29th annual Volunteers of the Year award winners announced

Outstanding volunteer teams and individuals were recognized April 22 at the 29th annual Volunteers of the Year Awards, presented by BB&T, BGMU, and Kirby & Moore, LLP, at the Bob Kirby Branch of the Warren County Public Library. The following individuals and groups were recognized for their service.

Anne Grubbs Spirit of Serve Award- Kevin Wiles, Community Education

Kevin, the deputy chief of police for Bowling Green and former Marine, has served on the Community Education Board of Directors for more than nine years. During that time, he has been instrumental in assisting the agency with the sometimes unpleasant aspects of human behavior that are encountered while providing a safe and engaging environment for children. His guidance in those more unfortunate circumstances has been pivotal in protecting both children and staff members. Kevin also was a steadfast supporter of Community Education’s long-running fundraiser, Spellabration, serving wherever he was needed. His service to the community includes: volunteering with Greenwood High School’s swim, track and cross-country teams; and serving on the security team and teaching junior and senior high school boys at Eastwood Baptist Church.

This award recognizes those excelling in quality, length and spirit of service to others.

The other volunteers recognized were:

Danny Bays, Lost River Cave & Valley

Nick Carter, New Beginnings Therapeutic Riding

Virginia Cole, SKyPAC

Romanza Johnson, South Central Kentucky Kids on the Block

Connie Pittman, Romanza Johnson

Tony Rose, Marissa Shelton

Team Spirit Award- Stuff the Bus Foundation, Community Education and Marissa Shelton

During the third week of July each year, at Bluegrass Cellular on Campbell Lane, you will find Tony Rose and the amazing Stuff the Bus Foundation Board building a bus “city.” Tony literally lives in a school bus for the week in hopes that our generous community members will drop off school supplies. The bus “city” is staffed 24-7 for nearly 100 hours. Why does the team of STB work so hard? It’s because their mission is to meet the school supply needs of school-age children, ensuring that every child starts the school year on an equal playing field, regardless of background, home life, or economic status. Since 2005, more than 100 tons of basic school supplies, sports equipment, clothing, and monetary donations have been collected serving ten counties and 20 after-school programs. With the creation of a Stuff the Bus Scholarship Fund through Western Kentucky University, they hope to enable the same students they helped in K-12 attain their dreams of a post-secondary education.

This award recognizes those groups who work together to provide service in the community.

The other volunteer groups recognized were:

ARGI Financial Group, Lee Alcott

Car Seat Safety Matters, Andy Vickery

Kentucky Public Health Association: WKU Chapter, BGJHS Youth Services Center

New Beginnings Therapeutic Riding Instructor Team, Chloe Carter

Sierra Club Mammoth Cave Chapter, Lost River Cave & Valley

SKyPAC Ambassadors, SKyPAC

Rookie Award- Ryan Depp for Ryan’s “Making a Difference Outreach,” Doug Depp

According to his dad, Doug, the thought of 14-year-old Ryan wanting to help people probably meant making a couple of trips to Salvation Army. Doug admits, “Boy, was I ever wrong!” By October 2016, Ryan’s “Making a Difference Outreach” was born. Ryan started by packing sack lunches to hand out to our homeless community, then began handing out pizza on Wednesdays, and finally organizing clothes and blanket drives. The Outreach currently serves 25-40 hot meals each Saturday. Ryan also has arranged, collected, and distributed 200 pairs of shoes and more than 2,000 pairs of socks. Ryan also has found time to support other service organizations such as: Morgantown Food Pantry, WKU Hilltoppers for Christ, First Saturday Homeless breakfast, Feeding America, Stuff the Bus, Realtors for Hope, Room in the Inn, and many more. Cecilia Herrell said, “In a dark world, Ryan brings a ray of light and hope to the community. The world needs more people like Ryan Depp.”

This award recognizes an individual or group who is new to volunteering, beginning their service with an organization during the last 24 months.

