the Defiance Y to swim, I saw a DYS pamphlet advertising a swimming fundraiser. I mentioned it to my doctor, and he said if I swam 100 laps rather than my normal 70, he’d give me $100 for DYS. That first year I raised $1,700,” Smith said.After that event, he and his wife, Connie, went to the DYS banquet. “I’ve seen kids at their best and worst, but I’ve never seen anything like what we saw that night. The stories they told were amazing. When we left for home, we went the first eight miles unable to even talk. Finally my mother-in-law said what we were all thinking, ‘We don’t even know how fortunate we are.’”After that, Smith began looking more deeply into the organization.“I’m always skeptical about how money is used, so for me the easiest way to find out is to ask the consumers. And, each parent and child that I talked to about the DYS camps said they’d be lost without it. This is one of the rare groups that actually does what it says it will do.”Smith also visited the camp the agency runs for the littlest of diabetics in Sylvania as well as the Defiance camp for older children.“Parents are reluctant to send their diabetic children away for an overnight, so the supervision provided at these camps is unbelievable. They are able to help these kids have a great time, while at the same time educating them about their diabetes.”Totally convinced, Smith upped his participation in fundraising.“I swim a mile every day, but now I set aside my birthday on Feb. 2 as Pledge Day, and on that day, I swim four miles. I start around 8 in the morning and swim laps until just before noon. It’s just straight swimming, about 4 miles. I’m 62 years old, and that’s exhausting, but I believe in the cause.”The money Smith raises helps 110 children from 6 to 15 years old attend camp. The cost to send one child for a week is almost $1,000, Eichenauer said. And, Smith pledges that every penny he raises goes strictly for camp costs. In fact, he donates the time and money he and Connie put into the fundraising. “All the money I raise goes to the camp,” he said.But along with raising money, Smith is happy to help raise awareness about DYS.“All my life I was taught to leave the world a better place than when you came into it. I have a talent, I can swim. I turned that into a passion to help people. This award is a home run outta the park, but the biggest thing for me is that it allows us to get the word out about juvenile diabetes.”And even greater than any award is the thanks he and Connie receive from the young campers and their parents.“I have a manila envelope at home that we keep these wonderful thank-yous in. I wouldn’t sell it for anything,” he said, his voice cracking.And as long as possible, he plans to continue raising money to help these little ones.“Until there’s a cure,” Smith said.
AT A GLANCE The Jefferson Awards for Public Service honor outstanding volunteers in our community. The area’s representative to go to Washington, D.C., will be announced March 22 in a ceremony at the Veterans Memorial Civic Center. For eight days, The Lima News offers profiles of this year’s finalists:Today: David C. SmithFriday: Ray Ward and Paula ThompsonTuesday, March 15: Jerome O’NealWednesday, March 16: Keiko HahnThursday, March 17: Sherry FetzerFriday, March 18: Donald SmithSaturday, March 19: Dr. Shama AminTuesday, March 22: Quan CoryLIMA — As a girl in Japan, she attended a Christian school in which girls learned how to be ladies: embroidery work and dinner party manners.Keiko Hahn preferred to have her hands in the dirt, planting things. She has kept planting, in her gardens and in lives. Because of her work, seeds of new trust and friendship have taken root between people whose countries once were bitter enemies. The volunteering led to a nomination this year for the 2011 Jefferson Awards for Public Service.Hahn was on the original research committee that searched for a sister city for Lima and helped begin Lima Sister Cities Association and its relationship with Harima-cho, Japan. Since then, she has translated for the cities’ mayors, organized home stays and exchanges, helped with cultural displays and brought special experiences, such as the Bamboo Orchestra dinner and a kimono show, to Lima. She also helped create the Japanese Garden along the Riverwalk, which includes weeping cherry trees planted with donated funds from Harima-cho.