Four volunteers nominated for Janet Clemmons Community Service Award

Four individuals who have volunteered countless hours to help low-income families in Butler County have been nominated for the 2013 Janet Clemmons Community Service Award.

The nominees have fed the hungry, completed home repairs and mobility improvements, organized community events, raised money for good causes, empowered residents, mentored low-income youth, volunteered in schools and left their communities a better place to live, said Jeffrey Diver, executive director of Supports to Encourage Low-income Families (SELF) which presents the award annually in memory of its founder.

Diver called the nominees “a powerful group” and said the “depth of service in our community continues” to be impressive.

“Butler County is rich with resources for people who need help and hope,” he said.

All nominees will receive recognition at SELF’s 17th annual dinner where the winner of the 2013 Janet Clemmons Community Service Award will be announced. The award is given annually in memory of Janet Clemmons who founded SELF in 1995.

The nominees are: Howard and Judy Dirksen of Fairfield, founders of the Fairfield Food Pantry; Elaine Garver of Monroe, a community volunteer and the development officer for the Middletown Community Foundation; and Butch Hubble of Hamilton, chair of the Hamilton Community Council where he organizes the community and advocates on behalf of low-income families.

Howard and Judy Dirksen have been nominated as a team, which Diver said, is fitting because both are best known for their work as founding members of the Fairfield Food Pantry.

Howard served on the committee that founded SELF and served as an original board member. His contributions to the Fairfield community include: serving on Fairfield City Council where he addressed quality of life issues; founding the Fairfield Community Connection Group for families, seniors, and youth; and starting the Fairfield Community Foundation. Judy spends many hours each week fundraising, promoting and coordinating the food pantry. She also serves on the Fairfield Women organization that donates to many agencies serving Butler County.

Garver is past president of the Middletown Rotary Club, serves on the Governing Board of the Butler County Educational Service Center, the Advisory Board for the YWCA’s Girls Inc., Butler County Developmental Disabilities CAT (Community Action Team) and the Monroe Area Community Foundation. She has also given countless hours to the United Way of Greater Cincinnati-Middletown Area as a board member, campaign speaker and chairwoman for the Women Living United Initiative helping better prepare children for kindergarten through the Imagination Library program for preschool children. She also founded the Patient Representative Program at the Middletown Regional Hospital (now Atrium Medical Center) to make sure patients were treated with respect and dignity and was instrumental in initiating the volunteer program for adults with special needs.

Hubble is a true community volunteer, donating his time and leadership talents to many organizations, causes and projects in Hamilton, Diver said.

He returned to his hometown of Hamilton after serving in the armed forces and as a law enforcement officer. As a trustee of the Hamilton Community Foundation, the chair of the Hamilton Community Council, and active member of the Hamilton Vision Commission, Hubble keeps the needs of low income residents in the forefront, garnering widespread support to create real, positive change, Diver said. From volunteering with SELF’s Group Workcamps to increase the safety and comfort of low income homeowners, to serving on the board of the Neighborhood Housing Services to increase homeownership opportunities, to organizing neighborhood clean ups, he has worked to improve the lives and living conditions of many residents in Butler County, Diver added.

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