The other volunteers recognized were:

Teresa Douglas, Janel Doyle

Kayla Fugate, South Central Kentucky Kids on the Block

Diana Hankla, Operation Stand Down Kentucky

Emma Jeppsen, New Beginnings Therapeutic Riding

SKyPAC Ambassadors 2017-18 Recruitment Class, SKyPAC

BB&T Spirit of Community Award- Graves Gilbert Clinic

While this year marks their 80th anniversary of providing a “lifetime of care,” it is their commitment to the people of south central Kentucky that we honor Graves Gilbert Clinic. A very small list of the agencies and organizations that have been impacted by their volunteer service or financial contributions includes: the American Heart Association, American Red Cross, Autism and Asperger Support Group of Bowling Green, Barren River Animal Welfare Association, Car Seat Safety Matters, Center for Courageous Kids, Community Education, Empty Bowls of Bowling Green, Family Enrichment Center, Hospice of Southern Kentucky, Orchestra Kentucky, South Central Kentucky Kids on the Block, Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center, and Warren County’s Relay for Life.

Debbie Diamond, Director of Human Resources and Marketing (right), along with VIA Board member, Joshua Smith, accepts the BB&T Spirit of Community Award on behalf of Graves Gilbert Clinic.

This award goes to an organization or business that merits special recognition for volunteer service in the community.

Special thanks to our sponsors: BB&T, BGMU, and Kirby & Moore, LLP, Caterer Lisa Bearnson, Graphic Designer BJ Jordan, Oak Tree Awards & Recognition, Rickman Pottery, Emcee Tony Rose, D93 WDNS, Warren County Public Library, and, of course, our judges.

Volunteers in Action is made up of a core group of diverse agencies and organizations that rely on the dedication and commitment of community volunteers. For more information on VIA or the VIA Volunteer of the Year Awards, contact Joshua Smith at (270) 842-4281 or jsmith@commed.us.

2018 U.S. Bank Young Artists’ Competition winners announced

This year’s theme was “Draw Out Loud,” encouraging students to let their art illustrate what they think about, dream about, or imagine. Four winning entries were selected by judges and each winner received a $50 VISA gift card from U.S. Bank, our sponsor.

The winning entries will be displayed until April 20 in the lobby of the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce.

The winning entries for 2018 are:

Kendra Rogers, 1st grade at North Warren Elementary School

“I imagine a unicorn under a rainbow.”

Zack Walters, 3rd grade at Holy Trinity Lutheran School

“I dream about finding a sunken ship while scuba diving.”

Josie Huffman, 8th grade at Drakes Creek Middle School

“My art represents how dreams are colorful and anything is possible, realistic or not, in your imagination.”

Kaw Gay, 11th grade at Geo International High School

“I dream of taking a trip to Paris.”

Honorable mentions were:

Miranda Clark, kindergarten at Potter Gray Elementary School

Landon Thompson, 2nd grade at Alvaton Elementary School

Gracie Forkum, 3rd grade at Alvaton Elementary School

Suan Vaan, 4th grade at Dishman-McGinnis Elementary School

Emma Walters, 5th grade at Holy Trinity Lutheran School

Emma Cox, 6th grade at Jody Richards Elementary School

Noah Jackson, 6th grade at Jody Richards Elementary School

Zoe Watts, 7th grade at Bowling Green Junior High School

Britney Braun, 8th grade at Foundation Christian Academy

Tou Kay, 12th grade at Geo International High School

Hand Up Hand Back participant honored at United Way’s Live United Awards

We are excited to announce that Yohali Asende, one of our Hand Up, Hand Back program participants, is the 2017 recipient of the United Way Shooting Star Award. The award was presented on Thursday, Feb. 1 at the Sloan Convention Center during their Live United Awards and Annual Meeting. The Shooting Star Award honors “an individual who exemplifies the organization’s commitment to helping people overcome personal difficulties and become self-sufficient.”

Yohali is a model of what a little support can do to help someone provide sustainably for their family. Here is what Yohali said about our program, “I am so happy to see the people who helped me find this job. Each time I see them, it gives me courage and strength to keep working hard and persevering because I see how much they believe in me. I am a mom with little education and little work experience in American terms, but because of this program, provided by United Way funds, and these people who believe in me, I have been able to be successful in my job and in providing for my family. I have been given a chance and an opportunity, and I am determined that this is just the beginning.”

