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News & Happenings

2015 Jenco Awards Honor Service and Leadership

Six Awardees from Five Counties Uphold the Legacy
of Father Lawrence Martin Jenco

IMG_22902015 Jenco Foundation Fund Award recipients and members of the Jenco Foundation Fund Committee pose together following A Celebration of Legacy at Stuart’s Opera House in Nelsonville. From left to right, Melody Sands, Jenco Committee member; Sharon Hatfield, Jenco Committee member; Nancy Sams, 2015 Jenco Award recipient; Jack Wright, Jenco Committee member; Margaret Fredericks, 2015 Jenco Award recipient; Jodie Hunt, 2015 Jenco Award recipient; Iva Sisson, 2015 Jenco Award recipient; Bill Crawford, 2015 Jenco Award recipient; and Carolyn Fisk, Jenco Committee member. Not pictured, Donna Sue Groves, 2015 Jenco Award recipient. 

Nelsonville, OH – The Jenco Foundation Fund and the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO) are privileged to announce the 2015 Jenco Award recipients. Recognized last night at FAO’s Celebration of Legacy reception in Nelsonville, this year’s recipients include Bill Crawford of Columbiana County, Margaret Fredericks of Washington County, Donna Sue Groves of Adams County, Jodie Hunt of Lawrence County, Nancy Sams of Washington County, and Iva Sisson of Meigs County.

The Jenco Foundation Fund and its annual award are named for Father Lawrence Martin Jenco, a longtime Roman Catholic priest who gave generously of himself to serve others throughout his life. Most notably, Father Jenco’s service took him to Lebanon in the 1980s to serve as director of Catholic Relief Services. While serving as director, he was kidnapped in 1985. During his 19 months in captivity, Father Jenco continued to serve others, providing a necessary listening ear to others being detained, including fellow detainee, journalist Terry Anderson. After his release, Father Jenco returned to ministry, providing outreach to underserved groups until his death in 1996. Mr. Anderson created the Jenco Foundation in 2001 to continue Father Jenco’s legacy of compassion and giving to others.

Since 2002 the Jenco Awards have recognized visionary leadership in the service of others throughout Appalachian Ohio. Nominated by fellow community members who witness their service and visionary leadership in action, Jenco Award honorees are selected through a competitive selection process and committee review. Jenco Award recipients receive an individual cash award to use in the manner most appropriate to their leadership.

“The Jenco Awardees are all shining examples of what each of us can do if we decide to make a difference in our communities,” said Sharon Hatfield, Jenco Foundation Fund Committee Member. “Together, they show us how arts and culture, community development, human services, and education are vital to the people of Appalachian Ohio and our region’s quality of life.”

This year’s honorees include:

Bill Crawford of Columbiana County is the Founder and Executive Director of the Team Mojo Foundation. The Team Mojo Foundation serves schools in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia to provide resources to support student experiences like sports, dances, camps, field trips, and music lessons they would not otherwise receive. Through his work to lead the Team Mojo Foundation as a volunteer, Mr. Crawford makes sure kids are able to experience childhood and its rites of passage.

Margaret Fredericks of Washington County is a longtime teacher who saw the need her students had for extra homework help and a place to go after school. Informal meetings on her front porch expanded rapidly to become what is today the Boys & Girls Club of Washington County in Marietta. Ms. Fredericks and her commitment to encouraging the young people in her county led the charge to create a community center in Marietta.

Donna Sue Groves of Adams County received a 2015 Jenco Award for her efforts to share Appalachian Ohio arts throughout the state and the country. Most notably, as a tribute to her mother, a longtime quilt maker, Ms. Groves provided the vision and leadership for the Quilt Barn Trail. Started in Appalachian Ohio, the Quilt Barn Trail has spread throughout 45 states and three Canadian provinces.

Jodie Hunt of Lawrence County had it in her heart to make sure that no child goes hungry when not at school. Ms. Hunt now does just that as the Director of Backpack Buddies. Backpack Buddies provides weekend meals for over 250 students who might otherwise go without meals. Through partnerships with area schools in Lawrence County as well as Campbell Chapel, Ms. Hunt is able to provide weekend meals to students in addition to an emergency food pantry for area residents.

Nancy Sams of Washington County knows how important history is to Appalachian Ohioans. As such, she has made the Belpre Historical Society one of her life’s passions. Ms. Sams spearheaded the fundraising efforts to expand the Belpre Historical Society’s museum footprint and expose Belpre residents of all ages to its rich history. Because of her leadership, Belpre’s history will be preserved for future generations.

Iva Sisson of Meigs County heard from her granddaughter that many of her fellow students didn’t have computers to do their homework. When she heard this, she knew she needed to do something about it. Through Computers for Students, Ms. Sisson collected, refurbished, and disseminated nearly 250 used computers to students throughout Meigs County who just wanted to do better in school.

Please join the Foundation in honoring and recognizing the visionary leadership of everyday Appalachian Ohioans in the service of others. Videos highlighting our 2015 and past Jenco Award recipients can be found here.

If you know someone who goes above and beyond the call of duty in service of others, please nominate that individual for the 2016 Jenco Foundation Fund Awards. The nomination window opens annually in the spring. Sign up for the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio’s e-newsletter at or follow FAO on Facebook to hear when the call for 2016 nominations is released. For additional information about the Jenco Foundation and the award that honors Father Lawrence Martin Jenco, please visit or call 740.753.1111.

About the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio

The Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO) is a regional community foundation serving the 32 counties of Appalachian Ohio. A 501(c)(3) public charity, the Foundation creates opportunities for Appalachian Ohio’s citizens and communities by inspiring and supporting philanthropy. For more information about FAO, visit