Congratulations to our WBKO-TV 2014 Jefferson Award Recipients Christine Porter Coleman, Dr. Eli Jackson, Noah Jones, and Dr. Bharat Mody.
The Jefferson Awards is a National Program that recognizes community and public service.
Our four area winners were honored at a breakfast on April 24th.
The annual Jefferson Awards breakfast took place at Mariah's Restaurant in Bowling Green.
Four deserving members of the community were honored with the award after their peers nominated them earlier in the year.
Retired GM plant manager, Dave Tatman was the guest speaker.
Through the Jefferson Awards, the American Institute of Public Service recognizes the sacrifices and accomplishments of people serving others.
Tina Combs accepted the award on behalf of Dr. Bharat Mody who was unable to attend.
Dr. Mody sends his thanks for the award and also also says he hopes we can all join hands and not only make a monetary donation but donate our services and time as well.
This Years Honorary Jefferson Award Recipients:
Giving back can be easy when it's convenient, but when life throws obstacles in your way,
that's when it's tough to think of others.
Our Jake Boswell tells us about one Butler County woman who has turned tragedy into hope for others.
Butler County has a long history. The county was named in 1810 and since then
plenty of people have come and gone.
One woman is leaving a mark that will no doubt stand the test of time.
Christine Porter Coleman was born in the community of Eden where her grandpa did
pretty much everything for the people.
"He was a like a doctor. He prescribed drugs, delivered babies, and set broken legs.
We lived within a stone's throw of his blacksmith's shop." Christine Porter Coleman,
2014 Jefferson Award Recipient.
Christine was the 43rd of 44 grandchildren in the Porter family.
She says one of the things that would bring all of them together was volunteering
in anyway they could.
"It's a family trait. It's one of the good genes in the Porter family.
I have a first cousin still living. He's 90 (years old). He's from Ohio County.
When he retired from his profession he had to maintain an office
downtown to keep up with his volunteer work."
Christine also has a passion for politics, something she attributes to her
father's activism leading up to each election.
"I would go with him to the old courthouse when they opened the windows
upstairs and called out the numbers from each percent as they came in."
That passion turned into a career. Instead of waiting to hear others names
called on election night, at the age of 25 she heard her own
as the new Circuit Court Clerk.
An office she held for 18 years.
Christine retired years later but it didn't mean she would be resting.
It just meant she was now a full time volunteer.
"She's sees someone who needs help, she does what she can to help." C. Josh Givens,
Christine's Son In Law/ Former Editor Banner Republican says,
"I was sharing with her, because I'm a bus driver,
I had this little boy who had his dad's coat on that was ten times to big on him.
I was sharing it with her when I was cutting her hair one day. "
She gave me a check and she said, 'Go buy him a coat.' Little things or big things,
she's looking at every way she can help," says Donna Flener, Friend
The good family genes were passed down to Christine's daughter Andrea who
also made a career out of helping people.
"She was a social worker and she has the heart of her mother.
She wanted to be there and help others. If you were in a crisis you could call her."
Then in her early 30's Andrea was stricken with breast cancer,
causing her to go to Houston for treatment for 19 months.
Despite more than year of treatment her cancer became metastasized.
"There's never been a survivor of the kind of cancer she had."
Andrea was only 33 when she passed away.
One of the things her mom remembers most about her was her love for others,
specially those she felt needed help.
That's why in 2011, nearly 15 years after her death, Andrea's Mission was started.
"We're trying to keep her memory alive. We're trying to keep her memory alive."
Andrea's Mission started as a woman's rehabilitation center that could house up to 8 people,
but in a short time the mission has already expanded, with the opening of a Men's Center.
"In February of 2013 we opened this place. We can house now 16."
In a few short years, Andrea's dream of helping people is being realized through her mother.
"Christine likes to point out that that an addict comes in a needs help.
It's not just that person that needs help.
It's their children,
it's their family,
it's their wife,
it's their husband.
Maybe one addict is helped, but it affects the lives of a dozen people."
But Andrea's Mission isn't the only way Christine continues to help in Butler County.
She's been a board member of the Boys and Girls Club of Butler County since it began,
she's known as one of the most patriotic people around, she pulled off the huge task of
editing and compiling the Bicentennial Family History Book of Butler County.
Through all of that she didn't forget about the old courthouse she loved so much,
when it was time to build a new one she was right in the thick of things,
Chairing the bi-centennial committee for 3 years culminating in the dedication of the new county courthouse.
