Leadership Evansville passes out awards for 2018

Originally published in the Evansville Courier & Press

Leadership Evansville on Thursday night handed out its Celebration of Leadership awards for 2018.

For Lynn Miller-Pease, Leadership Evansville CEO, the annual event is a joy because of what it represents.

“I love seeing a 13-year-old, a crossing guard at Lincoln School and a large company CEO being honored in exactly the same way,” Miller-Pease said. “They are all valued.”

It takes a big volunteer force, including many Leadership Evansville board members, alumni and others to put on the annual event, Miller-Pease said. It’s was at Old National Events Plaza.

“There are so many working hard to make sure this is an outstanding night,” Miller-Pease said.

Here are the award winners, along with a synopsis of each achievement, provided by Leadership Evansville:

Division Recipients

Individual Leadership – Mary Allen.

As a local small business owner, avid volunteer and changemaker, Mary Allen inspires many in the community to give back in bigger and better ways. Her positive attitude and work ethic are contagious. Whether she is selling soap, driving a pedicab, championing E is for Everyone or supporting the Haynie’s Corner Arts District, Mary brings positivity and collaboration wherever she is.

Project Leadership – Invisible Patients: Patrick O’Connor & Jessica MacLeod

The award-winning film, Invisible Patients, pulls back the curtain on the nearly 5 million home-bound and home-limited individuals and the hardships they face. Over the course of several months, filmmaker Patrick O’Connor follows local nurse practitioner, Jessica MacLeod, as she makes home visits to patients unable to go to a doctor’s office because of functional impairment, chronic illness and poverty. The film seeks to inspire legislative action so that all people, no matter their circumstances, have access to the medical attention they need.

Business/Organization Leadership – Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana

A tireless advocate for the arts in our community, the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana strives to provide opportunities to support the arts and our local artists. Through regular sponsored events and exhibits including the Evansville Regional Airport Sculptural Completion and the State Penitentiary System Exhibit, the Arts Council encourages and inspires creativity and collaboration.

Special Awards

Sam Featherstone Youth Award – Individual – Student Buddies

After watching a family member experience chemotherapy with Chemo Buddies by their side, Oak Hill third grader, Isabelle Wood, wanted to give back. With help from her teacher, Emma Dugger, and a school fundraising program called Spring Fling, Isabelle hosted a dance that had 2,000 people in attendance and raised over $4,000 for Chemo Buddies. Mrs. Duggar went on to create the website StudentBuddies.org to help inspire other students, parents and educators to help cancer patients.

Sam Featherstone Youth Award – Project/Program – Youth Resources Teen Court

The Youth Resources Teen Court seeks to help juvenile defendants move forward toward a better future. In collaboration with the Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office and Youth Resources, the Teen Court uses real-world consequences coupled with counseling and Youth Resources programs. By addressing the personal issues these kids face, ranging from depression to bullying to family loss, the Youth Resources Teen Court strives to help these kids address all their issues and find a healthier path.

Sam Featherstone Youth Award – Business/Organization – United Methodist Youth Home

At the United Methodist Youth Home, the staff is driven to providing at-risk youth a safe, supportive environment. UMYH not only strives to meet the physical, mental, and social needs of the youth that they work with, but they are also seeking to continue services with the youth even after they have left their programs. No matter what these youths have experienced, UMYH provides quality care and support to all.

Sam Featherstone Youth Award – Overall – Evansville Day School 4th Grade Giving Project

Equipped with ten dollars and challenged to make a difference, the Evansville Day School 4th Grade Giving Project teachers these students that they, too, can give back to the community. Serving a diverse range of organizations throughout the community, these fourth graders transformed each of their ten dollars into $6,000. This initiative proves that no matter our age, or how much money we may have, anyone can bring positive change.

Spirit Award – Safe Pets Domestic Violence Program

In many domestic abuse situations, the victims choose not to leave for fear of leaving their pets behind. To help ease this stressful situation, the Vanderburgh Humane Society created the Safe Pets Domestic Violence Program, which helps victims to flee domestic abuse by offering their pets a safe place to stay. For up to 30 days, these pets receive free room and board, allowing domestic abuse victims to leave their situation and take important next steps toward moving forward, without worrying about the safety of their pets.

Leaders in Technology – Helfrich Park Real World STEM with Berry Global

In collaboration with Berry Global, Helfrich Park and sixth-grade honors courses, The Helfrich Park Real World STEM with Berry Global allows middle school students to work side-by-side with real-life STEM professionals, teaching them hands-on skills and inspiring a passion for STEM disciplines. Through the careful guidance of Berry Global professionals, students build a project and then present it before the Berry Global Executive Leadership Team. The Helfrich Real World STEM project shows its students the power of servant leaders working together.

