September 4, 2015

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2007 Jefferson Awards

About the Jefferson Award for Public Service 

FACT SHEET: The South Central Kentucky Jefferson Awards 

How to Nominate Someone for the Jefferson Award 

About the Jefferson Award for Public Service

These are some frequently asked questions about the Jefferson Awards for Public Service.

What are the Jefferson Awards?

The Jefferson Awards are a prestigious national recognition system honoring community and public service in America. The Jefferson Awards are presented on two levels: national and local.

What is the mission of the Jefferson Awards?

The mission of the Jefferson Awards is to encourage and honor individuals for their achievements and contributions through public and community service.

FACT SHEET: The South Central Kentucky Jefferson Awards

The Jefferson Awards were founded in 1972 to honor the highest ideals and achievements in the field of public service in the United States. This prestigious national honor recognizes individuals throughout the country performing great public service, but largely without recognition. The awards are given by the American Institute for Public Service, which is located in Washington, D.C.

Background on the National Organization and Awards

Who Sponsors It?

The American Institute for Public Service, Washington, D.C., nationally with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Senator Robert Taft, Jr., as Co-Founders; Samuel S. Beard, a former associate of the late Senator Robert Kennedy, is president. One hundred forty-five newspapers and television stations from Maine to Hawaii act as local media sponsors.

In How Many Categories is the Award Given?

Five, but it is only in the fifth, "Outstanding Public Service Benefiting Local Communities" that the local sponsors become involved. The other four national categories are as follows: "Greatest Public Service Performed by an Elected or Appointed Official", "Greatest Public Service Performed by a Private Citizen", "Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged", and "Greatest Public Service by an Individual Thirty-Five Years or Under".

How are the National Winners Selected?

A prestigious Board of Nominators nominates the winners in the four national categories. This Board is comprises of over 200 distinguished individuals from all 50 states. They include governors, mayors, university presidents, corporate leaders, heads of social service organizations, and representatives of other organizations.

In addition, the American Institute's Board of Selectors submit names for consideration. Finalists are selected and winners are voted by ballot by the Institute's Board of Selectors. The Board consists of some 75 of the nation's most distinguished leaders, with a proportionate number from each geographic area of the United States. The members range widely in age, occupation, and point of view, representing the diversity and individualism, which distinguish the American character and tradition. Among those who have served on the Board: Hank Aaron, Senators John Heinz and Terry Sanford, Patricia Carbine, Earl Graves, Andrew Wyeth, Winthrop Rockefeller, Roger Horchow, Jack Valenti, Kirk Douglas, and Neil Simon. This Board selects the recipients in the four national categories as well as the five national winners in the fifth category.

Background on the Local Awards

How Can I Nominate Someone in the Local Category?

By filling out a form provided by either of the local media sponsors (WBKO Television or Daily News), detailing why you think someone performing a significant, but unrecognized, public service should be considered.

In What Areas, For Example?

Such areas include individuals helping senior citizens, children, the disadvantaged, and mentally retarded; or improving education, culture, health care and the environment, expanding recreation, promoting public safety, and so on.

Must They Be Volunteers?

They can be volunteers, or paid employees. No age limit.

How About Elected Officials?

Elected officials or well-known individuals are NOT eligible due to the fact that they already receive significant recognition.

Geographical Limitations?

Anyone in the viewing/circulation area is eligible.

Any Limitations in the Nomination Letter?

They can be any length up to 300 words. They can be typed or written in longhand. No "points" are given for the style (not an essay contest).

Where Do I Send It?

Barbara Powell • Jefferson Awards Coordinator • WBKO • P.O. Box 13000 • Bowling Green, KY 42102

Mary Gaines (or Melissa Miller) • Jefferson Awards Coordinator • Daily News • P.O. Box 90012 • Bowling Green, KY 42102-9012


The deadline is February 20, 2007.

Entry Fee?


How Many Local Persons Will Be Selected?


Each local winner will receive a bronze medallion, which features a replica of the United States on the front and a citation for Outstanding Public Service on the reverse. The Franklin Mint donates the medallions as a public service. Each winner will then be eligible for a national Jefferson Award (a gold medallion or silver) to be awarded in June in the chambers of the United States Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. In addition, one winner from each of the media sponsors will also be selected to travel, all expenses paid, to Washington, D.C. to participate in the national ceremony and to attend a dinner.

The national web site,, was the main source of information for this page of information.

How to Nominate Someone for the Jefferson Award

Do you have a relative, a friend or a co-worker who is having an impact in your local community? In every neighborhood there are "Unsung Heroes" - volunteers who are not paid as well as paid professionals who are going well beyond their expected duties.

The nomination process is simple. Fill in the name, address, and telephone number of both your nominee and yourself as the nominator. Write a brief, passionate, compelling story about the nominee. Then highlight how the person's actions benefit the lives of others and the local community. That's it.

Click here to view the 2007 Jefferson Award nomination form.


Any nomination should address two simple issues:

Outstanding public service.

Here is an ordinary individual performing outstanding public service. This individual stands out for taking extra steps. The individual acts were "outstanding." "unique." "heroic."

Community impact. Helping others.

Beside the heroic acts of the individual, the individual has positively impacted the community. The acts of this individual helped many of others. Look at the change or improvement that this individual was responsible for while addressing important issues facing the community.


Volunteers vs. paid professionals.

Eligibility includes volunteers and paid professionals who are going well above and beyond their job description. "Unsung" means not normally in the media.