Press release from the Dearborn Community Foundation
(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) - The Dearborn Community Foundation, Inc. (DCF) honored four community volunteers as 2010 recipients of the “Heart of Gold Award.”
Dearborn Community Foundation 2010 Heart of
Gold recipients from left to right are: Sally Bender,
Greg Townsend, Nancy Gerber and Kim Weber.
The Heart of Gold recipients were recognized for touching the hearts of others through their volunteerism and other acts of kindness. “These honorees deserve this recognition for making a difference in our community in their own unique ways,” said Fred McCarter, Executive Director of the Dearborn Community Foundation. “They are all role models for how all of us can make a difference in our community.”
Each of the four Heart of Gold honorees, nominated by others in the community and then chosen as Heart of Gold recipients by a Foundation committee, were given the privilege to serve on the “Heart of Gold Committee” to award a total of $2,500 in proactive grants to charitable organizations that serve Dearborn County residents.
In recent years, Heart of Gold recipients have been recognized for helping senior citizens or disadvantaged persons, working to improve the quality of education, expanding recreational or cultural opportunities, working with children, protecting the environment, promoting public safety and other acts of kindness.
This year’s honorees are Sally Bender, Nancy Gerber, Gregory Townsend, and Kimberly Weber.
Heart of Gold Honorees’ Stories
Sally Bender of Dillsboro: She is a high school guidance counselor at South Dearborn who goes above and beyond her job. She is a former member of the board of directors for Dearborn County Citizens Against Substance Abuse (CASA). Donna Thacker of CASA nominated this honoree due to her willingness to lead the way in getting Dearborn County youth involved in CASA’s efforts to fight substance abuse. Bender volunteered to be the sponsor of South Dearborn’s Chapter of SADD, (Students Against Destructive Decisions), and led the group to become one of the finest chapters in the state. She also played a major role in making CASA’s Youth Summit in Dearborn County addressing substance abuse a great success. Bender also helped bring to life the recently formed Dearborn County CASA Youth Ambassadors program. She has agreed to be the sponsor for the organization without any compensation. This group is youth led with 15 high school students, five from each of the three area high schools. She organized the SADD Buddy program at South Dearborn in which high school students present fourth-grade classes with drug, alcohol and tobacco prevention information. Bender leads by example and has inspired youth to become involved in their community. She is a champion of letting youth have a voice while helping them find the right voice.
Nancy Gerber of Aurora: As a teacher (since 1973) at South Dearborn High School, she’s been a cheerleading coach, class advisor, Sunshine Society Advisor and Student Government Advisor. She also volunteers for PTO carnivals, college fairs and other events and programs. Gerber has organized dozens of community service activities for students. Just to name a few, she organized student community service activities for the Dearborn County Clearing House for Emergency Aid, Salvation Army bell ringers, Ronald McDonald House fundraising, Valentines for local nursing homes, clean up at Aurora City Park, Relay for Life, and Dollars for Scholars fundraisers. She is usually present during the community service activities, volunteering alongside the students. In 2004 and 2005, Bender completed her volunteer activities even while undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments for cancer. Debbie Busching, who nominated this honoree, said she appreciates the lessons her two children learned from Bender during their days in school. Students learn from Bender how to make a difference in their community. This honoree’s passion for being involved and making a difference has inspired hundreds and hundreds of students and others to follow in her footsteps and give back to the communities in which they live.
Gregory Townsend of Aurora: He has touched hearts in Dearborn County for more than 17 years through Special Olympics Indiana by volunteering in many ways. According to his father, Gary Townsend, who nominated him, this honoree does not ask for or receive anything in return for his many volunteer hours for Special Olympics. Before he asked for permission in 2005 to be the first Delegation Coordinator of Ripley, Ohio and Dearborn counties, parents had to transport their athletes out of the area to practice or to compete. More than 160 athletes and more than 110 certified volunteers now have a local coordinator in Dearborn County. The Winter Games for Special Olympics Indiana had never been held in Dearborn County until Townsend’s efforts to bring them to Perfect North Slopes were fruitful. He has played a major role along with many other volunteers who touch the hearts of Special Olympians and their parents in Ripley, Ohio and Dearborn counties. Thanks to these volunteers the athletes have the opportunity to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.
Kimberly Weber of West Harrison: She is a former educator and school board member at Sunman-Dearborn Community School Corporation. She was nominated by Jeani Rademacher, who says Weber has always been a true advocate for children of all ages. This honoree’s dedication to being the best school board member she can be is just a small part of the many hours she spends volunteering her time for children and others. Weber is a member of Dearborn Hills United Methodist Church where she has served on several committees, managed the nursery program, helped with youth groups and went on mission trips with others from the church. There is never hesitation when she is asked to serve our community. She has served as Bright Community Festival volunteer and parent volunteer for a variety of school activities. Weber was an active member of North Dearborn Elementary Parent Teacher Organization and served as president, vice-president and treasurer for 10 years. She also spent six years as a Girl Scout leader and three years as Co-Director of Hidden Hills Girl Scout Day Camp. Additionally, she has volunteered as a coach in the North Dearborn Recreational League and for the Harrison Soccer Association along with volunteering for the Special Olympics and judging for the Dearborn County 4-H & Community Fair. Weber is a wonderful example for others to follow when it comes to volunteering to make our community a better place to live and to help to enhance the education and opportunities of young people.