Yohali is just one of many that are being supported currently by our program. Hand Up Hand Back focuses on education and occupational training, while encouraging our participants in their daily lives, we expect to see great strides accomplished in the local international community in the years to come.

We offer a huge thank you to the United Way of Southern Kentucky, Kelly Services, and the KY Career Center. We could not accomplish anything without your support and collaboration, and we are proud to partner with you in this work.

28th annual Volunteer of the Year winners announced

Outstanding volunteer teams and individuals were recognized April 30 at the 28th annual Volunteer of the Year Awards, presented by BB&T and Kirby & Moore, LLP, at the Bob Kirby Branch of the Warren County Public Library. The following individuals and groups were recognized for their service.

Anne Grubbs Spirit of Serve Award- Melanie Smith, Eloise B. Houchens Center Board

Melanie is a long-time board member at Eloise B. Houchens Center where she has served as the president and is the go-to the person for anything having to do with computers, printing and publicity work. She serves with the Landmark Association where she helps with fundraising efforts and handles communication for the group. As an active member of the Bowling Green Garden Club, she participates in their many activities that improve the community. In addition, she has provided leadership for the B.G.H.S. Band Boosters, Habitat for Humanity, March of Dimes, and the Junior Woman’s Club. Jonathan Jeffrey, department head for Western Kentucky University Special Collections Library, said that Melanie “volunteers to make organizations better” and “never stakes claim to credit for her volunteer work.”

This award recognizes those excelling in quality, length and spirit of service to others.

The other volunteers recognized were:

Ryan Dearbone, Community Education

Sharon Durie, American Red Cross

Romanza Johnson, Kids on the Block

Team Spirit Award- Empty Bowls of Bowling Green, Community Education

Empty Bowls of Bowling Green’s motto is “working to end hunger, one bowl at a time” and over the past five years they have been doing just that. Garry Taylor, a local potter, discovered the fundraiser and decided to bring the event to Bowling Green in 2013.  With the help of the members of St. James United Methodist Church, HOTEL INC, Life Care Ministry, and Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College Culinary Arts this group has taken on the responsibility to plan and coordinate Empty Bowls of Bowling Green. All the money raised supports two local food banks: Manna Mart at HOTEL INC and the Life Care Ministry run by University Church of Christ. Since 2013, more than $60,000 has been raised to support the two food banks and more than 3,000 bowls have been donated.

This award recognizes those groups who work together to provide service in the community.

The other volunteer groups recognized were:

Alpha Omicron Pi Sorority, BGJHS Youth Services Center

SKyPAC Ambassadors, Southern Ky. Performing Arts Center

South Warren High School Football Team, Community Education

Rookie Award- Magen Estep, Kids on the Block

Magen began volunteering in the Kids on the Block office, but it wasn’t long before she was tapped to become a board member as a result of her energy and determination. She wanted to grow the Kids on the Block programming in her hometown of Franklin, so poured her efforts into the third annual Shamrock Sprint, a free kids’ run and fundraiser.  Magen grew sponsorships, bombarded social media and put up posters, and increased the number of children participating in the event. She was boots on the ground the day of the event, arriving early to set up and staying late to clean up. Her graphic design skills have allowed Kids on the Block to be marketed in a more effective way, resulting in a spike for supporters for events. She is actively involved with many other nonprofits including CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), Bowling Green Junior Woman’s Club, Potter Gray Elementary PTO, and Junior Achievement of South Central Kentucky.

This award recognizes an individual or group who is new to volunteering, beginning their service with an organization during the last 24 months.

The other volunteers recognized were:

Caroline Flora-Collins, Eloise B. Houchens Center Board

Terri Hewitt, Bowling Green Junior High School Football Team

BB&T Spirit of Community Award- American Legion Post 23  

In the last ten years, American Legion Post 23, has donated more than $2 million to nonprofits and those in need in our community. Boys and Girls Club, Community Education, HOTEL INC, Kids Sportstime, Salvation Army, as well as The Good Deeds Club at Alvaton Elementary School have been just a few of the agencies that have benefited from their generosity. They provide transportation for veterans to the Nashville VA Hospital, visit veterans in nursing homes monthly, serve dinners at the Bridge, and set up veterans in apartments who need a hand up. American Legion has anonymously given to various needs in our community and is always ready to serve.