Through all of her accomplishments she's enlisted help along the way in a way only she can.
"Her organizational skills. I can't even imagine." Deb Duncan, Friend says, "She does not take no for an answer."
"It's intimidating a little bit. She's done such great things and inspires us all."
Butler County may have a long history but right in the middle of it forever,
will be the compassion, the charity, and the love left behind by Christine Porter Coleman.
"It's home and it's our obligation. All of us have an obligation to help people."
Christine says if she has one phrase she lives by it's "God will always provide."
DR. ELI JACKSON:
According to his peers, Doctor Eli Jackson is a humble example of a community servant.
Our Melissa Warren discovered, his ability to literally "bring smiles" to the community
that make him a 2014 Jefferson Award winner.
While his volunteer work in the community is often low key an unnoticed,
it is difficult not to notice all the ways Dr. Eli Jackson gives back to the community and those in need.
"We never got in it for the fame or acknowledgment. We just got in it, because
we saw a need in the community." says Jackson.
In addition to helping those who walk through his office doors each day
Dr. Jackson began volunteering monthly at the commonwealth health free
clinic providing dental services to those less fortunate in 1996.
Still, Jackson saw a continuing need for free dental services in his community,
"Just in our everyday office workday, we see a lot of people that need a
lot of work that just can't afford it," Says Jackson.
Eventually, through other friends in his field he discovered the
"Smiles From The Heart" program, a day of free dental services for those in need.
"After the first year, we knew it was something we really wanted to try and
bring back to our community," says Jackson.
In 2011, with great anticipation and a little fear, Jackson says he
brought the program to Bowling Green.
"We were very nervous that first day.
We didn't really know what to expect.
We didn't know if we'd see any patients,
if anybody was going to show up. "
"The night before, somebody came and was sleeping in a tent, and it was brutally cold."
"He said he had a tooth hurting him, so we went ahead and brought him in and saw
him the day before it started."
"It went from wondering if we were going to see any patients that day, to that first day
we've ever done it, we saw 300 people," Says Jackson.
Jackson, along with his staff and dentists who traveled from all over the nation could
not have imagined the impact they would have on their patients.
"They have a tendency to not only be appreciative, but sometimes they get pretty
emotional, and we all have a tendency to get emotional along with them," says Jackson.
"I was able to see almost everyone when they left, so you'd see just the gratitude,
and thanks, and people saying i could smile again. You just don't even know what
we take for granted everyday," Jackson says,
"The most memorable ones are not so much the people who come in in pain
and need a tooth out, it's the people who are maybe getting ready for a job
interview, or a wedding, or some other event where they want to be able to smile."
"I felt like a different person because i usually would smile with my mouth
shut where i would go like this, just keep my mouth shut and smile, and I can
actually smile. It makes you feel good. It makes you feel really good."
"Now we've had people that we recognize from last year, and so that's really
rewarding to see that and know they're looking forward to it, and at least we
know once a year, they're going to get checked and be able to have some kind of care."
Jackson says it's difficult to take the credit for everything he's helped accomplish
with the program, but those who work with him say without him, the community
would not be the same.
"It is hard talking about yourself. There are just so many people that deserve
kudos as much or more than I do. The fact that somebody nominated me,
I appreciate that greatly, but it's so much bigger than me. I'm just one small part,
and I'm glad to be a part of it," says Jackson.
"We're like a big family, and not just as far as the community, but he's very giving
for his team and understanding."
"He helps people all during the year.
It's not only that one day for smiles from the heart, we have people weekly,
who he loves to help out here in the office, and it is a spirit of giving,
and a spirit of charity that he has,
and also a spirit of community and strengthening community that I admire and I look up to
because I'm able to see that and project what i would like to be as well,"
While Jackson may see them as merely numbers he and his staff in their
fourth year of the program this year provided
73 thousand dollars worth of dental care to those he says have simply
fallen through the cracks.
"Just how many people over the years Dr. Jackson has helped, not only our patients in our office,
but in the community, especially with the smiles for the heart, but i do believe that many people are smiling bigger
because of Dr. Jackson."
For his service in bringing the smiles to the community, Dr. Eli Jackson is recognized as a
2014 Jefferson Award Nominee in Bowling Green.
His co-workers tell us it's not only projects like "Smiles From the Heart" and his work with the
"Commonwealth Health Free Clinic" that provide and example of service and leadership,
but his attitude everyday as they say he is always attempting to find new ways to help those
who need his services, but cannot afford them.