“Keiko Hahn is a gracious and quiet woman of dignity and beauty. She does not speak of her accomplishments, her disappointments or her personal situations,” nominator Karen Phipps wrote. “She is open-hearted and thankful to God for all her blessings. She is a giver with no strings attached.”Hahn, 80, survived a World War II air raid at the age of 15. She took cover in a store basement and when it was over, walked through a tunnel expecting to see buildings on the other side. Everything was gone, and she could see to the beach.“After that, I just didn’t like war. Any war,” Hahn said in 2007. “I want to promote peace.”Her translating skills landed her a job through which she met an American GI, Frank Hahn, who would become her husband. She moved to the United States and became a naturalized citizen, but not before a federal official asked, if there was another war between the two countries, where would she place her allegiance. She didn’t have an answer, but the man pressed, and she said, “America.” Later she cried, and this week while retelling the story, she nearly cried again.Hahn’s life has been one of starting over, and finding beauty in whatever situation has presented to itself. She married and came to the states, made new friends and created a Japanese garden at her home. When she had to leave her home after her husband’s death in 2006, she had the Riverwalk garden she could help tend. The sister cities project was not something Hahn felt up to, at the time.“When Mayor (David) Berger asked me, I didn’t think I could do it,” she said. “I’m just plain Keiko.”Years later, this past winter, all the friends repaid her kindness with a surprise addition to the downtown garden, a stone with her family crest honoring her work.“We pulled up the garden and I saw all these cars. I said, ‘Who is fool enough to be at the garden now?’ It was the best birthday,” Hahn said. “I’ve heard in church God rewards good deeds, even when you’re not looking for them. I’ve not looked for them, but I guess it’s true.”You can comment on this story at www.limaohio.com.
LIMA — After a quarter-century of volunteerism, Jerome O’Neal’s impact has been felt far and wide across Lima and Allen County. O’Neal, president of Plus Management Services Inc., was instrumental in the start of the Community Enrichment Dinner. He was also involved in the creation of Allen County Health Partners, now Health Partners of Western Ohio. His volunteer efforts and spirit of giving back are what led to his nomination for a 2011 Jefferson Award for Public Service. “Jerome O’Neal has shown a strong background in volunteerism by serving many boards throughout the community along with developing services and programs for less fortunate in the area,” Georgiana Saffle wrote in her nomination. “His passion to ensuring the lives of others are improved is shown by the continuing service he gives to the community. His entrepreneurial leadership skills have been instrumental in Lima/Allen County becoming a better place to live.”O’Neal has been involved on the boards for the American Red Cross, YMCA of Lima, and the Easter Seals of Northwest Ohio. O’Neal is a past campaign chairman and past board president of the United Way of Greater Lima.O’Neal could not be reached for comment.Saffle wrote that in 1996, O’Neal was the first United Way campaign chairman to raise over $2 million.Beverly Prueter, former president of the United Way of Greater Lima, wrote in a recommendation letter that achieving the $2 million target wasn’t easy.“He recruited and led a team that built new relationships with individuals and businesses, and that took the United Way message all over the county,” Prueter wrote. “He personally met with many companies and their employees in his quest to complete the campaign successfully. The goal was exceeded in December of 1996.”Janis Sunderhaus, chief executive officer of Health Partners of Western Ohio, also was quick to praise O’Neal’s efforts.“He advocated for the needs of the medically underserved residents of Lima’s south end communities and participated in many early organization planning activities,” Sunderhaus wrote. “It is not overstating to say that Health Partners of Western Ohio may have never realized our current success without Mr. O’Neal’s contributions.”O’Neal’s service has also included stints as a board member for Allen County Visionaries, the Bradfield Community Center, St. Rita’s Medical Center and Lima-Allen County Leadership.Saffle wrote in her nomination that O’Neal’s company, which operates Baton Rouge Health Services, offers seniors and the community a variety of services, support and education on senior topics.“He has been instrumental in taking nursing facilities ‘out of the darkness and into the light’ changing the delivery of skilled medical services in the Lima area,” Saffle wrote.You can comment on this story at www.limaohio.com.
