Hamilton couple, two others win awards for improving city. Here’s what they did.

A Hamilton couple active in many organizations and two individuals have won the Hamilton Vision Commission’s 2019 Vision Awards. Those awards are given in three categories: for those who help improve the way Hamiltonians Live, Work and Play.

Jack and Karen Whalen won in the “Live” category “for their long commitment to making a difference in Hamilton,” according to the Vision Commission, whose mission is to improve life in Hamilton by upholding the philosophy of Hamilton’s Vision 2020 Plan.

Other winners are Joanne Wallisch, chosen in the “Play” category, and recent Hamilton Citizen of the Year recipient, Pastor Shaquila Mathews, in the “Work” category.

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The Whalens “are quietly generous in many ways, but it is “especially true in their willingness to lend their time and talent to support many initiatives and organizations in Hamilton,” according to the commission, which was to honor them in a luncheon today at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel.

The Whalens work with the Hamilton Community Foundation, Fort Hamilton Hospital, Greater Miami YMCA, Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, Butler County United Way, Rotary Club of Hamilton, Butler County Historical Society, Centrifuse, Heritage Hall Museum, the Butler County History Collaborative, and The Women’s Fund at the Hamilton Community Foundation.

Jack Whalen recently took on the task of leading the citizen group that is advocating for passage of a Hamilton street repair levy in March of 2020.

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Wallisch was picked for the “Play” category for her “decades-long dedication to our city’s neighborhoods,” the vision commission announced.

Although she lives in the Rossville neighborhood, she has taken the North End neighborhood under her wing, and chairs RENEW (REvitalizing the North End from Within). Many efforts have happened in the neighborhood because of her, and she also chaired the “Bridging Neighborhoods” event, in which city residents spent a Saturday evening, enjoying dinner on the High-Main bridge.

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Mathews has been praised for her many programs that mentor young people, including her HYPE (Hamilton Young People Empowered) initiative.

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