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Jenco Awards celebrate six Appalachian Ohio residents for service to others; nominations open for 2023 awards

2023 Jenco Award nominations being accepted through June 27

NELSONVILLE, Ohio – Six Appalachian Ohio residents were honored for their service to others during a May 16 ceremony at the Zenner House in Athens, hosted by the Jenco Foundation and the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio.

The Jenco Awards were established to recognize individuals who have devoted themselves to direct, caring action that contributes to quality of life in Appalachian Ohio. The most recent honorees – David Butcher, Jane Cavarozzi, Kyle Johnson, Therese Fieler Lackey, Dr. Logan Minter and Melissa O’Harra Brown – join more than 75 previous Jenco Award winners, dating back to 2002.

“Each of these individuals has made a unique difference in the lives of others. They are pillars of their communities whose selfless service has and will continue to lift up the people and places they care for so passionately,” said Jack Wright of the Jenco Foundation committee.

The Jenco Foundation and the Jenco Awards uphold the legacy of Father Lawrence Martin Jenco, a Roman Catholic priest who dedicated his life to the service of others. In 1985, Father Jenco was kidnapped while serving as the director of Catholic Relief Services in Lebanon and spent 19 months in captivity. Even in confinement, Father Jenco continued to serve, providing a listening ear for other detainees, including journalist Terry Anderson. In 2001, Anderson founded the Jenco Foundation to honor the legacy of his friend. In 2011, the Jenco Foundation joined the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio as an endowment, ensuring that Father Jenco’s legacy would live on in perpetuity.

The Jenco Awards recognize individuals of all ages in Appalachian Ohio who, like Father Jenco, have made a difference through community service and visionary leadership. The 2022 recipients, nominated by fellow community members, are some of the region’s service superstars.

David Butcher of Athens County is a local historian who has tirelessly and passionately worked to uncover, preserve and share his family’s legacy and the rich history of African Americans in his community and throughout Appalachian Ohio. He is the creator of the Tablertown People of Color Museum, a self-sustaining museum dedicated to African American history.

Jane Cavarozzi of Athens County is the founder of Dirty Girl Coffee, a champion for the Glouster community and an advocate for women’s economic progress in Appalachian Ohio and beyond. She is a founding member and board president of the Glouster Revitalization Organization, a founding board member of the Ohio Women’s Coalition and a board member of the Athens County Foundation.

Kyle Johnson of Muskingum County is a local organizer focused on equity and inclusion in the Zanesville area who has spearheaded several community events in recent years. While still in high school, he founded Voice of the Youth, an organization dedicated to giving young people an opportunity to express their hopes for their community in a safe, inclusive space.

Therese Fieler Lackey of Athens County is program director and board president for the Federal Valley Resource Center who tirelessly works to bring arts, culture and basic needs assistance to her community. In addition to leading the establishment of the center’s music program, she has been instrumental in envisioning and supporting new and creative ways to enhance the community’s well-being.  

Dr. Logan Minter of Pike County is an associate professor of biology at Shawnee State University and a volunteer who has given his time, expertise and passion to projects and organizations throughout Scioto County. His leading-by-doing service has impacted everything from local arts and educational programming to the environment and wellness initiatives.

Melissa O’Harra Brown of Hocking County founded the Hope Blooms Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to drug prevention and education that has been a source of wide-ranging support to people in the local community and beyond. She is leading the conservation of 42 acres for a nature preserve where children and the greater community can find solace and healing while enjoying the outdoors.

“We are proud to partner with the Jenco Foundation to bring these champions of our region and their good works into the well-deserved spotlight,” said Cara Dingus Brook, FAO president and CEO. “The love these individuals show through their service and leadership is what makes our communities such wonderful places to live, work and visit. Their purpose-filled lives are an inspiration to us all.”

Nominations being accepted for the 2023 Jenco Awards

Do you know someone in Appalachian Ohio who goes above and beyond to improve the lives of others? The Jenco Foundation is seeking nominations for the 2023 Jenco Awards now through June 27.

Nominations are encouraged across areas essential to quality of life: arts and culture, community and economic development, education, environmental stewardship, and health and human services. Nomination forms and additional information are available at

For more information about the Jenco Foundation, the Jenco Awards, the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio and how you can support the people, places and future of the region, visit, email or call 740.753.1111.