LIMA — Oliver’s toes click on the hard floor as he confidently scurries down a Lima Memorial Health System hallway, his tail wagging as if it’s powering him along.On the other end of the leash is Paula Thompson. Once a week, she and her 19-pound Cavalier King Charles spaniel go to the hospital to offer patients a few minutes of canine companionship.“If they say yes, you go in. If they say no, that’s fine,” Thompson said. “We don’t go in rooms that are in isolation, but we do go up to rooms in [the intensive care unit], and some marvelous things have happened in ICU.”Thompson now chairs the volunteer Pet Therapy Program at Lima Memorial that Ray Ward started eight years ago. She and Ward have been honored this year as Jefferson Award winners.“When I retired I wanted to give back to the community because they gave so much to me over the years,” Ward said. “I had trained dogs, and I wanted to train one for therapy work.”While volunteering at the humane society, he and his wife noticed a 10-week-old shepherd mix. Mandy soon found a home with the Wards, where Ray Ward did all the training necessary to get her registered by Delta Society as a therapy dog. Together, they started making the rounds at Lima Memorial. Ward, who now lives in Delaware, Ohio, said it’s difficult to explain the joy of working with pet therapy dogs and seeing “the smiles you get from patients who are miserable, hurting, they’ve got all kinds of problems,” he said “But just for that moment their attitude totally changes. The stress goes away, it’s just awesome.”In 2008, Thompson and Oliver joined the team.“A lot of times with Oliver, because he’s so small, the patients will want him on the bed with them. He loves that because he just wants to take a nap,” Thompson said with a laugh.On this day, Oliver snoozes in a padded chair while Thompson talks about the program. He glances up now and then and poses for a few photographs. Thompson said his calm demeanor is part of what makes him such a great therapy dog.Both Thompson and Ward have a catalogue of stories about the patients they’ve seen. Thompson recalls visiting a young girl who recently had her tonsils removed. When Thompson lifted Oliver off the bed and put him on the floor, he seemed to not want to leave. The girl’s mother had told Thompson her daughter hadn’t said a word for two days.“I said to her, ‘You know, Oliver thinks you want him to stay. So you’re going to have to tell him goodbye or he’s not going to leave, he’ll just stay.’ The little girl got a big smile on her face and said goodbye to him. He got up and walked out,” Thompson said.It’s easy to see how Oliver, Mandy and other therapy dogs can cheer up patients — and the whole hospital. Oliver regularly visits his friends in medical records, and calmly let a child pet him while in the elevator.Ward said the therapy dogs also work with Marimor school, 4-H, and the Girl Scouts. At the hospital, the dogs visit developmentally challenged children, regular rooms and critical care units and cancer patients. “Every day they volunteer, new stories emerge about how much of a profound connection of our dogs has had on a patient, family member or guest,” wrote volunteer services manager Janis Daley. “Amazing stories often emerge about patients who respond to the pet therapists when they have responded to medical professional.”Thompson and Ward both say the handler is important, but the dogs are the real stars.“If it wasn’t for Mandy, I wouldn’t have got that award,” Ward said. “They’re the ones that do the work. I’m just the one on the other end of the leash.”You can comment on this story at www.limaohio.com.
