Marysville News

Marysville resident among 2014 Jefferson Awards finalists

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Five Jefferson Award winners will be chosen from a pool of 20 central Ohio residents who help others in the community.

The Jefferson Awards, sponsored by WBNS-10TV and Nationwide, were established by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Ohio Sen. Robert Taft in 1972 to honor the work of unsung heroes. The five local winners will be named at an April 3 ceremony.

Fifteen other finalists will be honored with the winners.

Dave Laslow of Marysville has collected Christmas toys for needy children since 1987, totaling more than $1.59 million for toys and food vouchers.

Other finalists are:

* Pickerington resident Anita Birk, the founder of Mommies of Miracles, a support group for mothers of children with health-care or developmental needs.

* Kayla Byrd of Columbus, co-chairwoman of a group on human trafficking at Columbus Alternative High School.

* Westerville resident Chris Callen, a Vietnam War veteran and founder of the Callen Foundation that helps families of active military members obtain basic living necessities.

* James John Caronis of Worthington, founder and president of Operation Buckeye, which sends care packages to troops.

* John Caudill of Marion, a recovery program worker, who has overcome his own addictions to help others.

* Worthington resident Tad Dritz, founder of the Green Columbus group that has organized litter collections, community gardens and tree plantings.

* Jo Ann Evans of Columbus, who has been a daily volunteer at Ohio Avenue Elementary School for the past 15 years.

* Pickerington resident Shay-na Fowler, creator of The Butterfly Project that works to empower young women.

* Patricia Gabbe of Bexley, a pediatrician who started the Moms2B program that helps low-income women deliver healthy, full-term babies.

* Mona Gazala of Columbus, who owns Second Sight Studio, a nonprofit art gallery that engages local artists and Franklinton residents.

* Columbus resident Robert Haas, founder of Amputee Recreational Support Group of Central Ohio, which offers activities and peer-to-peer support.

* Dublin resident Malika Haque, a doctor who founded the Noor Community Free Clinic that helps underserved and uninsured patients.

* Ellie Hite of Carroll, founder of AngelWorks, a nonprofit that offers aid to families facing a medical crisis or the loss of a family member.

* Shirley Hurley of Columbus, who has provided Saturday lunches to homeless people for the past 13 years with her sister, Toby Simons.

* Columbus resident Elnora Jenkins-Christie, who runs church-based programs for Driving Park residents that focus on at-risk girls, scholarships and low-income housing.

* Reynoldsburg resident Ed Krause, a weekly Ronald McDonald House volunteer who last year recruited a crew to renovate 70 guestrooms.

* Columbus resident Toby Simons, who, with her sister, Shirley Hurley, has fed homeless people every Saturday.

* Nancy Sohner of Columbus, a 10-year volunteer for Columbus City Schools.

* Dublin Scioto High School senior Arjun Venkataraman, who founded "No Vehicle Idling: A Campaign for Cleaner Air" to educate bus drivers about the toxins idling buses create.

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