Don Butler (center) along with VIA Board members Linda Krutza and Joshua Smith, accepts the BB&T Spirit of Community Award on behalf of American Legion Post 23 Commander Roger Miller, the officers, and all the members of Post 23.

This award goes to an organization or business that merits special recognition for volunteer service in the community.

Special Thanks to our sponsors: BB&T and Kirby & Moore, LLP, the Eloise B. Houchens Center, Oak Tree Awards & Recognition, Rickman Pottery, Warren County Public Library, and, of course, our judges.

Volunteers in Action is made up of a core group of diverse agencies and organizations that rely on the dedication and commitment of community volunteers. For more information on VIA or the VIA Volunteer of the Year Awards, contact Joshua Smith at (270) 842-4281 or jsmith@commed.us.

Volunteer of the Year winners announced

Outstanding volunteer teams and individuals were recognized April 24 at the 27th annual BB&T Volunteer of the Year Awards at the Bob Kirby Branch of the Warren County Public Library. The following individuals and groups were recognized for their service.

Anne Grubbs Spirit of Service Award: Ernie PhelpsErnieP

This award recognizes individuals who excel in quality, length and spirit of service to others. Ernie Phelps began volunteering at New Beginnings Therapeutic Riding (NBTR) in 2008 and is instrumental in helping NBTR achieve its mission of providing therapeutic horse-riding lessons to individuals with behavioral, mental, and physical disabilities. NBTR’s jack-of-all-trades, Ernie comes in early to feed, water, and muck 12 horses. He hauls hay and feed, repairs fences, and does what needs to be done to help make NBTR successful. He often stays to help the disabled riders.

SaturdaymealsTeam Spirit Award: Saturday Meals

This award recognizes groups who work together to provide service in the community. Utilizing the kitchen at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, the Saturday Meals program provides some 300 nutritious meals to persons in need each Saturday. Using donated summer produce and ingredients purchased through Feeding America and local grocery stores, Saturday Meals volunteers prepare the hot meals and deliver them throughout the community. The recipients of these free meals are low-income individuals and families, including many shut-ins. Saturday Meals has also begun preparing meals for some homeless persons in Bowling Green.

Rookie Award: Presley NashPresley

This award recognizes an individual or group who is new to volunteering, starting their service with an organization during the last 24 months. Though only a teenager, Presley Nash has a list of volunteer achievements that few adults can match. She collects and donates items to children in foster care, bakes cookies for CASA bake sales, volunteers at the Kiwanis Club’s ThunderFest, and makes and sells bracelets to benefit a children’s hospital. Perhaps her most impressive volunteer activity is creating Presley’s Promise Homeless Outreach, forgoing her own Christmas gifts so she can donate to the homeless. She continues to help the homeless through the Salvation Army, Room in the Inn, and other organizations.

DebbieHBB&T Spirit of Community Award: Chick-fil-A

This award recognizes an organization or business that merits special recognition for volunteer service in the community. Chick-fil-A in Bowling Green has assisted many community organizations through donations of food or money. Among the events and organizations that Chick-fil-A has assisted: Community Education’s Spellabration, Empty Bowls, Teen Angel Donation Blast, Run/Walk for Children, and Leadership Bowling Green.

Other outstanding volunteers recognized at the event include Anice Bishop, Judy Cothern, Vivian Foe, Eloise Hadden, Amy Milliken, Ed Moody, K.C. Moody, Jimmy Nyunt, Celebration Cakes Ministry, Houchens Center Board, SKyPAC Ambassadors, Starbucks on Scottsville Road, Beth Fiss, Greenwood High School Action Team, Judy Sampson, and Adaline Wakefield. Volunteers in Action is made up of a core group of diverse agencies and organizations that rely on the dedication and commitment of community volunteers. For more information on VIA or the VIA Volunteer of the Year Awards, contact Debi Wade Jordan at (270) 842-4281 or djordan@commed.us.