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2016 Jenco Awards Recognize Visionary Leadership in Appalachian Ohio

Seven Awardees from Six Counties Recognized for Their Service to Others

Jackson, OHUnder the lights of the historic Markay Cultural Arts Center in Jackson, Ohio, the Jenco Foundation Fund and the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO) announced the 2016 Jenco Award recipients. Honored at FAO’s annual Celebration of Legacy, this year’s honorees include Robin Bozian of Washington County, Becky Cropper of Brown County, Carl Felger of Carroll County, Kari Gunter-Seymour Peterson of Athens County, Amy Hill of Athens County, Linda Lake of Muskingum County, and Barbara Summers of Jackson County.

The Jenco Foundation Fund and its annual award are named for Father Lawrence Martin Jenco, a 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 for 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 formal committee process and review. Jenco Award recipients receive an individual cash award to use in the manner most appropriate to their leadership.

“This year’s Jenco Awardees are a group of people who give so selflessly to their communities to make them better places to live,” said Carolyn Fisk, a member of the Jenco Foundation Fund committee. “They are living examples of what Father Jenco envisioned all those years ago, everyday people doing extraordinary things.”

This year’s honorees include:

Robin Bozian of Washington County has spent her adult life going above and beyond in her role as managing attorney with Southeastern Ohio Legal Services. For nearly 40 years, she has passionately worked to address family and domestic violence not only in the region, but throughout Ohio. Ms. Bozian also spearheaded the creation of a free medical and legal clinic in Marietta to provide necessary resources for local citizens.

Becky Cropper of Brown County has spent her career serving Brown County citizens, especially youth. In her 33 years with OSU Extension, she helped students develop leadership skills, including her efforts to develop the 4-H Carteens program, which has since expanded throughout Ohio. After retiring from OSU Extension, she stepped in to lead the 40 Developmental Assets® program for the Brown County Educational Service Center to ensure that students develop the skills they need to be productive citizens.

Carl Felger of Carroll County was recognized for a lifetime of service to his Minerva community. At age 96, Mr. Felger has always lent a helping hand to his neighbors, completing projects around the community that might not otherwise get done. Inspired by his service in World War II, Mr. Felger has helped his local community by leading his local American Legion and serving others through his church, particularly through a food pantry that delivers nutritious produce and food to people in surrounding communities.

Kari Gunter-Seymour Peterson of Athens County created the Women of Appalachia Project, an art show geared towards female artists. The Women of Appalachia Project is an opportunity for female artists in different mediums and different levels of experience to participate in an art show in a more affordable and supportive environment. While the Project started in Athens County, it has since expanded not only within Appalachian Ohio, but to other Appalachian states.

Amy Hill of Athens County was inspired to create the Coolville Cares program after a student at a class party continuously opted for bananas over ice cream. The Coolville Cares program provides nutritious food to students at Coolville Elementary who might not otherwise have enough to eat over weekends and long breaks. The program serves at least 60 students at Coolville Elementary and other schools in the Federal Hocking School District have been inspired to adopt similar programs.

Linda Lake of Muskingum County answered a call to establish the Breaking Free Therapeutic Riding Center in Norwich. Using equine therapy as a way to improve cognitive, physical, and emotional well-being, the Breaking Free Therapeutic Riding Center offers programming to children with disabilities, at-risk youth, and veterans, often at little to no cost for participants.

Barbara Summers of Jackson County took on the project of a lifetime when she restored the historic Markay Theatre in Jackson. Embarking on a 20-year project, Ms. Summers led a team of local citizens to restore the theatre into a cultural arts center for Jackson and the entire region. A career in theatre led Ms. Summers to Jackson, and she has been advocating for the arts in the county and region ever since.

Please join the Foundation in honoring and recognizing the visionary leadership of everyday Appalachian Ohioans in their service of others. More information about this year’s and past recipients can be found on the Foundation’s website,

If you know someone who goes above and beyond to serve others, please nominate that individual for the 2017 Jenco Foundation Fund Awards. The nomination window opens annually in the spring. Sign up for the FAO’s e-newsletter at or follow FAO on Facebook to hear when the call for 2017 nominations is open. 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