Big Rivers Electric Corp. in Henderson Among 2016 Governor’s Service Award Recipients


FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 12, 2016) – Gov. Matt Bevin, Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton and Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) Secretary Vickie Yates Brown Glisson today presented the Governor’s Service Awards at a ceremony in the State Capitol. They were joined by Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps and leads volunteer and service initiatives for the nation.

Sgt. Tony Hendrichs has helped veterans reacclimate to the workforce. Partnership Housing, Inc. has built and repaired homes for low-income families. John Duplessis has been actively involved in constructing all but one of the houses built by Hardin County Habitat for Humanity in the last 21 years. And 18-year-old Nick Carpenter, diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at age 5, has advocated for himself and others like him through educational and legislative activities.

They are among the 21 individuals and groups honored today for their volunteer and service contributions at the Governor’s Service Awards ceremony in Frankfort. From Cadiz to Ashland, they have transformed their communities. This year’s award recipients have helped meet the state’s critical needs like feeding the hungry, tutoring and mentoring at-risk students and assisting vulnerable community members during public health emergencies.

Gov. Bevin said the event was a chance to honor the state’s volunteers and national service members for their efforts and the positive changes they have made.

“We know you take time to volunteer not because you expect to be recognized or receive awards, but because you have a servant’s heart.” Gov. Bevin said. “You have truly made an impact on your communities in ways that you may never see. Your actions set an example for others and are worthy of this prestigious recognition. Congratulations and thank you for representing the very best of who we are as Kentuckians.”

Lt. Gov. Hampton said she is appreciative of the recipients’ service to others.

“We are truly grateful to these volunteers for their tireless efforts, as well as the thousands of Kentuckians who serve their fellow citizens in need. I applaud the volunteers for giving generously of their time and talent.”

The Kentucky Commission on Community Volunteerism and Service (KCCVS), a division within CHFS, coordinates the annual Governor’s Service Awards program. The Governor’s Office launched the volunteer awards program in 1975. Since 1995, the KCCVS has administered the program.

Secretary Glisson said the honorees should be proud of the far-reaching effects of their service.

“These volunteers have made a great impact with their actions and their character,” she said. “Their exemplary service is inspiring so many others across the Commonwealth to give of themselves too.”

Gov. Bevin issued a call for nominations in April of this year.

A panel of independent reviewers with experience in volunteerism and/or service scored each nomination for the Awards Committee to choose the award recipients based on criteria like the uniqueness of the approach to solving a community problem and evidence of the impact of service. Awards were given for business, nonprofit, national service, lifetime achievement and volunteer service in categories for youth, seniors and groups.

In addition to managing the annual awards program, the bipartisan KCCVS Commission manages Kentucky AmeriCorps, a national service program from the federal agency, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). Kentucky has received more than $6 million in AmeriCorps federal funding for 19 programs with more than 1,000 members starting in September. Since AmeriCorps began in 1994, more than 10,000 Kentuckians have served more than 16 million hours and earned $37.5 million in educational awards.

KCCVS Executive Director Joe Bringardner said the honorees, and hundreds of volunteers like them, share a common trait of selflessness.

“These recipients, like so many other volunteers, started their service by seeing a problem and asking, ‘What can I do?’” he said. “They may choose to join a national service program like AmeriCorps, partner with a local charity, or even spearhead their own advocacy group and enlist the help of others. But every service effort makes an impact.”

At the ceremony, CNCS CEO Wendy Spencer said research shows that volunteers have a 27 percent higher likelihood of finding a job after being out of work than non-volunteers.

“Service is a core American value. Volunteers enrich our communities and keep our nation strong,” Spencer said. “The volunteers honored here today represent the best this Commonwealth and nation have to offer, demonstrating the power each and every one of us has to make a difference. I salute them for efforts and thank them for their commitment to service.”

For more information about the Governor’s Service Awards, Kentucky’s AmeriCorps programs or volunteerism, call the KCCVS at 502-564-7420 or visit their website at

A list of winners, their nominators and hometowns follows.

2016 Governor’s Service Award Recipients

John DuPlessis, Lifetime Achievement Award, Elizabethtown. Nominated by Rep. Tim Moore

Tina Crase, Lifetime Achievement Award (Posthumous), Verona. Nominated by Katelyn Crase

Michael J. Buckman, Volunteer Service Award, Prospect. Nominated by Kate Brackett

Shelley Elswick, Volunteer Service Award,Lexington. Nominated by Amanda Fallin

Dr. Mike Conver, Senior Volunteer Service Award, Cadiz. Nominated by Brenda Southwick

John and Emilie Ward, Senior Volunteer Service Award, Lebanon Junction. Nominated by Donna English

Tony Hendrichs, Veteran Volunteer Service Award, Lexington. Nominated by Tim Turner

Anthony “Nick” Carpenter, Youth Volunteer Service Award, Berea. Nominated by Virginia Bland

Lydia Claire O’Nan, Youth Volunteer Service Award, Ashland. Nominated by Bernard O’Nan

AmeriCorps REACH Corps, National Service Program Award, Louisville. Nominated by Jacob Eads

Anthony Criswell, National Service Alumni Award, Morehead. Nominated by Marilyn Smith

Leah Cann and Lori Shea Fuson, National Service AmeriCorps Member Award, Crittenden and Williamsburg. Nominated by Summer Gortney and Megan Morris

Mary “Jessie” Hettinger, National Service Senior Corps Member Award, Owensboro. Nominated by Vickie Poteat

Big Rivers Electric Corporation, Business Service Award, Henderson. Nominated by Megan Mortis

Independence Bank, Business Service Award, Owensboro. Nominated by Mary R. Steely

Partners for Education at Berea College, Nonprofit Service Award, Berea. Nominated by Sandi Curd

Partnership Housing, Inc., Nonprofit Service Award, Booneville, Nominated by Cassie Hudson

Generation Joshua Club, Paducah Chapter, Group Service Award, Paducah. Nominated by Eve Silverstein

Maria Hardy, Debbie Miller, Kristy Bolen, Cassie Mace, Henry Sturgill, Ron Enders and Brian Elswick (Health Departments in Boyd, Greenup and Lawrence Counties), Group Service Award, Little Sandy District. Nominated by John M. Hunt

A Place To Sleep, Faith-Based Group Service Award, Shelbyville. Nominated by Jackie Duvall

Farmington Church of Christ, Faith-based Group Award, Farmington. Nominated by Jennifer Morris

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