Lt. Col. Reginald Gibson Award – Reverend William Payne

After returning from prison, Reverend William Payne saw a need to help at-risk youth in our community. And he acted. Not only did he start a host of mentoring organizations, including Men of Valor and Boss Prep Academy, he spearheaded several community projects, such as the annual bike giveaway at Walmart, which gives a bicycle to 60 children participating in the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library’s Summer Learning Program. Reverend William Payne’s devotion to the youth in our community is a true inspiration.

Bryce Jordan Servant Leader – Noah Deeg

Noah Deeg has given back to the community – locally and internationally since age 10. He raised money for children in Uganda and started the organization Noah’s Necklaces, which sells necklaces made by incarcerated women. At an early age, Noah’s dedication to those in need inspires all who meet him.

Willie Effie Thomas Diversity Award – the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library, Organizational Development & Human Resources Team

To address unwanted behavior happening in the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Libraries, a bystander intervention training video was created. In collaboration with the EVPL Organizational Development and Human Resources Team as well as staff, the bystander intervention training video teaches important skills to address a variety of situations. The training has not only helped the EVPL staff and library visitors but has also been requested by other library systems.

Winternheimer/LaMar Public Service Award – Kathryn McKinley

Known for her bright spirit, contagious smile and positive attitude, Kathryn McKinley’s work as a Lincoln Elementary School crossing guard goes beyond protecting children crossing the street. Her friendly waves and smiles to passing cars has made her a silent hero to all driving on Bayard Park Drive each morning. Kathryn reminds us that even the smallest acts of kindness can be transformative.

Shirley James “Greening the Community” Award – Cart Creek Clean-up

The Cart Creek Clean-up exemplifies community collaboration and a dedication to our environment. Led by single-working mom, Courtney Woodroof along with 60 plus volunteers and the City Engineer’s office staff, thousands of pounds of trash and around 60 shopping carts were removed from Dry Branch Creek, also known as Cart Creek. The work has not only improved the drainage into Pigeon Creek but has also enhanced the area for all living at the waterway.

Nancy Sieben Koehler Sustainability Award – Ashlee Bruggenschmidt & Play for Kate Foundation

After 11-year-old Kate Bruggenschmidt tragically passed away from an ATV accident, her mother Ashlee Bruggenshmidt – and Principal of Sharon Elementary School – united the community to ensure tragedies of this kind end. The Play for Kate Foundation provides safety education and injury prevention using ATV safety guidelines, hosts fundraising events and offers scholarship opportunities, inspiring families, community figures and legislators to help prevent future tragedies from occurring.

Sara B. Davies Award – Christine Keck

Christine Keck’s passion and devotion to the community radiates in all her work. Whether she is serving as President-Elect for the Southwest Indiana Chamber Board of Directors or Vice President of the St. Vincent’s Foundation Board or leading the way for the Woodmere Dog Park, Christine embraces servant leadership by encouraging others to take an active role in their passions.

Civic Engagement – Amy Walker

Amy Walker’s energy, passion and enthusiasm enhance the community in powerful ways. As the Director of the Public Education Foundation of Evansville, Amy partnered with local universities to help thousands of students access life-changing programs and projects as well as provide grants and scholarships. Amy’s ability to engage with the community in all her work inspires us all.

Outstanding Innovation – Even Start

As a high school equivalency program, EVSC’s Even Start program stands out. The program not only helps parents obtain high school equivalency but also provides early education to infants, toddlers and preschool children. As advocates for these families, Even Start offers parenting education including money management, nutrition and job interviewing. Even Start provides a full-service experience to parents and their children.

Transformational Inclusion – Old National Bank

Old National Bank lives their mission to build “long-term, highly-valued relationships” with clients by employing individuals based on talents and strengths. ONB not only meets traditional hiring quotas for those with disabilities but also exceeds it by serving the disabled community with specialists with disabilities themselves. After the hiring of a deaf employee, her peers requested sign language courses so they could communicate with her. ONB did not hesitate and offered lunchtime courses. ONB’s efforts are truly transforming how the company works to promote inclusion within our communities.

Darrell Ragland Visionary Award – Evansville Water and Sewer Utility Storm and Sanitary Sewer Project: Allen Mounts & Mike Labitzke.

Led by Allen Mounts and Mike Labitzke, the Evansville Water & Sewer Utility Storm and Sanitary Sewer Project has done more than execute a functional underground plan with the EPA’s mandate to separate storm and sanitary sewers. They found creative ways to help this enormous expenditure provide above-ground features, enhance the aesthetic of Evansville and provide public recreational and educational facilities – all while saving money. Evansville Water & Sewer Utility executed additional initiatives like joining with other groups to relocate and enhance Kids Kingdom playground, including public meetings to get the community’s input.

