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Published: Thursday, 3/29/2012

Community activists, mentors honored with Jefferson Awards


Four “unsung heroes” who volunteer their time and talents in northwest Ohio were announced Thursday morning at the Toledo Club.

The four winners of the 2012 Jefferson Awards were Jimmy Gaines, executive director of ONYX community organization; Ken Leslie, an advocate for the homeless who founded Tent City and 1Matters; James Taylor, who volunteers with the Hospitality Kitchen at Our Lady of Lourdes Church and serves as vice president of the DOVE (Development of Vietnam Endeavors) Fund, and Major John Tharp of the Lucas County Sheriff’s Office, who founded a deputy mentoring program in Toledo Public Schools.

Sponsored by The Blade, Buckeye CableSystem, and WTOL-11, the Jefferson Award program recognized 10 finalists who were introduced at the breakfast event. Some 70 area residents were nominated for the awards, which recognize those who go the extra mile in service to the public.

From the four winners, one finalist will be selected to represent the Toledo area at a national Jefferson Awards ceremony in Washington.

The Students in Action committee at Springfield High School also was recognized for its work in inspiring volunteerism among students.

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