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Nelsonville Native Mary K. Walsh Recognized for Her Contributions to the Community

Foundation for Appalachian Ohio Pays Tribute to Legacies and the 
Opportunities Created at Legacy Reception


Mary K. Walsh, FAO’s 2015 Outstanding Volunteer, accepts her award at A Celebration of Legacy at Stuart’s Opera House in Nelsonville on September 24, 2015. 

Nelsonville, OH – Last night at the historic Stuart’s Opera House on Nelsonville’s Public Square, the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO) paid tribute to the legacies FAO honors and the opportunities they create. The Foundation’s mission – to create opportunities for Appalachian Ohio’s citizens and communities by inspiring and supporting philanthropy – would not be possible without the people and the legacies that FAO funds honor and the opportunities made possible by those funds. This work would not be possible without dedicated volunteers. This year, the Foundation was excited to celebrate its 2015 Outstanding Volunteer, Mary K. Walsh.

“We are so lucky to have someone like Mary K. who is so willing to give of her time and talents in service to the Foundation,” said Cara Dingus Brook, president and CEO of the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio. “Mary K. has given so much to our Foundation through her time on our scholarship committee and her vision for sharing our mission through the windows of our historic building on the Square. She is a true testament to the difference one individual can make.”

Ms. Walsh, a Nelsonville native and a graduate of the former Nelsonville High School, received the 2015 Outstanding Volunteer award for her assistance on the scholarship committee reviewing applications from talented students throughout the region as well as her efforts to beautify the FAO offices. Ms. Walsh spearheaded FAO’s window displays in the former Peoples Bank building on Nelsonville’s Public Square. She installed seating and lighting reminiscent of the building’s former purpose, harkening back to when it was first built. She also installed spotlights on major first floor landmarks, including the bank vault door, a highlight for all who visit the Foundation’s offices.

During the holiday season, to coincide with North Pole Nelsonville, an annual holiday celebration on the Square, Ms. Walsh and longtime friend Karen Pidock installed vintage toy displays and other holiday-themed décor to delight and garner the attention of passersby.

“Though I spent much of my adult life in Columbus, my heart never left Nelsonville and Appalachian Ohio,” stated 2015 Outstanding Volunteer awardee, Mary K Walsh. “I am so grateful for the opportunity the Foundation has presented me to further develop the Public Square and expose others from throughout the state to all the region has to offer.”

Reflecting Ms. Walsh’s service on the Foundation’s scholarship committee, two scholarship recipients, John Barba, II and Ruby Williams, spoke about the impact of the scholarships they received from the Foundation. Speaking to the audience gathered at Stuart’s, both noted how the scholarships they received from the Foundation and those who established them made their pursuit of higher education possible and how it pushes them to pay it forward in the region they call home.

The celebration also honored the 2015 Jenco Foundation Fund Award recipients for their leadership in the service of others throughout Appalachian Ohio. 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. A video highlighting this year’s honorees, in addition to the legacy of Father Lawrence Martin Jenco, for whom the award is named, premiered at the event and can be viewed on the Foundation’s website,

In addition to honoring service throughout the region, attendees enjoyed a performance by ADU Proyecto Universal, a Peruvian performance group that utilizes dance, music, and percussion to create performance art. The group leads outreach programs to at-risk youth in the Lima, Peru. ADU Proyecto Universal’s performances were made possible by a grant from the McClelland Fund at the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio.

Through its mission, FAO supports communities across five areas essential to community and regional quality of life. Called the Pillars of Prosperity, these areas include arts and culture, community and economic development, education, environmental stewardship, and health and human services.

For more information about how you can volunteer with the Foundation and cement your own legacy in our region, 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