Now we bring you the story about a boy who started making a difference in
the lives of foster children a few years ago.
He turned what started as a simple school project into a non-profit
organization that's affecting children statewide.
Our Kristin Martin has the story of "Jefferson Award Youth Winner", Noah Jones.
When Noah Jones was just ten years old back in august of 2010. He started "A Case For Dignity."'
It's a non-profit organization that helps children entering into foster care get backpacks or duffel bags.
Proper pieces of luggage to pack their items in when they're removed from their homes.
"My parents have worked with foster kids before.
So, whenever they were taking the classes to become foster parents,
they had learned that whenever children are moved from their homes they
are given a trash bag to stuff their belongings in," Noah says.
Noah did not like the sound of that and imagined how the children must feel.
"I think that whenever they're giving them the trash bags, it makes those
children think that they and their stuff are trash.
So later on, I'm home schooled, so for a school project, my mom said that we
had to come up with a way to better our community.
So I came up with a case for dignity."
Fonda Walker has known Noah and his family for several years
and as a social worker whose worked with them since they started the foster care process.
She sees firsthand how big of an impact the bags have on the foster children.
"When children that I first meet come into foster care, lots of times they don't come with lots of things.
It was kind of an emergency situation and they weren't able to grab a
blanket or a teddy bear or something that comforts them."
Noah took it upon himself to raise an enormous number of bags and supplies
for these children to help them transition into foster care," says Fonda
When he first started he didn't know at the time a school project would turn
into something so big lasting four years.
"Our very first goal we were going to collect five bags.
That next weekend, five bags, got it.
The next weekend we tried to get 10 bags got the 10 bags immediately.
So we've kept raising our goal. So now every year we try to collect 500 bags each.
Every year that we've done it, we've been able to surpass that goal."
Since then, more than 6,000 foster children have received bags because of Noah.
"It makes a huge difference in these childrens' lives.
We hear about it from other children a few days later if they get to go back home or
if they are adopted.
Adoptive children have told us what helped us in the beginning was getting that
backpack and getting my own teddy bear to have when i went to bed that night
when i was a little scared, so what may seem like a small feat is not in the eyes of a child."'
"We think about Noah every day when we pass out these bags and what an impact
he has for our children and the state of Kentucky, because these bags have gone everywhere.
They've gone to Louisville.
They've gone to Covington.
They've gone to Paducah.
So what started off as a small project for him went statewide."
Noah has even inspired others to get on board with the organization and not just by donating backpacks,
"people have heard about it. They want to do something. We've got area schools making
handmade blankets of all sizes for all ages to go into these backpacks. We have people
that have donated their allowances at bag drives."
Because of that support Noah says he appreciates the community and their help has made,
"A Case For Dignity," the success it is today.
"Our community is great because anytime we've asked for things,
every time we've had our drive, we've had great feedback, everybody is wanting to help.
It's really been great.
I love our community.
Our community is really helpful with anything that we've needed."
Those in the community who know Noah see why he deserves the honor of the Jefferson Award.
"For an individual little guy in grade school doing something like that, it's amazing." Ray Flannery.
"it just speaks to the genuine heart that he has and will continue to have as an adult."
"I'm humbled and very happy and excited that this is actually getting out to everybody.
I'm really happy and humbled that lots of people were wanting to help me with this."
Because may is "National Foster care awareness month,"
That's when Noah says, "A Case For Dignity" has its largest drive.
However, they're always taking supplies.
So, if you'd like to help the organization out you can visit "acasefordignity.blogspot.com."
DR. BHARAT MODY:
A Barren County man who gives countless hours to his community continues to find ways to give back.
Kayla Vanover reports, Dr. Bharat Mody, a general surgeon who uses his expertise
to help others inside and outside of the exam room.
"He is one of the most compassionate and loving persons in regards to a friend that I've ever met."
"He's generous with his time and his money"
"He is so special"
"He's just a wonderful guy"
"Great community leader"
"He is just unbelievable"
A common theme is derived when one describes Dr. Bharat Mody of Glasgow, KY.
"I chose to make a difference for people and Barren County is the place
me and my wife are settled for the last thirty four years,
I'm a general surgeon by profession"
DR. MODY IS A RETIRED GENERAL SURGEON AFTER STRENGTHENING
HIS COMMUNITY FOR 33 YEARS.
