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Physician, anti-human trafficking advocates among Jefferson Award finalists

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Jefferson Awards winners, from left, Julie Rubini, Celia Williamson, Dr. Kristopher Brickman, and Megan Mattimoe, after the ceremony at The Premier Banquet Hall.

The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
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Dr. Kristopher Brickman, a local physician who volunteers to help victims of natural disasters, Julie Rubini, an advocate who encourages the love of reading, and two local professionals who are working to eradicate human trafficking in the United States, Celia Williamson and Megan Mattimoe, are the 2015 Jefferson Award finalists.

The winners — four honorees selected from a list of 53 nominees and 15 finalists — were lauded early today at the annual Jefferson Awards celebration and breakfast at Premier Banquet Hall in South Toledo.

The American Institute for Public Service has awarded the Jefferson Awards for Public Service nationally since 1972. Nicknamed the Nobel Prize for community service, the Jefferson Awards honor and recognize volunteerism and public service.

“These finalists represent the best of us,” said Joseph H. Zerbey IV, president and general manager of The Blade. “They have dedicated themselves to making the world a better place, starting right here in Toledo. We are proud to be able to recognize their efforts and honor them for their achievements.”

Dr. Brickman is the chair of the department of emergency medicine at the University of Toledo Medical Center, the former Medical College of Ohio. He has been on numerous medical missions around the world, including leading delegations of medical workers to assist the earthquake victims in Haiti and typhoon victims in the Philippines.

Julie Rubini created the largest book festival and awards program in northwest Ohio. The Claire’s Day Book Festival is a free event that is attended by more than 6,000 people each year at the Maumee Branch Library. She is also responsible for the Claire’s Awards for Reading Excellence that honors children nominated by their teachers as the “most improved struggling reader.” Ms. Rubini is a member of Maumee City Council.

Celia Williamson has worked throughout her career as a social worker and University of Toledo professor to help women and youth involved in sex trafficking. The Second Chance program she founded in 1993 won the FBI Director's Community Leadership Award. She also secured federal funding to create the Lucas County Human Trafficking Coalition.

Attorney Megan Mattimoe has provided legal, educational, and outreach services to victims of human trafficking in northwest Ohio since 2012 when she founded the Advocating Opportunity program. She is one of only four attorneys in Ohio specializing in representing sex trafficking victims and her organization is one of only two in the country that provides these comprehensive services to victims and their families.

The four winners’ names and achievements will be sent to Washington, where a Jefferson Awards Board of Selectors will review them and choose one person to represent the region at a national ceremony there.

The local judges this year were Billie Johnson, Ken Leslie, Clint Mauk, Lisa McDuffie, Jeff Sailer, Tina Skeldon Wozniak, Zak Vassar, and Yuval Zaliouk.

The awards are sponsored by The Blade, Buckeye CableSystem, WTVG-13, and Leadership Toledo. The breakfast ceremony was sponsored by The Andersons and Waterford Bank.

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