LIMA — The Jefferson Award program, one of the nation’s most prestigious programs for honoring volunteers, is seeking nominations from the Lima region.
Founded in 1972 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Sen. Robert Taft Jr. and Sam Beard, the Jefferson Awards National Ceremonies are the country’s longest standing celebration of public service. During the past 42 years, it has identified and honored more than 55,000 local “Unsung Heroes” alongside hundreds of prominent national figures including Walter Cronkite, Paul Newman, Steve Jobs and Peyton Manning.
Applications are being taken for this year’s Jefferson Award here in Lima and the surrounding area. At the mayor’s news conference Wednesday, judging committee chair Tom Hendrixson elaborated on the award, sponsored by The Lima News, Your Hometown Stations, the United Way of Greater Lima and Husky Lima Refinery.
“We’re asking for community residents, churches and organizations in all the surrounding counties, not just Allen County, to look at contributions made to their community by their friends and neighbors,” Hendrixson said. He added that submitting nomination forms on a volunteer’s behalf is not only a good way to honor their efforts, but it also highlights the organizations in which they are involved.
Once all the nominations are submitted, eight volunteers will be selected for the award, each receiving a cash donation for his or her particular organization, with one person chosen to represent this area at the national Jefferson Awards banquet in Washington, D.C. All eight local winners will be honored at a banquet March 31 at the Lima City Club.
“It’s a way to reaffirm the importance of giving back to your community,” Phil Hayne of the United Way said. “At the banquet we have, it becomes quite emotional as they get their recognition and their stories are told publicly.”
The deadline for nominations is noon Feb. 26. Forms can be submitted online at http://unitedwaylima.org or are available for printout at http://LimaOhio.com.