LIMA — Any questions about the success of David Smith’s retirement can be answered with a peak at his calendar.The retired school counselor leafs through a green, pocket-sized schedule book and all you see is ink. Every day, every page, as far as he can flick, filled with dates and times of volunteer responsibilities. It is literally a schedule with no time left. “That’s what our days look like,” he said with a touch of resignation. “My wife likes to say, no mater what comes up, ‘Dave will do it.’ That’s just the way it is. I have a hard time saying no.”Smith’s inability to say ‘no’ is good news to a variety of groups happy to have him helping out. The list of organizations he helps with his time and organizational skills runs for more than a page: Elida Optimists, Allen County Historical Society, Elida Breakfast Club, Allen County Fair and Immanuel United Methodist Church to name just a few. But the largest portion of his time is spent volunteering in area schools, a predictable turn for a man who spent more than three decades as a teacher and guidance counselor at Elida schools. “Working with the kids has always been the most gratifying work for me. You get to see the growth, the way they improve from the beginning of the school year to the end. That’s rewarding,” Smith said.In addition to his years working in the schools, Smith has served on the boards of both Elida and Apollo schools as well as the Northwest Ohio School Board Association and the Ohio School Board Association. He spends two days a week tutoring children at Shawnee Maplewood School. At Elida, he does everything from serve on the school foundation board to working as a remedial reading assistant for the Helping One Student To Succeed program.On top of all that, he works as a volunteer for the Real Money, Real World program, a hands-on educational program aimed at teaching children how to make smart choices about lifestyle and money.“They learn what it feels like to go through a monthly budget and pay the bills. They see how fast they can end up with no money left. And hopefully they understand when they say, ‘Mom, can I have this?’ why the money might not be available.”Smith may work with other people’s children, but his own kids have picked up on the lesson. His nomination for this year’s Jefferson Award came courtesy of his daughter and son.“He has volunteered in some manner wherever and whenever needed for as long as we have known him,” said his daughter, Laurie Smith Notestine. “His passion is to give back to the community which has given him so much. One of his core values is ‘Pay it forward.’ There is no doubt he has fulfilled this mission to the fullest, in the schools, community and in out family.”You can comment on this story at www.limaohio.com.
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 www.limaohio.com.
LIMA —The search is still on for the region’s top volunteers.The committee that hands out the annual Jefferson Awards for Public Service is making a final push for nominees for the annual award. Nominations must be submitted before noon Wednesday. Local winners are eligible to earn as much as $1,050 for the non-profit they represent, plus a trip to Washington, D.C., to compete for a national title.“We just want to remind people there’s still time to nominate someone. Take a look at the people that are really contributing time and energy to the various projects in the community, and help us recognize them,” said Leila Osting, chairwoman of the 2011 Jefferson Awards program and human resources director at The Lima News. The awards — sponsored by Your Hometown Lima Stations, United Way of Greater Lima and The Lima News — are open to any volunteer in the six-county region that includes Allen, Auglaize, Putnam, Hardin, Hancock and Van Wert counties. From the nominees, a panel of area judges will pick eight local winners, who will each receive $350 for their respective charities. Three of those winning nominations will be forwarded to a national committee, which will choose one of the three to attend the national Jefferson Awards ceremony in June in Washington. That finalist will receive another $700 for his or her charity and be in the running for one of five Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Awards for greatest public service.After 10 years of awards, there are hundreds of past nominees out there who have not won. Osting said she hopes to see a return of some of those names.“Even if they have been nominated in the past, they are still eligible,” Osting said. “We know there are lots of people out there who are giving so much of their time and energy to these organizations. We want to make sure they get a chance to be recognized.”Joining Osting as judges for his year’s awards are retired Allen County Commissioner Alberta Lee; Susan Heitkamp, of Auglaize County; Jose Nogueras, of Ohio Northern University; Tom Hendrixson, WLIO videographer; Louis Jennings, employee resource coordinator for United Auto Workers Local 1219, Lima Ford Engine Plant; Jeanne Beutler, United Way of Putnam County executive director; Kate Gribble, Van Wert Chamber of Commerce president; and Tom Thompson, United Way of Greater Lima labor representative.You can comment on this story at www.LimaOhio.com.
LIMA — Bonnie Shook is a volunteer at heart: she’s not in it for the recognition. Then again, last year’s local Jefferson Award winner said her trip to the national ceremony in Washington, D.C., was something she’ll cherish forever.
LIMA — After being the victim of a bicycle accident that nearly killed her, Sandy Monfort has stepped down from her job overseeing a community facility that treats non-violent criminals, typically those with drug addictions.