EVEN AFTER USING HIS TALENTS FOR INCREDIBLE RECOVERIES,
DR. MODY STILL FINDS COUNTLESS WAYS TO SERVE HIS OTHERS AND
HELP MAKE EACH AND EVERYONE'S LIFE A LITTLE BIT EASIER.
"He is a fantastic man. he is so kind and generous and cares so much about people."
"He's very passionate about charities that help the basic needs that we all have.
Shelter, food, education and health"
COMMUNITY MEDICAL CARE OF GLASGOW CLAIMS DR. MODY AS ONE OF THEIR FOUNDERS.
HE DONATES HIS INCREDIBLE EXPERTISE AS A VOLUNTEER SURGEON.
HE IS AN AVID FUNDRAISER IN HELPING THE WORKING UNINSURED WITH THEIR
HEALTH CARE ALONG WITH PROVIDING ASSISTANCE TO
SENIORS WITH THEIR PRESCRIPTION MEDICINES.
FOR THREE YEARS, DR.MODY SHARED HIS GIFTS AS A VOLUNTEER SURGEON AT
SURGERY ON SUNDAYS IN LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY.
DR. MODY HELPS ORGANIZE THROW AWAY MEDICAL SUPPLIES FROM HOSPITALS
AND SEND THEM OVERSEAS THROUGH MED SHARE.
"For education he has the childrens' day that he started three years ago,
this will be the third year this year and it's raised thousands of dollars to help local kids with basic needs."
"It gives kids the opportunity to come together and do a musical performance at the plaza theater,
the wonderful theater we have and all the proceeds benefit children in need.
it is a yearly event and it all came about as a result of his vision to help children in our community."
DR. MODY HAS ESTABLISHED SCHOLARSHIPS TO
OUR LOCAL COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES.
HE'S PROVIDED A MINORITY SCHOLARSHIP,
A SURGICAL TECH SCHOLARSHIP AND CENTER FOR
GIFTED STUDENTS SCHOLARSHIP AT WKU.
HIS GENEROSITY HAS ALSO LED HIM TO TEACH SURGICAL
NURSING AT SKY-CTC FOR THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS.
"He's interested in all aspect of medicine.
You can ask him anything and if he doesn't know then he knows someone to ask and he will."
"With shelter, he volunteers with the habitat for humanity.he started the restore here in
Glasgow that helps fund the habitat for humanity here locally."
WHEN DR. MODY SAW A NEED FOR EXTRA FUNDS FOR
HABITAT HE STARTED HOSTING A DINNER AT
HIS HOME INVITING HIS FRIENDS AND ASKING FOR CONTRIBUTIONS.
THE DINNER RAISES AROUND 4,000 EACH YEAR.
"If he tells you he will meet you somewhere at a certain time he is there."
"For the food drive,
the brim food drive has been around for about 5 or 6 years and it
keep our local pantry at the community relief, filled."
"He is someone that is always looking out for others. trying to see a need that is going unmet.
He gets in there and kind of leads from the front. it inspires and motivates other people to join him."
"And how he has done everything he has done, i know people won't even believe it."
"More needs to be done. If we can all join hands and do it together to make a difference then we can"
"He's the type of leader that he doesn't say you go and do this, but lets go and do this."
"I'm so happy that we have him here in our community.
He is a perfect example of what community is all about.
He expects no thanks.
He just sees a need and thinks well this is how we're going to fix it."
"This is what I'm doing here.
At the same time I've kept contact with my village people,
my town people in India.
I make a trip to India every year and see what they need.
Here I am personally involved looking after the four charities I am helping.
In India I'm involved more financially to help them with the schools,
the school supplies and some of the blind foundation camps and all that.
"Dr. Mody can get a group of people together
he can kind of motivate you and inspire you to want to do more
than what you've ever done before. he is just a true inspiration to us all. "
"One word describes Dr. Mody and its alterism.
He has an unselfish dedication working to benefit others in his community."
"It's not just about making a financial contribution people can also donate their services,
they can donate their time. they can donate their knowledge, donate their skill
there are different ways we can make a difference in our community.
"I wish we had ten more like him.
I always joke because he shows up at my
office and says i have another idea, lets start working on it."
Dr. Mody is a role model and simply succeeds when
striving to make this community a better place to live.
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As we leave you we'd like you to remember our "Jefferson Award" recipients do not volunteer their time for the recognition.
They do it to help their community.
- We'd also like to give a special thanks to our partner the park city daily news.