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 [email protected].