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Published: Thursday, 8/28/2003

Extraordinary efforts will earn recognition

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

You've still got one week to do something special for someone who does something special all the time.

The Blade is accepting nominations through Sept. 5 for the first locally presented Jefferson Awards. The awards recognize ordinary people who do extraordinary things without pay or recognition.

“We're asking residents of northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan to submit nominations for those people they know who are doing volunteer work and not getting recognized for it - truly the unsung heroes of our community who add to the quality of life for others,” said Josh Trust, director of marketing for The Blade.

The Blade, along with co-sponsors Buckeye CableSystem; WUPW-TV, Channel 36, and Cumulus Radio, plan to name eight Jefferson Award winners - two each in October, November, December, and January. From those eight, one person will be selected to receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, where national Jefferson Award winners will be announced at the annual dinner of the American Institute for Public Service.

The Wilmington, Del.-based organization launched the prestigious awards program in 1972 to encourage and recognize community volunteers of all ages. Its founders included Ohio Gov. Bob Taft's father, then Sen. Robert Taft, Jr.; Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and Sam Beard, former staff associate to U.S. Sen. Robert Kennedy.

Across the country, 64 other cities currently sponsor the awards, including Lima, Ohio; Columbus, and Cincinnati.

In Toledo, a panel of local judges has been meeting once every four weeks to review the nominations as they've come in since the awards program was launched June 1, Mr. Trust said. About 40 nominations have been submitted so far.

The local judges are Larry Burns, vice president for institutional advancement at the Medical College of Ohio; Sandy Isenberg, former president of the Lucas County commissioners; Jim Murray, regional president of Toledo Edison; Jim Brenizer, director of community outreach services for United Way; Clyde Scoles, director of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library; Toledo City Councilman Karyn McConnell, and the Rev. Michael Billian, chancellor and vicar general of the Toledo Roman Catholic Diocese.

Nomination forms are available through any of the sponsors or by logging on to www.toledoblade.com/jeffersonawards.

Those submitting nominations will be asked to include a letter of 300 words or less describing the nominee's contributions to the community.



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