DELPHOS — The induction of five to the Delphos St. John’s School Hall of Fame Sunday will be special, but the time inductees will spend with current students Monday is what it’s really all about.
WASHINGTON — An area representative for the Jefferson Awards, Bonnie Shook, didn’t take home any awards Tuesday night, but just being there was a rewarding experience for her.
LIMA — In the week leading up to the Jefferson Awards presentation, Bonnie Shook had several people tell her when she got to Washington to “straighten out the government.”
VAN WERT — Larry Webb said he doesn’t think he deserves recognition. He said he just gets people organized and they do the work.
LIMA — Two different people know Bonnie Shook in different capacities, but they both described her relationship with volunteering the same way.
BLUFFTON — Barbara and Arliss Plaugher are reaching out to the world’s poorest, helping them see one person at a time.
DELPHOS — For more than 30 years, Rick Miller has been known to most folks in the region as the voice of Delphos sports. But to people in Delphos, he’s just as well known as a guy who will do pretty much anything for a good cause.
FORT JENNINGS — Mary Lou Krietemeyer , Fort Jennings enjoys organizing one of the biggest blood drives held annually in Putnam County. She wants it to be a success and works hard to make sure everything is done right, including providing home baked pies, homemade sandwiches and cookies for the volunteers and donors.
DELPHOS — A Delphos community that was once sometimes divided is closer today and working together to help the city and each other. Many point to the Rev. David Howell as the reason why.
WAPAKONETA — History isn’t just about the past to Rachel Barber. It binds the present and future of a community together as well. That’s why the lifelong resident of Wapakoneta has worked tirelessly to reconnect the city with its heritage.
LIMA — The 2010 Jefferson Awards nominations are proof that good deeds don’t go unnoticed — and that there’s no shortage of good deeds in our area.
LIMA — Selecting Jefferson Awards recipients is never an easy task for judges, but nominating someone is getting easier.
WASHINGTON - The winners of the national 2009 Jefferson Awards were announced late Tuesday during a gala dinner.
LIMA - George Cox drove five World War II veterans to Washington a few years ago so they could see the National World War II Memorial. Now, Cox will go back to the capital as a result of that selfless dedication to others.
LIMA - Bernadette Schoonover swims six days a week for 45 minutes at a time.
DELPHOS - Elmer and Dorothy Hoffman give their time for history in the hopes it will brighten the future.
LIMA - The Elks' relationship with this country's veterans stretches back to World War I.
COLUMBUS GROVE - When the United Way letter telling Dan Groman he had been selected as a Jefferson Award winner arrived, he was some 1,300 miles away helping to rebuild hurricane-ravaged Galveston, Texas.
PANDORA - Dorothy German remembers a Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity trip she took in 1992 to Nicaragua.
SPENCERVILLE - George Cox had many chances to become bitter; he chose to focus on the kindness of his community and work to return it.
WAPAKONETA - Mary "Mae" Cartmell has always had a heart to serve. When the opportunity arose a quarter-century ago to get involved helping those in need, the Wapakoneta woman seized the moment. She hasn't looked back since.
DELPHOS - It began with an idea to send care packages to maybe 15 local men and women serving abroad in the military.
LIMA - Their contributions have helped kids, hungry families, servicemen and women, and countless others across the local community. Now, the community is recognizing them.
LIMA - Nominations are being accepted for the local Jefferson Awards that honor volunteers.
LIMA - When traveling to Washington, D.C., for the national Jefferson Awards ceremony, Sandra Monfort only wanted to represent well her community and the charity for which she's worked so hard.
