Character Council Names 2018 Heroes Of Character

Six students and five adults were honored at a fundraising banquet on October 25.

Student heroes (left to right): Allyson Klei, Dylan Ragan, Ben Zahneis, Landyn Bomar and John Meer. Photo provided. 

(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – Eleven individuals for in or around Eagle Country have been tabbed as Heroes of Character.

The Character Council, which severs Greater Cincinnati, northern Kentucky and southeast Indiana, held the 7th Annual Heroes of Character Awards fundraising dinner on October 25 at the Lawrenceburg Event Center.

This year's honorees included six students and five adults. 

The six student heroes are Allyson Klei (Franklin County HS), Dylan Ragan (South Ripley HS), Ben Zahneis (Oak Hills HS), Landyn Bomar (Cherokee Elementary), Curtis Schutte (Hamilton HS) and John Meer (St. Louis School in Batesville).

Adult heroes are Lisa Baudendistel, Jane Yorn, Sue Manford, Peter Engelhard and Katie Ryan.

Adult heroes (left to right): Lisa Baudendistel, Jane Yorn, Sue Manford, Peter Engelhard and Katie Ryan. Photo provided. 

Each honoree were presented with an artistic painted glass award. 

“Through their exemplary lives and storied careers, they demonstrate outstanding models of leadership, integrity, and courage in the face of adversity,” said Jacqueline Schmucki, Character Council Executive Director. “The six Students of Character inspire so many with their genuine goodness, caring and generosity,”

According to The Character Council, the event drew a record attendance of over 230 people and raised $34,000 to promote good character throughout schools, businesses and organizations in the district.

Bio's for the individuals from southeast Indiana are provided below:

  • Sue Manford of Dearborn County is a retired teacher and community leader from Southeast Indiana. She became coordinator of the Alzheimer’s Association after losing her mother to the disease, and took over her brother’s role in the Salvation Army Red Kettle drive when he lost his battle to cancer. She exhibits commitment, faith and compassion. She used her talents while working tirelessly to ensure that the legacy created by her brother successfully continued.
  • Laurel Elementary Principal Lisa Baudendistel goes above and beyond for her students and staff on a daily basis, putting them above her own well-being. She was instrumental in initiation the Capturing Kids Hearts program centered on making all students feel loved and valued. Last year she was placed on a transplant list for a new kidney, but still made herself available for writing grants, afterschool activities and transporting the Robotics team to the world competition in Louisville. Her good news is she is recovering after receiving the generous gift of a new kidney in August.” She too was present at the ceremony along with her husband, family members and some Laurel school staff.
  • Jane Yorn of Batesville is the face and heart of Safe Passage. Over 21 years ago, she and two friends discovered there were limited resources in Southeast Indiana for their friend, a domestic violence victim. It was through her vision, perseverance and dedication that Safe Passage evolved. Since its inception more than 14,000 individuals have been served through the outreach services in six counties. Her commitment has led the nonprofit to be the first state cohort to provide prevention programming. Just this year, Safe Passage was awarded a state grant to create Safe Place, a Sexual Assault Crisis Center.
  • Allyson Klei, the daughter of Missie and Brian Klei, is an active member of St. Peter United Church of Christ and touches the lives of the congregation with her dedication and spirit. She has a rare form of Down syndrome and has overcome many obstacles in her life, and graduated with honors from FCHS. She was instrumental in getting the Unified Track Team started at the high school, is a champion and volunteer for Special Olympics and continues to make herself available at church events. She is currently a freshman at Wright University, and attended the event with her parents and grandparents, the Koch’s. She was nominated by Pastor Kathi Elliott.
  • John Meer, an 8th grader at St. Louis School in Batesville, was also recognized as a student hero, He has the ability to fix things with his hands however uses his heart to carve a special place in the lives of the students and teachers at St. Louis School. One of 9 children and the son of Kip and Nancy Meer, not only does he volunteer to do maintenance work for teachers, but also reads to students and helps them solve math problems.
  • Dylan Ragan is a senior at South Ripley High School and exemplifies courage, determination and motivation to be the best he can be while helping others do the same. He has had to work hard to overcome the negative impact of having delayed communication skills, including stuttering. He created 20 videos and 7 presentations to dispel the myths that surround stuttering. His parents were present for the award, as was SR Supt. Rob Moorhead and teacher Sherry Biddle who nominated him.
  • Nancy Ray, formerly of Dearborn County, was presented the first ever John F. Pierce award for her assistance in founding the Character Council.





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