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Foundation celebrates 'Generosity'

April 22, 2009
The Community Foundation of Crawford County celebrated its 10th anniversary Friday afternoon by honoring those who have given of themselves to help others.

The "Spirit of Generosity" celebration, held at Annabelle's Art Gallery in Leavenworth, honored 22 people for their philanthropic efforts, as well as took a look back at the Foundation's start and those who helped create it.

"It's really hard to believe it's been 10 years already," Bonita Embry Coots, the Foundation's CEO and president, told the crowd, noting the CFCC was officially formed on April 28, 1999.

Following a proclamation read by Crawford Circuit Judge K. Lynn Lopp declaring April 28 Community Foundation of Crawford County Day, as he did on the Foundation's fifth anniversary, Coots recognized those receiving the Spirit of Generosity Award.

As she read their names and how they have made the county a better place, Stanley Pennington, a former CFCC board member, presented them a certificate while Sam Bowles, a current board member and past CFCC college scholarship recipient, gave them a special pin.

"Imagine what our world would be like without volunteers," Coots said following the awards presentation. "There would be a lot undone. ... Most significant work gets done in our communities because of volunteers that have a passion for what they do.

"There's a lot of passion up here in front of this room."

(A list of the honorees appears below.)

To hail the CFCC's milestone anniversary, Coots, who became the Foundation's executive director (her title was later changed to CEO and president) exactly two years to the day of its founding, noted the CFCC has provided more than $8 million to various programs, including the Crawford County 4-H Community Park, full-day kindergarten, college scholarships, youth baseball and softball and Habitat for Humanity, among several others.

"I think that's remarkable," she told the crowd. "Do you?"

Coots also recognized past and present board members, but gave special recognition to three people: Patricia Ramsey, James Bye and the late Dr. Herbert E. Smith. Calling them "the primary energy" behind the formation of the Foundation, Coots honored them with the inaugural Founder's Award and a commemorative clock.

After inviting Ramsey, whom she referred to as "the mother of the Foundation," and Bye to join her in front of the audience, Coots became choked up when describing Smith, who despite having lived his adult life in Bloomington, never forgot his home county and wanted to do what he could to improve the lives of the people there.

"Dr. Smith wanted so much for the Foundation to be a perpetual legacy. His motto was, 'Do it anyway,' " she said, noting that could be the motto of every one of the Spirit of Generosity Award recipients. "That's what many of you have done here as volunteers of your organizations."

The celebration included a jazz trio, photos and newspaper clippings from the Foundation's first 10 years and refreshments.

Click for photo gallery

Spirit of Generosity Award Recipients

The following people received the Community Foundation of Crawford County Spirit of Generosity Award. The nominating agency is listed in parenthesis.

•Lois Blevins (Blue River Services) — She has served a total of 25 years on the BRS Board of Directors, first elected in 1984. She volunteers more than three hours a month to the agency, totaling more than 790 hours.

•Larry Burmeister (Crawford County Historical and Genealogical Society) — His volunteer efforts include opening and operating the local archives four days a week. He also conducts research for local publications and upon request. His total volunteer time since 2006 exceeds 1,100 hours.

•Tom Eubank (Crawford County 4-H) — His love of youth and forestry resulted in ensuring Crawford County an outdoor classroom for students with more than 200 trees, including 50 trees of Indiana, all identified with markers. He also has donated money for a Purdue University scholarship for forestry students.

•Robert Gunn (posthumously) (Crawford County Historical and Genealogical Society) — He rebuilt the Proctor House main stairway and worked to repair many areas in the restoration of the house near Marengo.

•Betty Gunn (Happy Homemakers Club) — Since 2003, as secretary of the club, she records and reports the activities of the club.

•Rita Harden (Crawford County Prosecutor's Office) — Her volunteer efforts include community education regarding Shaken Baby Syndrome and Prevent Child Abuse, since moving to Crawford County in 2004. Working in cooperation with CARES and AVA, she provides in-school theater programming at all five county elementary schools. She volunteers more than 10 hours a week.

•Lori and Art Hill (Crawford County Public Library) — Since 2002, the Hills have worked to re-energize the volunteer efforts of the library, including the book sales. The income generated by the volunteers provide for new book library purchases and equipment for the benefit of the community.

•Cheryl Hillenburg (Crisis Connection) — She has served on the agency's board of directors since 1998. Her experience as a prosecutor and social worker make her a qualified advocate for individuals affected by domestic and sexual violence. She continues to work for better community policies regarding the criminal justice response and helps make Crisis Connection a viable social service agency.

•Huge and Evelyn Jackson (Indiana Society - National Society Daughters of 1812, Jonathan Jennings Chapter) — Together, their volunteer efforts include spending more than 3,000 hours recording more than four cemeteries and resetting gravestones resulting in veteran government markers being set and dedicated.

•Edith Key (WBRO-Old Time Radio) — Over the past few years, she has provided support to Bonnie Powers in the production of the weekly "WBRO Old Time Radio" program. The two offer listeners a humorous and informative look back at the olden days while keeping current on local events and activities.

•Robert McCool (posthumously) (CARES) — He tutored English Elementary School third- through sixth-graders in math beginning in 2006. Never missing a day, he volunteered 1,080 hours. He died in February.

•Sam Mellett (Crawford County Extension Office) — He has more than 30 years of service with the Extension Board of Directors, serving as president, vice president and secretary, and advocating for Purdue University research, extension and teaching. He also has done grassroots lobbying of local and state elected officials in support of Extension.

•Kathy Newton (Hoosier Hillsides Master Gardeners) — She has volunteered more than three hours a week, for a total of 400-plus hours, since 1995. Her efforts have included public education, adults and children, in the area of gardening, and annually staffing the 4-H booth.

•Gina Pittman (English Elementary School) — For four years, she has volunteered to assist teachers and students in the after-school CARES program. She provides leadership regarding the parent volunteer program.

•Frances Powell (Crawford County Public Library) — Since 2001, she volunteered more than 2,400 hours preparing books, DVDs and videos for checkout. Her work includes applying book spine labels, due sheets and other documentation as needed.

•Bonnie Powers (English Senior Citizens) — Since 1979, she has volunteered hundreds of hours serving on the club's board, acting as the official reporter, and helping keep the building tidy.

•Patricia Ramsey (Indiana 15 Regional Planning Commission) — Appointed by the governor, from 2005 through 2009, she serves on the Commission's executive committee and board. Her support of board and staff efforts have helped in providing state and federal funding, in the millions, for public projects in Crawford County, including a local revolving loan program, storm water and sidewalks expansions.

•Joan Ritchie (Lincoln Hills Development Corp.) — She has volunteered on the LHDC Board of Directors for 34 years, having recently completed 27 years as president. Her efforts have included bringing significant improvements in the area of housing, Head Start facilities and community service centers. Since 1973, she has volunteered more than 2,000 hours.

•Donald Standiford (Crawford County Public Library Friends of Library) — Since 2001, he has volunteered hundreds of hours each year sorting all donations of books for the book sales.

•Becky Hammond Stetter (VFW Post 6160 at English) — She collects and restores photographs of veterans for the statewide "Our Heroes Project." Her efforts also include adding to the collection of the Crawford County Public Library's permanent collection as a way to honor and recognize veterans.
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