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Four individuals were named Thursday morning as this year's top Jefferson Award recipients in recognition of their public service in northwest Ohio.
They include Donald Harbaugh, longtime supporter of Boys and Girls Clubs of Toledo; Fred Grimm, a co-founder of the DOVE Fund - Development of Vietnam Endeavors; Doris Turner, president of Hannah's Socks Inc., and Dr. Elizabeth Ruppert, an advocate for health education and the advancement of children.
Mr. Harbaugh has served as chairman of the boys and girls club board of directors, co-chairman of its capital campaign, and as a committee member of the national Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Under his direction, the local boys and girls clubs joined with Toledo Public Schools to offer after-school education, mentorship, and nutritious meals for at-risk youth.
Mr. Grimm was one of the founders of the DOVE Fund, a volunteer group based in northwest Ohio that since its 2000 incorporation has constructed 45 schools in Vietnam, four medical clinics, and two water towers. It has also provided student scholarships and seed money to 50 women in small villages to start businesses.
On Thanksgiving Day in 2004, Mrs. Turner took her 4-year-old daughter, Hannah, to the Cherry Street Mission to help serve dinner to the needy. Young Hannah noticed a man wearing split-toe shoes and no socks, and asked if she could her own socks to the man. From this request was born Hannah's Socks Inc., which now serves 40 programs in Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana, distributing tens of thousands of socks for those in need.
Dr. Ruppert, a pediatrician and University of Toledo medical college professor emeritus, is medical director of the Anne Grady Corp.'s Prescribed Pediatric Center. She helped to develop the EduCare Center, which helps medically fragile children and is under the same roof as the prescribed pediatric center.
She has also served as president of the Ohio chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics and is on the board of Camp Courageous, a summer camp for special needs children and teens. Her husband, Dr. Richard Ruppert, was appointed the third president of the former Medical College of Ohio in 1977.
The four individuals names will be sent to the American Institute for Public Service, creator of the awards, and one will be invited to a national celebration in Washington.