LIMA — Before learning she won the local 2008 Jefferson Award for Public Service on Wednesday night, Sandra Monfort said she was humbled by the accomplishments of the other nominees. She wondered why she even was nominated.She said she was most impressed and deeply touched by the story of Nancy Badertscher. Badertscher, though confined to a wheelchair since a teenager, still leads the way in Bluffton, teaching children the importance of volunteering.Monfort said Badertscher was very deserving and what she is doing is extremely important. The same went for Martha Noonan, unstoppable at 83. Noonan conveys her passion for U.S. troops by honoring them every chance she gets, by giving.And Bob Thompson, who has found a second career after retirement, helping the sick and ailing, the elderly and the recovering; and Roselia Deters Verhoff, who is fulfilling a lifelong mission, preserving and recording Putnam County History .Then there was Ronnie Grothouse, a community fixture and favorite “uncle” in Delphos, who makes volunteering a full-time job to help the children of his community.She saw people like Gary Levitt, who as the designer, curator and fundraiser for the Delphos Postal Museum, has become a staple of a museum with only one other like it in the nation.And Lula Fields who, working to educate at-risk families, has become a surrogate mother with guidance to those who need it.Hearing all these great people and the great things they do, Monfort never dreamed she would win the top award. Not in a million years.Therefore, when it was announced that she was going to the National Jefferson Awards in Washington, D.C., in June, she was shocked, and she became emotional.“I am overwhelmed by this as I have listened to these individuals and I’ve asked myself how in the world did I even receive the nomination,” she said, with tears flowing from her eyes. “From the bottom of my heart, thank you so very much. … I am truly speechless.”While accepting the award, Monford said the $700 she received as the top winner and the $350 for being one of the eight local winners, will send one child to the camp she gives so much to and cares so much about.Camp Sunrise in Lebanon is for children affected by HIV/AIDS, for children whom people often “don’t want to talk about.” Since it began in 1994, Monfort has been a volunteer working tirelessly. Additionally, this year, Monford surprised an ailing co-worker with a life-saving kidney she gave after learning she was a match.“Sandy Monfort’s life has been about serving humanity,” said Stephanie Davis, the master of ceremonies for the banquet. “Being an organ donor … is more about ‘who’ she is. Camp Sunrise and her other volunteer efforts are about ‘what’ she does.Nominated by her husband, Ed Monfort, Sandra Monfort said she believes everyone should volunteer. Those honored with her Wednesday night, she said, were all deserving of the bronze star they took home. For the organizations they serve, $3,500 was presented during the event at the Veterans Memorial Civic and Convention Center.The Lima News, WLIO and The United Way of Greater Lima co-sponsor the local Jefferson Awards.
LIMA — They come from all walks of life, but the eight winners of this year’s Jefferson Awards definitely have one common trait: selflessness.This year’s eight winners, who will be honored today during a banquet at Veterans Memorial Civic Center, came from a fantastic group of nominated community members, said Dan Endicott, chairman of the board of judges.“There’s always such a great pool of people,” he said. “If you stop each year and itemize the number of things each set of eight [winners] brings to the community, they are literally helping thousands of people every year.”According to the American Institute for Public Service Web site, “The Jefferson Awards for Public Service” were first awarded in 1973, and are considered “a prestigious national recognition system honoring community and public service in America.” More than 150 media organizations around the country select members of their communities to receive the awards. Other nationally known recipients of a Jefferson Award include Barbara Bush, Bob Hope, Colin Powell and Rosalynn Carter.The local Jefferson Awards, co-sponsored by The Lima News, WLIO and The United Way of Greater Lima, honor eight winners to be recognized at a local banquet, Endicott said. This year’s banquet will have several hundred attendees, from families and friends to various organizations around the community.Videos honoring the recipients will be played throughout the evening. They also receive a bronze medallion and $350 to be donated to charity.One of these winners will be sent to Washington, D.C., to receive national recognition for his or her efforts, Endicott said. He or she will also receive an additional $700 to be donated to charity.According to Endicott, the banquet is one way to thank winners, who bring gifts to the community that could not be replaced.They “add sunshine to this community every day,” he said. They are “what sets us apart from a noncaring community, and [they] make it that much better of a place to live.”