Susan Kelley Jordan Leader in Courage Award – Mellissa Goff & the ACHIEVE Girl Scouts

As the only program of its kind in the country, Girl Scouts ACHIEVE offers girls with autism equal opportunity to experience the Girl Scouts. Led by local autism advocate, Mellissa Goff, ACHIEVE provides a specific environment to accommodate sensory and communication needs. The program also offers support and training to parents and volunteers, helping them to be advocates for their girls and others impacted by autism. Mellissa Goff and the ACHIEVE Girl Scouts are true examples of working together to ensure all can enjoy life-based on their unique needs.

Regional Impact – Jeff Justice

From USI’s Griffin Center to UE’s Ridgeway Center to the EVV Regional Airport renovation to the Ford Center, Jeff Justice and the Hafer Design team have made significant impacts to the entire Evansville community. Jeff has spent over three decades in the Downtown Main Street area, using this experience to guide the team of the 2016 Downtown Master Plan Update. Jeff’s true servant leadership mindset has had an inestimable impact on Evansville.

Lifetime Achievement – Alan Winslow

At 95 years old – Yes, 95 – Alan Winslow is an active volunteer with local and national organizations. Along with starting Our Greater Community, which is now a part of HOPE of Evansville, he ran the Neighborhood Economic Development Center and Patchwork Central for decades. Outside of Evansville, he visited small villages in El Salvador to help residents gain access to potable water. A passionate collaborator, Alan continues to work with Companion Community Development Alternatives as they build partnerships between people in El Salvador and Evansville.

Lifetime Achievement – Lu Porter

For 25 years, Lu Porter has become a fixture of servant leadership in our community, known for bringing diverse people together, and enacting important improvements to the Evansville African American Museum, leading to a number of industry awards. As Vectren’s AVP/ Community Development Officer, she raised awareness, built consensus, and helped improve social and economic conditions within the company’s assessment areas. Lu has served on over 30 nonprofit boards, foundations and state commissions during her lifetime.

Lifetime Achievement – Dr. Linda L. M. Bennett

Dr. Bennett strives to make USI a welcoming place for all students across the nation and world. As USI’s third president, she established the university’s first strategic plan, coordinated USI’s first doctoral program and is a leader in bringing a multi-institutional medical school to Evansville. Dr. Bennett ensured the University supports our entire region through projects like the I-69 Innovation Corridor. Her leadership is an example to all of how to lead a major institution with skill.

Community Collaboration – E is for Everyone

E is for Everyone aspires for all in our community to feel heard, a part of and represented. The collaborative branding initiative wants everyone to connect with someone or something new, find a unique way to contribute to the community, and celebrate together what makes our region great. With “E” popping up everywhere in town, from the downtown walkway to the top of the civic center Christmas tree, E is for Everyone’s positive, can-do attitude continues to grow.

Recognition for Individual Leadership

Arts – Sabrina Newton

Singer/songwriter and marketing professional, Sabrina embodies servant leadership by using her talents to inspire and unite our community. Her songs, including “Take me to the River͟” for the E is for Everyone branding campaign, capture our local community spirit.

Community & Neighborhood – Allen Waller

Throughout his work, Allen Waller uses his past experiences to help those in need. After witnessing the loss of a friend from drowning, Allen began partnering with local swimming pools to offer free lessons and holds fundraisers to raise to help pay for additional lessons – all on a volunteer basis. In his role as Vanderburgh County Juvenile Probation Officer, Allen serves as a trusted mentor by using his past to help guide and relate to the kids in his care.

Education – Dr. Thomas A. Kazee

As President of the University of Evansville, Dr. Thomas Kazee consistently engages with local organizations and community figures to enhance and advance the university and the Evansville community. Whether he’s working to preserve the historic Peters-Margedant House or spearheading the UE Fellows Program, Dr. Kazee is committed to helping the Evansville-area move forward.

Environment – Susan Harp

Susan Harp shares her dedication to preserving and enhancing our environment with people of all ages. She’s even trained her yellow Labrador Retrievers to pick up litter around the community. Through her children’s books featuring, her dog, Evie Sue, Susan inspires our youngest servant leaders to protect and care for the environment.

Government & Public Service – Amy Canterbury

Amy Canterbury’s leadership with the United Way of Southwest Indiana inspires many in her organization and across the non-profit community. Dedicated to bringing together passionate people to make meaningful change, Amy’s vision and enthusiasm continue to move our community forward together.

Health & Social Service – Sara Barnett

As a sign language interpreter, Sara Barnett’s dedication to the deaf and hard of hearing community is truly admirable. She provides affordable interpreting services to the deaf community through her organization Connections Sign Language Interpreting. In all her work, Sara passionately seeks to broaden the acceptance and understanding of the deaf culture, impacting both the deaf and hearing communities.

