2019 Hero Awards Winners

Recipients of the 2019 Hero Awards are Burley “Butch” Tennant, Deacon David Lester, Julie Sole, Pam Nolan and Patty Thompson who accepted the Francis H. Pierpont Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of her uncle Hershel “Woody” Williams.

FAIRMONT — Oftentimes, those who do the most work within an organization receive the least recognition.

“There are people out there, unsung heroes, who are giving it their all everyday,” said Julie Sole, executive director of the Disability Action Center, which provides an array of educational and workforce opportunities to individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities. “It is so often, it’s a strange thing that those folks who are doing the most and giving the most, they often times receive the least.”

Now, it’s time for the community to come forward and nominate those unsung heroes for the 2021 Marion County Family Resource Network Hero Awards. Every year, the nonprofit asks the community to nominate a person or organization who has made a difference in the community but hasn’t quite gotten the recognition they deserve.

“This will be the sixth year we’ve done [the awards],” said Frank Jarman, FRN executive director. “There were so many great people helping out and not getting recognized for it. There are several studies that show that when you recognize volunteers it raises awareness and more people start volunteering.”

In 2019, Sole and her team at the DAC won the Community Impact Award for the work they do helping individuals with disabilities and their families.

“Last year, we recognized Lloyd White and the Marion County Health Department for their good work with COVID,” Jarman said. “For us, it’s important to bring what isn’t happening to the community. This type of thing wasn’t happening so we wanted to do that.”

Once the nominations are received, the nominees are published and then voted on. The top four vote recipients will then be recognized with a Hero Award for their particular work. But for now, the FRN is focused on getting nominees.

“There’s a lot of times in nonprofit work that things go unnoticed,” Sole said. “It really means a lot when another organization says, ‘Hey you’re really going above and beyond.’”

Most folks who are involved with this sort of work usually don’t want to be recognized. The FRN’s goal with the awards is to show the people in the trenches that they are appreciated.

“Most folks that are doing the hard, hard work in our community, most of them don’t want the spotlight and never expect to be recognized,” Sole said. “That’s why it’s important to just shine a little light on the folks that are really doing the hard work in our community.”

The FRN is accepting nominees for the Hero Awards until June 30. Nominations can be sent via email to marioncountyfrn@gmail.com. Nominations can also be mailed to the FRN office to the address 305 Washington St., Fairmont, WV 26554 addressed to the attention of Hero Awards.

The nominations should include the name of the individual or the organization and a written description of what they’ve done to deserve the award.

Reach David Kirk at 304-367-2522 or by email at dkirk@timeswv.com.

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