MOUNT VERNON — A multitude of community figures were honored this morning at Lakeholm Church of the Nazarene with a breakfast marking the annual Red Cross Hero Awards. Awards went to Olivia Bates, Matt Cox, Dr. Barry George, Officer Nick Holdren, Don Marn, Cecil McCullough, Carol Payne, Chrystal Rardin, Joe Rinehart, Marcy Rinehart, Ben Sanders and Nancy Shafer.
“It is always such a priviledge to honor Knox Countians who go above and beyond the norm,” said Red Cross director Kelly Brenneman, adding that having so many such people is one of the things that makes this area a great place to live.
International Paper presented the Youth Hero of the Year Award to 10-year-old Olivia Bates, who had the idea of making pillows and selling them in order to donate the money to a worthy cause. Olivia, her mother and her siblings made the pillows and raised $500 for the Foundation of Knox Community Hospital. The foundation will use the money to purchase mammopads, which are used to alleviate the discomfort some patients feel during a mammogram.
This year the Hero in Education Award was received by three men who work at Mount Vernon Middle School; Mount Vernon Nazarene University, which presented the award. Matt Cox, Don Marn and Ben Sanders gave their best efforts and used their CPR training to resuscitate another school employee, Dan Burwell, when he fell ill. They performed CPR until emergency professionals arrived on the scene. The emergency technicians believed that through the combined efforts of the three men, Burwell’s family was given enough time to say goodbye.
The Workplace Hero Award was presented to Dr. Barry George by Kokosing Construction Co., who wished to honor his commitment to his workplace and co-workers. George has been an integral part of developing the percutaneous coronary intervention program at KCH. He has been involved in many clinical trials during his years as an interventional cardiologist, working to further the advancement of life-saving heart care treatment. He continues to help with many quality improvement initiatives with the PCI program, and works with the county’s local emergency squads, improving the care the patients receive on the way to the hospital.
Gordon Yance of the First-Knox National Bank presented the Public Service Hero award to Fredericktown police officer Nick Holdren. On Feb. 11, 2009, Holdren was patrolling near the school campus when he noticed a glow in the sky across town. He immediately drove to the scene and saw the garage of a home engulfed in flames.
Holdren reported the fire to the dispatcher and approached the front door of Goldie and Don McLaughlin, who were both in a second-floor bedroom. At the front door he met Amy Morrison, one of the McLaughlin’s neighbors, who was carrying Goldie from the home to the front lawn. Morrison asked Holdren to assist Don, who was reluctant to leave. Just as Holdren was getting Don to safety, a vehicle in the garage exploded. Holdren returned, picked up Goldie and carried her to the Morrison’s home to safely await the arrival of the Fredericktown Fire Department.
The Armed Forces Hero for 2010 is Cecil McCullough. McCullough joined the U.S. Army during the Korean conflict, where he made 148 parachute jumps during his time of service. After the war, McCullough returned to his home in West Virginia. He was hired by the Weyerhauser Corp. and later transferred to Mount Vernon, where he served as a die repairman until his retirement.
Among his many talents, McCullough is a self-taught musician who formed his own band and has played at many venues in and around Knox County. He puts his musical talents to good use by volunteering to entertain the residents of several local nursing homes on a monthly basis. He also participates as a member of the Knox County Joint Veterans Council, which conducts military funerals and honor guard duties throughout the county.
McCullough is a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the AMVETS, as well as the American Legion. He has served as an officer in these organizations and has tirelessly strived to assist the veterans of his community.
The Central Ohio Technical College presented the Senior Hero of the Year Award to Carol Payne, noting that she should simply have won for having the patience to teach fourth-graders for over 30 years and for being a loyal fan of the Cleveland Indians for 60 years. But she has also continued to make positive contributions to her community since her retirement. She works polls on Election Day, straightens books on shelves at the library, works at the one-room schoolhouse at the Knox County Fair and is a dedicated Hot Meals worker, usher and volunteer at the rummage sale at her church. Payne is also a dedicated recycler, picking up litter on her daily neighborhood walks.
This year’s Healthcare Hero Award recipient was Chrystal Rardin. A graduate from the Mansfield General nursing program, she received her Bachelor of Science degree from Ohio University. She worked seven years in a hospital and three years in a health department before she settled in to her true love, working with children as a school nurse for 22 years.
In her spare time she teaches first aid, emergency preparedness, CPR and wilderness first aid to the Boy and Girl Scouts, and the Knox County Career Center nursing students. Rardin was also instrumental in developing a program for Job & Family Services which it uses to educate people about communicable diseases and child abuse prevention.
The joint winners of the Humanitarian Award, presented by Ariel Corp., were Joe and Marcy Rinehart. Marcy is the station manager of MVNU’s radio station, WNZR, and co-host of The Morning Thing. Marcy is involved with many community organizations, including serving on the board of CareNet Pregnancy Services and Food for the Hungry.
Joe is the director of broadcasting at MVNU, where he teaches broadcasting and media classes, advises students and co-hosts The Afternoon Drive. Joe serves on the board of Food for the Hungry and the Dan Emmett Music & Arts Festival. Together, he and Marcy have served for six years as emcees for the Knox County Junior Miss Scholarship program and as at-large judges for two years. The Rineharts are past recipients of The Salvation Army “Spirit of the Army” Award and the Stephen Zelkowitz Memorial Award. They are especially known for their active roles in the Food for the Hungry program.
This year’s Community Hero Award recipient was Nancy Shaffer. Shaffer is a retired social worker, who has spent her life helping other people. She has been a tireless volunteer for her church, a volunteer at the desk at KCH, an advocate for developmentally disabled individuals, a board member for a group home and a member of the Public Transportation Board, and she faithfully cooks for the Hot Meals Program. Shaffer has been recognized by the Exchange Club as a Golden Deeds Award recipient. The Community Hero Award was presented by Brenneman Lumber.