Recognition for Project Leadership

Arts – Hidden Figures Red Carpet Event

To shed light on the low number of women of color in STEM disciplines, the Evansville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority inspired many by hosting a Hidden Figures Red Carpet Event. In addition to screening the movie “Hidden Figures,” local women of color in STEM professions (aka Hidden Figures), discussed the low representation of women and racial/ethnic groups in STEM disciplines. The event inspired local organizations to think critically about who is missing from their own STEM programs.

Community & Neighborhood – Community in Pain

Through a collaboration with the Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office and Eyewitness News WEHT, Community in Pain provides addition/substance abuse resources to Evansville, Henderson and Owensboro – completely free of charge. By calling the anonymous addiction phone bank hotline, callers are connected to addiction specialists based on their individual needs. Community in Pain brings together our community to not only lessen the stigma of addiction but also find real-time solutions for those suffering from substance abuse.

Education – Southern Indiana Career & Technical Center Diesel Program.

The award-winning Southern Indiana Career & Technical Center Diesel’s program provides hands-on skills to prepare high school juniors and seniors for professional work. Inspiring servant leadership within its own students, the first female graduate not only went on to a successful career but also awarded a scholarship to another female student. The SICTC Diesel Program works diligently to bring their mission to life: to teach its students real-world job skills while helping to eliminate debt when graduating college.

Environment – Franklin Street Community Garden

Driven by Chris Borries and her team of volunteers, ranging from master gardeners to Girl Scouts, the Franklin Street Community Garden overflowed with hearty vegetables like kale, squash, tomatoes and hops, which will be used to brew local beer. A truly giving initiative, this year’s excess harvest was donated to the Evansville Food Bank. The Franklin Street Community Garden is the physical manifestation of the care and dedication present in the Franklin Street cultural district.

Government & Public Service – Hoosier Task Force.

The Hoosier Task Force brings aid to victims of natural disasters and other tragedies locally and nationally. In collaboration with the Evansville Police Department, Evansville Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services, task force members from all walks of life use their skills to help at-risk communities across the country. From gathering and transporting large quantities of supplies to providing in-person aid, the Hoosier Task Force spends countless hours helping at-risk communities.

Health & Social Service – Deaconess Mobile Breast Center

With the goal of making breast cancer screenings accessible to all women, the Deaconess Mobile Breast Center collaborates with a range of host sites to offer not only the initial screening but also follow-up care, connection to providers and detailed explanations of complex health care issues. Available to both insured and uninsured women, the Mobile Breast Center literally meets women where they are, helping to make this life-saving service truly accessible.

Recognition for Business/Organization Leadership

Arts – StaC Art Gallery

Nestled in the Haynie’s Corner Art District, StaC Gallery serves as an inviting community hub for artists and the surrounding neighborhood. After renovating a Victorian home, the family-run gallery features a coffee house and plays host to indoor and outdoor events to inspire collaboration and creativity. StaC Gallery is a magnet for artists, art-lovers and neighbors to come together and appreciate local art.

Community & Neighborhood – Tri-State Public Media (WNIN)’s New Media Center.

WNIN’s New Media Center provides exciting opportunities for community members to engage in educational and informative programming. After relocating from the historic Carpenter House to the corner of Main Street and Riverside Drive in a newly built, state-of-the-art facility, the WNIN Media Center allows the broader community easier access to create and experience community-driven programming.

Education – the EVSC Foundation.

By providing supplemental funds to over 100 EVSC programs across 39 schools, the EVSC Foundation ensures that a diverse array of students has the opportunity to experience a range of activities and programs. The EVSC Foundation thoughtfully aligns funds to meet the overall vision and strategic plan of the EVSC. The foundation’s work not only serves our youngest servant leaders but also provides opportunities for kids to be educated and inspired.

Environment – Southwest Indiana Association of REALTORS Main Street Sidewalk Park.

When the Southwest Indiana Association of REALTORS decided to build a sidewalk park on Evansville’s Main Street, they sought to enhance the downtown area’s appeal to current and future homeowners. And they succeeded. In collaboration with the City of Evansville, the Downtown Alliance, community volunteers, and more, Evansville’s first “pocket park” provides an attractive free space in an urban area for community members to sit, talk and relax, with easy access for persons’ with disabilities. The Southwest Indiana Association of REALTORS’ work has inspired talks of building more parks in Evansville and even in Henderson.

Government & Public Service – Evansville Fire Department

Evansville Fire Department lives servant leadership in all they do, whether it is through protecting the community, holding fundraisers or creating an internal fitness program to ensure its team remains healthy. By living the mission “Concerned Professionals Protecting the Community We Serve,” the EFD makes a concerted effort to help and protect our community.

Health & Social Service – Borrowed Hearts Foundation